Brain and Body

“Hangover Free” Synthetic Alcohol Will Replace Regular Alcohol by 2050, Says Creator

October 12, 2016 | Kelly Tatera

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‘Alcosynth’ is designed to mimic the sociable effects of alcohol without the hangover — is it safe?

Thanks to science, the world may be edging closer to the option to enjoy the fun, sociable effects of a few pints sans the nasty hangover that hits the next morning.

Dubbed “alcosynth,” the new “hangover-free” synthetic alcohol was developed by British psychopharmacologist David Nutt in attempt to reduce the number of lives claimed by regular alcohol each year — about 4 million, Nutt tells Live Science.

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Nutt claims that alcosynth mimics the positive effects of alcohol, but leaves drinkers without nausea, dry mouth, and a throbbing head.

In an interview with The Independent, Nutt says he has already patented about 90 different alcosynth compounds, two of which are currently being tested for widespread use. Ideally, he hopes alcosynth can entirely replace regular alcohol by 2050.

“It will be there alongside the scotch and the gin, they'll dispense the alcosynth into your cocktail and then you'll have the pleasure without damaging your liver and your heart,” he envisions.

Nutt explains that the brain science of regular alcohol has been rigorously studied over the past 30 years, so researchers took what we already know about alcohol’s effects on the brain and applied it during the creation of alcosynth.

“We know where the good effects of alcohol are mediated in the brain, and can mimic them,” he says. “And by not touching the bad areas, we don't have the bad effects.”

He estimates that alcosynth is 100 times safer than alcohol, with the added bonus of being nearly calorie-free. However, it’s still unclear whether alcosynth could lead to dependency or overdose.

Nonetheless, compared to regular alcohol, alcosynth seems promising.

“We haven't tested it to destruction yet, but it's safer than drinking too much alcohol,” Nutt confirms. “With clever pharmacology, you can limit and put a ceiling on the effects, so you can't ever get as ill or kill yourself, unlike with drinking a lot of vodka.”

The prospect of creating a hangover-free alcohol isn’t new. Earlier versions of synthetic alcohol reportedly used a derivative of benzodiazepine, which is a class of highly-addictive anti-anxiety drugs, like Xanax and Valium.

Nutt assures that his new alcosynth doesn’t contain benzodiazepine, but for the time being, he’s keeping his patented formula a secret — at least until the intellectual property rights are secured.

"People want healthier drinks," Nutt concludes. “The drinks industry knows that by 2050, alcohol will be gone."

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