I have to admit that I had to read this story twice to grasp (and believe) it. It involves Mike Tyson, the former professional boxer, cannabis and 3D printing: but not in the way you might expect. Tyson-owned The Ranch Companies have obtained a global licence for a special cannabis beverage printer developed by California-based Smart Cups.
Smart Cups’ technology is capable of printing concentrated flavors directly onto substrates, such as a plastic cup, so that when water is added to the cup, a flavored drink is created. If you’re asking yourself “why?” at this point, I’m right there with you. But Smart Cups says its unique printing process helps to reduce storage and transportation requirements for beverages, resulting in fewer transportation emissions. The cups themselves are made from a plant-based bioplastic.
The technology will be used by Tyson’s company to print controlled doses of cannabis onto the bottom of cups, which will be activated, so to speak, when water is added. Tyson says the novel approach to cannabis ingestion could lead to better, more consistent dosing for the drug, which is used medically across the world and is increasingly being legalized for recreational use.
“In this specific application, we use water soluble cannabinoids and are able to precisely print them on virtually any surface,” explained Smart Cups CEO Chris Kanik. “The printed actives and flavours are released when they come in contact with a liquid (e.g. water, soda, or saliva).”
He added: “At the moment, the industry is lacking consistency. When an individual consumes 100 mg of aspirin, no matter where they are in the world, they are confident that they are consuming 100mg of aspirin. Smart Cups Technology can provide that same consumer confidence.”
It is understandable that as cannabis use becomes more mainstream (it is fully legal across Canada, for instance), that people want alternatives to smoking. Other existing methods, like oil and edibles, can be hard to dose precisely, which is a problem for some medical applications. Using Smart Cups’ precision printing process could prove to be a solution for drinkable weed. We’ll see how it takes off!