Jul 3, 2017 | By Benedict

Cannabis industry experts Ashley Herr and Paige Colen have created “Potent Rope,” an edible cannabis 3D printing filament that combines a water-soluble thermoplastic polymer with different cannabinoids and terpenes tailored to the user’s needs.

When you think of “green” 3D printing filament, two things generally come to mind: materials that are colored green, and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Potent Rope, a new 3D printing filament developed by sisters Ashley Herr and Paige Colen, adds a third meaning: cannabis.

Herr and Colen, both of whom have been in the legal cannabis industry for around a decade, have joined forces to develop Potent Rope, an edible cannabis 3D printing filament that allows cannabis users to 3D print small edible objects with precise cannabis dosages. They have reportedly been using a Filabot EX2 extruder system to develop the edible material.

“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?” Colen asks. “This filament will allow for us to tailor make specialized cannabinoid profiles that will specifically address any individual’s requirements.”

The sisters say they have been developing the product over the last three years. During this time, they’ve come up with a suitable formulation—a water-soluble thermoplastic polymer that can be mixed with different cannabinoids and terpenes—and have received a publication notification from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. They are now looking to produce their unusual 3D printing filament on a large scale.

And who wouldn’t want to get involved with this project? With legalization occurring across the U.S. and elsewhere, it’s clearly a great time to get involved with cannabis-related ventures, and Potent Rope might be one of the most exciting business ideas of them all. The sisters have already formed agreements with cannabis companies in Nevada, Maryland, California, and Colorado.

To make their cannabis 3D printing filament, Herr and Colen first dry and decarboxylate cannabis oil, which activates the oil’s THC (the main active ingredient in cannabis). This dried oil is then mixed with a water-soluble thermoplastic.

Plastic might not sound very appetizing, but the thermoplastic polymer is purportedly FDA-approved, and already pops up in other products like beer, wine, and teeth whitening strips. Potent Rope is therefore totally safe to eat—just as long as you get your dosage right.

Thankfully, the cannabis 3D printing filament makes that part easy. “Potent Rope allows medicinal cannabis users to make sure they are getting just what the doctor ordered, right down to the milligram,” its creators say.

So it’s not only about creating funny shapes for your edible cannabis, it’s also a highly effective dosing tool. This could be a big draw for cannabis users who prefer edibles to other forms of consumption, since the dosages of typical edible products can be varied and uneven.

Better still, Potent Rope will not strictly be classified as an “edible,” since it is mostly made from pharmaceutical excipients, and this will make it legal in states that do not allow cannabis candies or foods.

There are other advantages to using Potent Rope too. According to Herr and Colen, being able to 3D print cannabis edibles will allow users to try out different combinations of ingredients. This goes a step further than just tinkering with dosages: users will be able to create a strain of their own, choosing from Sativa, Indica, CBD, or THC oils.

As interesting as it sounds, we can foresee a few obstacles that Potent Rope might face in the near future. Although the cannabis filament is purportedly usable on “standard” (presumably FDM) 3D printers, makers would have to be careful about contaminating their printer with non-edible materials like PLA and ABS. Printing with Potent Rope might therefore require a dedicated 3D printer for this purpose only.

Secondly—and this is perhaps my biggest reservation about Potent Rope—the product is aimed at a fairly specific target market: cannabis users with CAD and 3D printing skills. While Herr and Colen have clearly done their research and believe that there is a market for a cannabis 3D printing filament, it’s not clear whether this target market is a sizable one.

As Potent Rope prepares for production this year, Herr and Colen are optimistic that their strange-sounding venture will pay off. “Combining cannabis with 3D printing technology is a logical next step for both industries,” they say. “Cannabis supporters are looking for new ways to make use of the plant, and 3D-focused inventors are modifying, creating, and exploring new designs and materials.”



Posted in 3D Printing Materials



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