Can You 3D-Print Marijuana?

But unlike the cults of digital currency (the value of which is inextricably connected to the for-real money tied to the central banks it’s supposed to replace) and bunk wellness cures repackaged and marketed with Hollywood star power, there’s at least something tangible about 3D printers and the products they produce. Look: Here is something, made from polymer. My 3D printer made it.

And very much unlike volatile cash and treating cancer with love, 3D-printing technology has rapidly advanced from a fad with questionable usefulness into a phenomenon with real potential for the rest of us–but only in some, select applications.

It may be trendy to 3D-print an office or a home, but it’s hard to argue that the appeal advances beyond pure novelty. There’s absolutely not any need to use a giant and costly printer, rigged specifically for that purpose, to spit out a polymer home. It’s a whole industry (for today, at least).

Using a 3D printer available to create pharmaceutical drugs on demand, on the other hand, isn’t only a huge step towards a reality bent towards Star Trek but could be of immense value to far-flung places needing hard-to-obtain medical supplies.

And this is very much something.

The FDA approved the first 3D-printed medication in 2015. More recently, researchers at the University of Glasgow’s School of Chemistry published a paper where they describe how “drugs on demand” can be generated anywhere in the world using a “compound electronic code” and a 3D-printer.

The key is assigning a digital code to every chemical compound. As long as a 3D printer can receive that code, the printer should be able to reproduce the compound.

This measure towards the “digitization of chemistry” can be used to rapidly create in-demand vaccines, based on articles published in Automation World.

If a printer can replicate pharmaceutical drugs, there’s reason to consider 3D printers could also–maybe–produce other substances with pharmacological effects on demand.

So what about 3D-printed cannabis?

As Motherboard reported, the Glasgow group ’s claims of 3D printed drugs anywhere in the world has less to do with 3D printing than it does the drugs themselves. In their paper, they explain how they could create a muscle relaxant in three steps from “readily available chemical precursors. ”

Active elements of compounds such as drugs are “complicated molecules. ” Examples of complicated molecules include amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins–which, in turn, are required for animal cells.

If most every medication can be created from just a couple raw materials with the addition of code, then printing vaccines on demand is a viable practice.

It’s much more complex to create a complex molecule such as a plant cell–and even less assured that a plant cell with countless constituent cannabinoids and aromatic oils such as terpenes can be created with a 3D-printer.

What will the building blocks be–and how would any of this be more efficient than just developing a damn plant from seed?

Until those questions can be answered, 3D printing bud is still just science fiction… but give it another creation.

Published at Sat, 02 Jun 2018 13:30:52 +0000

Posted in: News

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