Psychedelics Pioneer Creates Alcohol Substitute With No Toxicity
In 2009, David Nutt was dismissed from his role as England’s chief drug adviser when he claimed LSD and MDMA were less dangerous than alcohol. Though it’s surely a nuanced argument, Nutt was referring to the relative toxicity between the substances – a fact overshadowed by the cultural stigma surrounding them. And now he’s trying to take that conviction to market with an alcohol substitute called Alcarelle, which gives users the buzz without the horribly toxic side effects.
“The industry knows alcohol is a toxic substance,” said Nutt in an interview with the Guardian. “If it were discovered today, it would be illegal as a foodstuff. The safe limit of alcohol, if you apply food standards criteria, would be one glass of wine a year.”
This hasn’t slowed the consumption of alcohol as the trillion-dollar global industry continues to flourish. Meanwhile, alcohol is attributed to nearly 6 percent of all deaths globally every year – that’s about 3.3 million people killed from alcohol-related issues.
While Nutt’s career is marked by his many breakthroughs studying the psychologically therapeutic effects of psychedelics – and earning him the lengthy title of neuropsychopharmacologist – he’s had his idea for an alcohol alternative on the back burner for decades.
Ever since he began studying alcohol antidotes that reversed the drug’s inebriating effects, Nutt realized that GABA receptors in the brain could be targeted to produce intoxication, while avoiding the elements that damage the liver and other vital organs. And now he believes the market is primed for a release of his product as the extent of alcohol’s adverse effects have become more widely understood.
He also believes the Silicon Valley doctrine of creating “disruptive” technologies has set the stage for his product to infiltrate the behemoth that is the alcohol industry.
In fact, he says he believes the industry will be receptive to his product as major liquor, wine, and beer brands are already investing in alternatives such as cannabis, at the behest of their customers; notably the newer generations that have access to more data and are more health conscientious.
But instead of trying to convince alcohol producers to revamp their entire process, Nutt says Alcarelle could simply be added to existing product, while the alcohol content is synthesized out or the product not distilled at all.
Nutt has identified the serotonin, dopamine and GABA receptors in the brain that alcohol works across and says he can individually target disparate receptors to achieve desired effects.
Not only could Alcarelle vary in the level of intoxication it induces, but it can also deliver a “capped” drunkenness where, after a certain point, you won’t get any drunker no matter how much you imbibe.
Nutt is currently working on acquiring $26 million in funding to have it properly tested and approved by the appropriate government regulatory agencies, before taking it to market. He already has one investor who provided the seed funding to get the product off the ground.
For now, only a handful of people, mostly he and his colleagues, have had the pleasure of trying his drug, and all are in concurrence that it’s as effective, if not more pleasant than alcohol. If it truly evades liver damage and a hangover, he may have an incredibly desirable compound on his hands. And coming from a man who owns a bar of his own and intends to one day sell Alcarelle at his establishment, it all sounds pretty promising.
For more on research conducted in Nutt’s field check out Gaia’s original series Psychedelica:
Are Supernatural Entities Encountered on DMT Healing People?
Could supernatural entities encountered during a psychedelic trip be responsible for the dramatic psychological healing that many reports? New research seeks to find out.
DMT or N, N-Dimethyltryptamine is widely considered the Earth’s most powerful hallucinogen. It is the latest psychedelic to be clinically studied for its potential to treat mental health issues like major depression and PTSD.
One frequently occurring phenomenon of the DMT trip researchers are particularly interested in is the appearance of entities whom experiencers often credit with the healing they receive.
Jay Waxenberg is the director of the DMTx program at the Center for Medicinal Mindfulness. Based in Boulder, CO, it was one of the first centers to offer legal psychedelic therapy in the U.S.
“The entities are really this unique aspect of DMT and they play different roles for different people in that space. What’s very common is, one, you’re going to encounter one of these things, and two, that you’re going to feel like they’re giving you some piece of information to take back to the regular consensus reality. Also, that they are benevolent — lots of love and kindness, these are very common elements for the entities — and we have linguistic models to kind of relate to those spaces, whether they’re elves or imps or fairies, they could be angels, bodhisattvas, aliens, interdimensional beings — these are kind of like the things that people will come back and say ‘[T]hat’s kind of what that felt like, that’s kind of what that thing is.’”
The groundwork for current research on the topic was laid by Dr. Rick Strassman- a psychiatrist and pioneering psychedelic researcher who first described these entities in his book ”DMT: the Spirit Molecule.”
“The beings were beneficent, they did healing, they gave advice, some predicted or showed volunteers the future, some were examining the volunteers. But one of the hallmarks of the interaction was the strength of those beings,” Strassman said.
A recent study surveyed 2,500 individuals who encountered entities after taking DMT. The researchers found that “[T]he experiences were rated as among the most meaningful, spiritual, and psychologically insightful lifetime experiences, with persisting positive changes in life satisfaction, purpose and meaning attributed to the experiences.”