The cannabinoid receptor that has been pharmacologically characterized for hypothermia, spontaneous activity, analgesia and catalepsy in rodents is the same pharmacological receptor that inhibits adenylate cyclase in vitro. The inhibition of adenylate cyclase by the cannabinoid receptor results from an interaction with Gi, based on the biochemical kinetic properties of the response, the sensitivity to pertussis toxin ADP-ribosylation, and the thermodynamic characteristics of the response. From precedents based on studies of the well-characterized G protein coupled receptors, rhodopsin and the β-adrenergic receptor, we can predict the tertiary structure of the cannabinoid receptor. Three sites of potential glycosylation are present on the receptor. However, treatment of N18TG2 neuroblastoma cells with tunicamycin to prevent glycosylation of newly synthesized receptors failed to alter cannabinoid-induced inhibition of cyclic AMP accumulation. The cannabinoid response was rapidly desensitized (within 1 2 h). Treatment of cells with tunicamycin failed to alter agonist-induced desensitization processes. These findings can be more veraciously interpreted as we gain a better understanding of the cellular dynamics of the cannabinoid receptor. © 1991.