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ab-pinacaAB-PINACA is a synthetic cannabinoid of the indazole class. It was identified in 2012 as part of a synthetic cannabis mixture tested in Japan. AB PINACA was first synthesised in 2009 by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer along with a number of other similar cannabinoids. They were screened for their potential as analgesic medicines but not pursued any further, no doubt due to the obvious side effects.

AB PINACA has an indazole core structure. At the R1 nitrogen a pentyl side chain is attatched. At the R3 carbon a carboxyl amide is attached which is in turn bonded to an L-Valinamide. It is part of a trend in synthetic cannabinoids of indole and indzole core structures with l-tert-leucinamide or l-valinamide side chains.

AB PINACA acts as a potent and full agonist at the human cannabinoid receptor CB1 with an EC50 value of 1.2 nM and a Ki of 2.87 nM. It is also a potent full agonist at CB2 with an EC50 value of 2.5 nM and a Ki of 0.88 nM. It is reported as being 1.5 times more potent than THC, the primary psychoactive component of herbal marijuana.   In a rat discrimination study the animals tested were unable to tell the difference between THC and AB PINACA suggesting they have similar effects in rodents.  

However THC is a partial agonist compared to the full agonist action AB PINACA. This could account for the reports of effects exceeding that of herbal marijuana by users. It also means that the likes of AB PINACA and other full agonist synthetic cannabinoids have a potential for overdose and harm that herbal marijuana does not possess. In fact there have been a number of incidences of hospitalisations and deaths directly linked to the use of AB PINACA in the last five years.

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There are no studies in to the long term health implications of short term or long term recreational use of AB PINACA. Toxicological studies for humans have not been carried out for this compound.

It is not fit for human or animal consumption.

Unverifiable online reports of use indicate that AB PINACA has a heavily sedating effect. Onset is reported as being rapid; producing what is described as a very heavy head high. AB PINACA has a duration of effects last about 30 to 45 minutes.

It is reported that overdose on this compound is problematic and may happen easily. Owing to the extreme potency of AB PINACA care must be taken with dosage, using mg scales and volumetric dosing. It is active at less than 1 mg.

Negative effects reported are a sense of vertigo and panic with higher doses.

AB PINACA is said to produce a “drowsy” high and lacks the stimulant component of some other similar cannabinoids.

Users are often reported as dissolving the synthetic cannabinoid in propylene glycol and vaporising it as a means of ingestion. This may present significant hazard to the lungs.

AB PINACA like other synthetic cannabinoids is likely a highly addictive substance.