London-based GABA Labs is working on a type of synthetic alcohol called ‘Alcarelle’ which reportedly provides the relaxing effects of alcohol without hangovers, balance deficiencies or any of its other negative side effects.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid, aka GABA, is a neurotransmitter that blocks certain signals in the brain, thus producing a calming effect. When alcohol reaches the brain, it binds to GABA receptors and produces the same effects, relaxing and calming people down. The problem with alcohol is that it also has other negative side effects, like hangover, movement difficulties, speaking and thinking problems, etc. GABA Labs is currently working on a type of synthetic alcohol called Alcarelle that is supposed to provide all the positive effects of alcohol consumption, but none of the bad ones.
"It feels like what a glass of wine feels like,” GABA Labs founder Dr. David Nutt told The Wall Street Journal. “It feels relaxing. It makes you a bit more chatty, a bit more socially engaged with people.”
Apparently, Alcarelle is a tasteless substance that can be added to other drinks – alcoholic or non-alcoholic – to boost their tipsiness potential without the negative side effects. If people could get their ‘fix’ from synthetic alcohol without suffering damage to their liver, heart, brain, etc., that could potentially save millions of lives.
Dr. David Nutt revealed that he and his partners at GABA Labs hope to launch Alcarelle by 2026. The product has been in development for quite some time now, but the regulatory approval process has been very slow.
One potential stumbling block for Alcarelle is the fact that it’s not a natural product, unlike alcohol, which has been produced and consumed for millennia. However, the founders of GAB Labs claim that just because something is natural, doesn’t automatically make it good for you. Plus, they are betting that, for many, enjoying the positive effects of alcohol without the hangover will be ‘a pretty powerful reason to partake of it even if it’s not natural’.