Synthetic cannabis

spice, kronic, AB-CHMINACA, AB-PINACA

Synthetic cannabinoids are chemical compounds which mimic the effects of THC.

Small pile of dried spice leaves on white background

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical compound in cannabis.


Cannabis and cannabis-like drugs can affect you physical and mental well being. Small doses may impair your memory and thinking. Heavy or regular use may cause:

  • problems with memory
  • confusion
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • hallucinations
  • paranoia
  • psychoses

Cannabis use has also been linked to the following mental health conditions:

  • depression and anxiety
  • psychotic episodes
  • schizophrenia

Because substances that contain the synthetic cannabinoids are manufactured, there can be considerable unpredictability, both in terms of substances present and quantity. Users cannot therefore assume the same effects from the same product the next time they use it. Thus, there is potential for overdose should a person use a particularly strong batch or a synthetic cannabinoid with particularly high potency.

Source: NSW Health

Synthetic cannabis statistics

Since the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) first began collecting information on synthetic cannabinoids and other synthetic drugs in 2013, the proportion of people who had recently used these drugs has continued to decline. In 2022–‍2023, only around 20,000 people (less than 0.1%) in Australia had used synthetic cannabinoids in the previous 12 months, and fewer than 10,000 (less than 0.1%) had used other synthetic drugs.

People in their 30s were the most likely to have used synthetic cannabinoids (5.5%) and other synthetic drugs (1.6%) in their lifetime in 2022–‍2023, but recent use of both drugs was extremely low (both less than 0.2%).

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