The advent of 3D printing has created an entire world of possibilities for our future. It has transformed medicine, transportation, education, and even kids’ toys. For independent enthusiasts, the limitless creativity is shared through marketplaces for 3D printer blueprints. These days, local libraries across the world stock at least one 3D printer for their community to use.
Marijuana, on the other hand, is the subject of controversy in politics throughout the world. It’s an impressive feat to combine marijuana and 3D printing, especially when the concept is pioneered by two women.
Potent Rope is the company behind this cross-section of industries. Co-founders Ashley Herr and Paige Colen, both seasoned cannabis industry experts, have invested three years into research and development. The company produces a product by the same name, called Potent Rope. Potent Rope can be tailored to both the medicinal and recreational customers. It is an edible 3D printing cannabis filament. More specifically, the filament combines a water-soluble thermoplastic polymer with different cannabinoids and terpenes.
While that sounds a little concerning, this thermoplastic material is reportedly consumed by an average human at around 44 pounds every year. It is found in products like beer, wine, and teeth-whitening strips.
To make their cannabis 3D printing filament, Herr and Colen dry and decarboxylate cannabis oil, which activates the oil’s THC (the main active ingredient in cannabis). Following the THC activation, the dried oil is mixed with a water-soluble thermoplastic. Then it is extruded into one of Potent Rope’s two standard-sized filaments (3mm or 1.75mm).
Herr and Colen are at the intersection of two growing fields – the marijuana market is expected to exceed $20 billion by 2021, with a staggering 25% gross domestic growth rate.
28 states and DC, as well as over 20 other countries, have already introduced some form of legal cannabis laws. Cannabis and the people who use it are starting to see the negative stigma associated with its use decreased.
-Paige Colen, Chief Operating Officer, Potent Rope
The two co-founder sisters are reportedly using a Filabot EX2 extruder system to develop the edible material. However, consumers can use any 3D printer to print their edible cannabis filaments. Some of our favorites include the Robo R2, the NexD1, and the Formlab Form 2, and check out our more complete breakdown for 2017’s best 3D printers.
Marijuana Edibles A Click Away
Potent Rope will not be strictly classified as an “edible”. It is mostly made from pharmaceutical excipients, and this allows it to be legal in states that have not legalized cannabis candies or foods. Potent Rope’s filament could be a big draw for cannabis users who prefer edibles to other forms of consumption, as typical edible dosages can often be unpredictable, varied, and uneven across different consumers.
Rather than taking a 10 mg liquid gel capsule full of cannabis oil or a tablet, how about 3D printing a 7.5 mg poodle, or Eiffel Tower, or a tiny rocket ship?
Of course, consumers must consider that these edible filaments may be contaminated from the standard filaments used in 3D printers. Filaments such as PLA or ABS are not edible, and the possibility of contamination is an issue. However, Colen said she predicts home 3D printing becoming a prominent and widespread solution for many household needs. She says this means having more than one printer at home won’t be out of the ordinary in the future.
Turning Prototypes Into Sales
Potent Rope’s filament is extremely customizable. Choose between sativa, indica, CBD, THC, or create your own hybrid strain. Then, choose your exact dosage, down to your doctor’s prescription in milligrams. Choose the thickness of your filament (3mm or 1.75mm). Finally, choose your fun edible shape. It’s that easy to create a unique edible that’s truly yours only.
Some are worried about the market cap on this extremely niche product. However, having the ability to create a fully customized marijuana edible in the comfort of your own home may bring out curious consumers from the shadows.
Herr and Colen have already received a publication notification from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Potent Rope is looking forward to producing their unique filament on a large scale by the end of 2017. They will offer dosage-specific CAD designs and encourage customers to practice with the growing number of 3D printers that offer open-source software. The two founders have already formed agreements with cannabis companies in Nevada, Maryland, California, and Colorado.