Humans have been searching for the perfect hangover cure for basically as long as there have been humans. But what if we didn’t need a cure because our alcohol never made us too drunk?
That’s the goal of British scientist David Nutt, who predicts that hangovers — and every other negative effect of alcohol — will be nonexistent by 2050 thanks to a product called “alcosynth.” Alcosynth is a type of synthetic alcohol that tricks your brain into feeling the same relaxation and sociability as being drunk.
“Over the years, enough people have studied the effects of alcohol on the brain that we’ve got a pretty good idea how to target just the good effects, but not the bad bits,” Nutt told Mel Magazine.
Nutt knows what he’s talking about. His resume includes working as lecturer at Oxford University, heading the psychopharmacology unit at Bristol University, and acting as the president of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. His stance toward alcohol has been clear from the start. In 2009, he published a study claiming ecstasy and LSD are less dangerous than alcohol. He was kicked off the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs for that one, and then he started the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. Now he’s going after alcohol once again — this time with an alternative product.
Nutt has patented more than 90 alcosynth compounds, and three or four of those look promising, he told Mel. He’s drunk his own Kool-Aid, as well as given it to people who work in the alcohol industry.
“It has all sorts of benefits: It’s got a very clever design in the molecules so the peak effect flattens out, unlike alcohol, which never plateaus out,” Nutt said. “With alcohol, the more you drink, the more effects you get — it just keeps going until it kills you. With alcosynth, eight drinks is the same as four drinks — you won’t get any more damaged from it.”
Other benefits Nutt claims: no calories, it’s not chemically habit forming, and it can be put in anything from Scotch to wine to beer. Once the exact chemicals are isolated, Nutt can even make “mood cocktails” that stimulate or make you sleepy, depending on the drinker’s desired outcome. If this all sounds like something plagiarized from Star Trek’s Synthahol, well, it kind of is.
Of course, Nutt’s claims might just be too good to be true. It wouldn’t be the first time a company claimed to make healthier alcohol or make your favorite beverage hangover free.