How many times have you or your friends uttered the words “I’m never drinking again” after a particularly post-drinking hungover morning? Well, it seems like according to Professor David Nutt, a drug expert and neuropsychopharmacologist at the Imperial College London is saying that hangover-free drinking is around the corner.
Speaking with IFLScience’s podcast The Big Questions, Dr. Nutt said: “I like alcohol, most people like alcohol, most people like alcohol because it relaxes them and most people use alcohol in social situations, where there is a little bit of anxiety. You go to a party, you feel a bit tense, you don’t know people, you’re not quite sure what to do with your hands, so a drink is a way of calming yourself and helping facilitate social engagement.”
He said that his team has come up with an herbal drink that can give the same effects as alcohol in terms of relaxing and sociability, but without the hangover, since there is not any actual alcohol in it. The team is also working on inventing a new molecule that can mimic all of the things alcohol does to make you feel good.
He explained: “We have a drink called Sentia, which is an herbal drink containing herbs that have particular components in them that turn on the GABA system in the brain, which is the system in the brain which does reduce anxiety in social situations, which alcohol works on. What we’re also now trying to do is invent an alternative molecule to alcohol that will only turn on the GABA system to enough extent to relax you and socialize you but won’t have all the other consequences.”
While the team has sampled the drink themselves, these compounds have not officially been tested on humans and will be required to be before the drink can be released. Dr. Nutt said that he and his team are working on making this happen very soon.
He said: “Currently we’re looking at seven different molecules. By the end of this year, we will have decided on which molecule to manufacture in large amounts, because it’s very expensive to make new molecules and to make enough to be safe, so we’ve got to be clear that we’ve got to put the best one through the safety testing.”