Imagine indulging in a cocktail-laden night with friends and waking up the next morning without experiencing any of the typical side effects of alcohol. A college professor has created a synthetic alcohol that makes you feel drunk but won’t give you a hangover. It could be available to the general public within the next five years.
Professor David Nutt, director of the neuropsychopharmacology unit at Imperial College London, has been working on Alcarelle for several years, reports The Guardian. Nutt and his team are in the process of receiving regulatory approval for the product.
The molecule alcosynth gives people a buzz just like booze. However, there is no hangover afterwards. Another added benefit is that the synthetic alcohol will not be toxic to the liver.
“There will obviously be testing to check the molecule is safe,” Nutt told The Guardian. “And we need to show that it’s different from alcohol. We will demonstrate that it doesn’t produce toxicity like alcohol does.”
Nutt found an antidote to reverse drunkenness while studying for his Ph.D. in the early ‘80s. Unfortunately, the compound had the potential to cause seizures in sober people, so it was not clinically tested. Nutt has since been on a mission to determine how to stimulate the Gaba receptor in the brain similar to the way alcohol does.
In the process, Nutt has isolated which Gaba receptor subtypes can be targeted to induce intoxication without the side effects of heavy drinking, such as nausea and headaches.
“The effects of alcohol are complicated but … you can target the parts of the brain you want to target,” Nutt explained.
Alcarelle will feature a cap so users won’t be able to overdo it. The buzz will wear off in about 45 minutes. This type of beverage could be very appealing for people who like to get tipsy but don’t want to be out of control.
Nutt and his team envision the alcohol industry using Alcarelle in their own products. He and business partner David Orren are trying to raise CAD$35 million from investors to get the product out to the public.
Alcoholic beverages are very popular worldwide, despite their adverse effects on human health. According to Statista, 19.5 percent of Canadians were reported as heavy alcoholic drinkers in 2017. Men reported consuming five or more drinks per sitting at least once per month for 12 months (women consumed four drinks).
If Alcarelle works like Nutt claims, it’s sure to be a big hit among those who enjoy imbibing. If you can’t taste the difference and it’s better for your body, it’s sure to be a big hit.