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5C-AKB48 is a synthetic cannabinoid made to mimic the mechanisms and effects of THC. It works by acting on CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the body, which respond to 5C-AKB48 in a similar way as THC. In fact, 5C-AKB48 has a higher binding affinity than THC, which means its effects could potentially be more powerful [1]. It produces effects similar to cannabis, but for a shorter period, since it lacks synergy with the other cannabinoids present in cannabis. The effects when consumed are mainly physical, causing pain relief, increased appetite, vasodilation, a tingling feeling and a sensation of gravity being lifted. 5C-AKB48 can cause anxiety and paranoia, but on the other hand, it can lead to mindfulness and thought connectivity. It’s a psychostimulant, but its effects are not predictable [2]. As an indazole-based chemical, 5C-AKB48 is a white, yellowish powder [1]. It’s a more potent form of AKB48, as the 5-chloropentyl structural component optimizes binding to cannabinoid receptors in the body [3].

Scientific Studies:

A 2016 test-tube study published in “Psychopharmacology,” researchers looked at the effects of AKB48 on human CB1 and CB2 receptors. It revealed a nanomolar affinity of AKB48 with the receptors, indicating a tightly-formed bind. The study concluded that not only does AKB48 effectively bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors as a real cannabinoid would, but also at a high potency [2]. In a 2017 study published in “Frontiers in Psychiatry,” researchers tested the effects of AKB48 on mice. They found that it stimulated the release of dopamine, which could suggest mood-enhancing qualities. Furthermore, it occurs without binding to the dopamine transporter, making its effects on dopaminergic pathways significantly different from addictive substances like cocaine and amphetamine [4].


1. https://deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/spice/akb48.pdf

2. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Effect-of-the-novel-synthetic-cannabinoids-AKB48-on-Canazza-Ossato/2b6906eda31fd49c20c5e06ce4679f7f792508bd

3. https://www.unodc.org/LSS/Substance/Details/63cbb5d2-68f5-4a9d-9eae-c482cc5ded71

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28824464

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