Synthetic alcohol: Hangover-free alcohol substitute

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Synthetic alcohol: Hangover-free alcohol substitute

Synthetic alcohol: Hangover-free alcohol substitute

Subheading text
Synthetic alcohol could mean that alcohol consumption may become consequence-free
    • Author:
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      Quantumrun Foresight
    • March 2, 2022

    Post text

    Alcarelle, formerly called alcasynth, is an alcohol substitute being developed by Professor David Nutt, director of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit in the division of Brain Sciences at Imperial College London. The concept behind synthetic alcohol is to create alcohol that people can consume that provides the typical effects of alcohol without leading to its consumers worrying about suffering from a hangover or other adverse side effects of alcohol consumption.

    Synthetic alcohol context

    The idea of an alcohol substitute came to Professor David Nutt while researching the effects of alcohol on GABA receptors. GABA receptors are neurotransmitters that are associated with sedation and relaxation. Consuming alcohol imitates GABA receptors, thereby inducing dizziness and tipsiness and resulting in what is commonly referred to as a hangover post-consumption. Alcarelle, as proposed by Nutt, will render all the relaxing effects of alcohol without drinkers having to suffer from a hangover. 

    While the specific chemical composition of synthetic alcohol is not yet public information, it is expected to be safe for consumption once made publicly available. Some researchers in Nutt’s laboratory have tried alcarelle, and while it may not be tasty in singular form, it can be mixed with other liquids such as fruit juice to give it a more pleasant taste. If alcarelle becomes widely available for consumption, it will likely be sold in bottles and cans similar to its regular alcoholic counterparts after being mixed in a laboratory. Before public release, it will need to be approved by regulatory bodies.

    Disruptive impact

    Eliminating the consequences of a hangover and the other adverse side effects of excessive alcohol consumption may lead to alcarelle becoming extremely popular across different demographics, particularly younger persons more inclined to drink excessively due to peer pressure and expected societal norms. However, alcarelle could be potentially dangerous. It may become as addictive as regular alcohol and be consumed at rates exceeding current alcohol use due to the lack of traditional harmful effects post-consumption. 

    Market trends indicate that over 29 percent of young people in 2021 have an experimental mindset. Yet, they are also interested in the ingredients of the foods and liquids they consume and the health implications of their consumption habits. This growing awareness has led many alcohol companies to introduce low alcohol-by-volume (low ABV) drinks into the alcohol market. 

    Wider implications of alcarelle

    The wider implications of alcarelle becoming publicly available may include:

    • New fields being created within the mixology industry, as alcarelle can be mixed with different flavors to provide new types of taste sensations to consumers.
    • Anti-alcarelle groups being founded to resist the public distribution and sale of alcarelle due to its possible negative side effects. Public interest bodies may also launch inquiries, government regulation, and increased research into the liquid’s manufacture. 
    • The alcohol industry seeing renewed growth as alcarelle (and other emerging alcoholic substitutes) represent a new product vertical that can complement existing alcoholic options on the market. 

    Questions to comment on

    • Should alcarelle become publicly available, do you think mainstream consumers will adopt alcarelle drinks?
    • Should the use of alcarelle in different types of beverages be banned due to the potential of encouraging excessing alcohol consumption, especially among alcoholics and younger people?

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