We have previously shown that the endocannabinoid anandamide and its metabolically stable analog (R)-methanandamide produce vasorelaxation in rabbit aortic ring preparations in an endothelium-dependent manner that could not be mimicked by other CB(1) cannabinoid receptor agonists (Am J Physiol 282: H2046-H2054, 2002). Here, we show that (R)-methanandamide and abnormal cannabidiol stimulated nitric oxide (NO) production in rabbit aortic endothelial cells (RAEC) in a dose-dependent manner but that other CB(1) and CB(2) receptor agonists, such as cis-3R-[2-hydroxy-4-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)phenyl]-trans-4R-3(3-hydroxypropyl)-1R-cyclohexanol (CP55940) and (R)-(+)-[2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-(4-morpholinylmethyl) pyrrolo-[1,2,3-d,e]-1,4-benzoxazin-6-yl]-1-naphthalenyl-methanone (WIN55212-2), failed to do so. CB(1) antagonists rimonabant [also known as SR141716; N-piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide] and 6-methoxy-2-(4-methoxyphenyl)benzo[b]-thien-3-yl][4-cyanophenyl]methanone (LY320135) and CB(2) antagonist N-[(1S)-endo-1,3,3,-trimethylbicyclo[2.2.1]heptan-2-yl]-5-(4-chloro-3-methylphenyl)-1-(4-methylbenzyl)-pyrazole-3-carboxamide (SR144528) failed to block (R)-methanandamide-mediated NO production in RAEC. However, anandamide receptor antagonist (-)-4-(3-3,4-trans-p-menthadien-(1,8)-yl)-orcinol (O-1918) blocked (R)-methanandamide-mediated NO production in RAEC. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analyses failed to detect the CB(1) receptor in RAEC, making this a good model to study non-CB(1) responses to anandamide. (R)-Methanandamide produced endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation via the activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase-Akt signaling. Inhibition of G(i) signaling with pertussis toxin, or phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activity with 2-(4-morpholinyl)-8-phenyl-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one (LY294002), resulted in a decrease in (R)-methanandamide-induced Akt phosphorylation and NO production. Results from this study suggest that in RAEC, (R)-methanandamide acts on a novel non-CB(1) and non-CB(2) anandamide receptor and signals through G(i) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, leading to Akt activation, eNOS phosphorylation, and NO production.