Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Lisa E. Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. C. Richard Spates

Third Advisor

Dr. Ron Van Houten

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


Salvinorin A, the main active component of Salvia divinorum, is a potent and selective kappa opioid receptor (KOR) agonist (Roth et al., 2002). Currently, it is a federally unregulated, unscheduled compound that has become an increasingly popular recreational drug; however, salvinorin A, or novel compounds with similar actions, may also have medicinal benefits (Vortherms and Roth, 2006; Prisinzano, 2009). Synthetic derivatives similar in structure to salvinorin A may be useful in the treatment of mood disorders, pain management, or even substance abuse (Prisinzano & Rothman, 2008). Using the drug discrimination assay, the potency of salvinorin A and its derivatives may be investigated in vivo. Similar in structure to salvinorin A, two synthetic derivatives of salvinorin B, the ethoxymethyl (EOM) ether and methoxymethyl (MOM) ether, exhibit higher affinity to KORs than salvinorin A (Munro et al., 2008). The current study supports in vitro binding studies that have demonstrated EOM and MOM to have greater potency and binding affinity to KORs, as EOM and MOM substituted fully for salvinorin A at doses approximately 6.7-fold lower (Munro et al., 2008). These in vivo findings additionally demonstrated MOM to be slightly more potent than EOM, whereas previous in vitro studies have demonstrated EOM to be more potent than MOM (Munro et al., 2008).