Year(s) and type of review / ECDD meetings
Drug Class

Recommendation (from TRS)

Substance identification
Chemically, AB-PINACA is N-[(2S)-1-Amino-3-methyl-1-oxobutan-2-yl]-1- pentyl-1H-indazole-3-carboxamide. AB-PINACA has stereoisomers.

Previous review
AB-PINACA has not been previously pre-reviewed or critically reviewed. A direct critical review was proposed based on information brought to WHO’s attention that AB-PINACA is clandestinely manufactured, of especially serious risk to public health and society, and of no recognized therapeutic use by any Party. Preliminary information collected from various sources indicated that this substance may cause substantial harm and that it has no medical use.

Similarity to known substances and effects on the central nervous system
AB-PINACA shows high affinity to cannabinoid CB1 receptors and differs from a number of other SCRAs in demonstrating greater selectivity towards the CB2 receptors. AB-PINACA induces responses in animals that are also observed with THC and internationally controlled SCRAs. For instance, it produces all the effects characteristic of cannabinoids in the cannabinoid tetrad assay including the suppression of locomotor activity, reduction of body temperature and production of antinociception and catalepsy with a 2- to 14-fold greater potency than THC. These effects are reversible by the cannabinoid receptor antagonist rimonabant.

Dependence potential
No reports of controlled, experimental studies using human or laboratory animal subjects directly pertinent to the dependence potential of AB-PINACA are available.

Actual abuse and/or evidence of likelihood of abuse
AB-PINACA is sold in the form of herbal mixtures for smoking. AB-PINACA products have been implicated in cases of impaired driving and motor vehicle collisions.

Reports received from the European Early Warning System on NPS indicate that AB-PINACA has been found in herbal mixtures and powders in several countries. AB-PINACA detections have also been reported in the USA since 2013. Data from law enforcement agencies suggest that AB-PINACA was one of the most commonly reported substances used in the USA in 2014. Japan was the first country to identify AB-PINACA and an increasing number of countries have since reported its use.

Therapeutic usefulness
AB-PINACA is not known to have any approved therapeutic applications.

AB-PINACA is a synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist and is clandestinely manufactured. It induces similar effects to other SCRAs and THC, which are listed as Schedule II substances in accordance with the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. Adverse effects associated with AB-PINACA use include loss of consciousness, convulsions and death. Ingestion of AB-PINACA products has been implicated in cases of impaired driving and motor vehicle collisions. Reports of AB-PINACA’s use have occurred in more than 20 countries.

The Committee considered that the degree of risk to public health and society associated with the abuse of AB-PINACA is substantial. Therapeutic usefulness has not been recorded. It recognized that AB-PINACA has similar abuse liability and similar ill effects to other SCRAs in Schedule II of the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. The Committee considered that there is sufficient evidence that AB-PINACA is being or is likely to be abused so as to constitute a public health and social problem warranting the placing of the substance under international control. The Committee recommended that AB-PINACA (N-[(2S)-1-Amino-3-methyl-1-oxobutan-2-yl]-1-pentyl-1H- indazole-3-carboxamide) be placed in Schedule II under the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971.

ECDD Recommendation

Inclusion in Schedule II of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances
MS Questionnaire Report