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Morphinans are made up of the morphinan molecule with altering functional groups attached on the numbered carbons. Morphinan is comprised of a 1-benzylisoquinoline backbone with two additional ring closures. It features three benzene rings, where two are partially unsaturated, as well as a piperidine ring. It can have various substitutions at R3 and R6, and it is commonly substituted at RN with a methyl group and at R4 and R5 with an ether linkage to form products of varying potency, affinity, efficacy and half-life. It is a very flexible molecule with five chiral centers, which results in a lot of different configurations of the bonds.
The morphinans are a large chemical class and compounds within it have differing pharmacological effects. Active morphinan derivatives often act upon the NMDA receptor, the μ-opioid receptor and the σ1 and σ2 sigma receptors.
Morphinans are seen throughout organic chemistry including many analgesic, antitussive and anaesthetic compounds.
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