A synthetic alternative to alcohol that doesn't cause hangovers or liver damage could be available within the next five years, researchers say. Alcarelle was created by Professor David Nutt and can still make consumers feel drunk when consumed.
Nutt previously served as the chief drug advisor for the English government. He lost the role after "claiming that ecstasy and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol," The Independent reported. With partner David Orren, Nutt created a synthetic alcohol replacement molecule called "alcosynth." He claims that alcosynth can cause tipsiness while simultaneously avoiding unwanted outcomes like headaches and hangovers.
“We know where in the brain alcohol has its ‘good’ effects and ‘bad’ effects, and what particular receptors mediate that—Gaba, glutamate, and other ones such as serotonin and dopamine,” he said. “The effects of alcohol are complicated but…you can target the parts of the brain you want to target.”
With Alcarelle, users can also modify the degree to which they want to feel its effects—in other words, you can choose whether you want to experience the effects of a party drink or limit yourself to feeling that of a drink over lunch with coworkers.
Only Nutt and his research team have tried Alcarelle, and the product has not undergone any safety tests yet. But the researchers have collaborated with food scientists to create a five-year plan to have the compound regulated as a food ingredient. According to Nutt, the ingredient will be required to prove that it doesn't "produce toxicity like alcohol” and “doesn’t have the bad effects of alcohol."