Company Is Working on ‘Synthetic Alcohol’ That Has None of the Negative Side-Effects of the Real Thing

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.

Photo: Vinicius Amano/Unsplash

“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.”

“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,” Nutt told The Guardian in 2019. “The effects of alcohol are complicated but … you can target the parts of the brain you want to target.”


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. That’s a groundbreaking prospect in itself, considering the serious health problems linked to alcohol consumption. 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.

“It makes you a little slack around the jaw, a little bit chatty, mellow, so I’m pretty confident people will find it does what they want it to do,” Dr. David Nutt told Inside Hook, adding 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’.

Posted in News        Tags: , , , , , ,