The rapid rise in the popularity of 3D printers in recent years, paired with how affordable they have become, has led to a long list of crazy, deadly, useful, and sometimes downright delicious creations being spit out by these incredible machines. Anything from firearms, to body parts, to pizzas, and in a move straight out of a Terminator movie, we even have 3D printers printing out more 3D printers.
So, of course, it took no time flat for folks to start pumping out 3D-printed plastic accessories for the cannabis crowd – everything from cheap grinders to entire bongs shaped like popular video game characters.
But a research and development firm out of Israel has taken the technology to a whole new level with a 3D-printed vaporizer that they believe will change the way the world looks at medical marijuana.
Syqe Medical Ltd. Is a cannabis technology start-up venture backed by the Israeli government.
You read that correctly.
The Israeli national government has officially recognized the many medicinal benefits associated with cannabis, and while their regulations are fairly strict and truly reserved for those with legitimate documented ailments, they are still light years ahead of our leaders in Washington, D.C.
At Syqe Medical (pronounced si-kee), they claim to be on the cutting edge of the movement to legitimize cannabis as an accepted mainstream form of medication. Their website says that they employ electronic and mechanical engineers, industrial developers, a physician, a chemist, a biologist, and even a pharmacologist.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: How many Israeli scientists does it take to plug in a 3D printer?
As it turns out, the Syqe 3D-printed vaporizer that has been making headlines around the world is really only created with about 75% 3D-printed materials. The rest being the electronics and bells and whistles that give it selling points like Wi-Fi connectivity and, at least according to their own website, the most efficient cannabinoid delivery system on the market today.
Again, your eyes do not deceive you, the new Syqe vaporizers are equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity, giving patients and their caregivers incredibly precise control over dosages.
When wirelessly sync’d to a smartphone or tablet, the Syqe vaporizer will provide real-time records to the user, his or her health care provider, and potentially even to the manufacturer, who says they will use the data to fine tune the product and aid in their quest to provide the ideal device for truly healthy cannabis use.
Perry Davidson, the founder and CEO of Syqe, says that 3D printing technology was not just used to fabricate pieces and parts for their vaporizers, but that they actually used the printers to create many of the tools that they found they needed, but could not find in the conventional marketplace.
“We are directly manipulating the human psyche in a very precise manner,” Davidson told the Wall Street Journal in a recent interview. “A physician could prescribe a custom-tailored, individualized treatment for that patient, and not have a hit or a miss, but a very close hit on the accurate dosing that the patient required.”
The purpose of the Syqe vaporizer is to deliver the smallest amount of precisely dosed cannabinoids as possible to induce effective pain relief, without the psychoactive “high” that is inherently built in to the effects of the plant.
Due to this accurate dosing ability, the company has found a lucrative market in Israeli hospitals, and with more government support they hope to have their units being piloted in select health care facilities by the end of this year.
The Israeli government has kicked down roughly a million bucks in R&D grants to the company just in the past three years.
The vaporizer itself is being praised by doctors who may not have shown much support for cannabis in the past. It requires the weed to be used to be ground down into super-fine particles, and then loaded into the vaporizer in a comically minuscule amount.
By pulverizing the pot into a powder, officials note that it destroys any black-market or street value for the weed – another plus in their book.
Davidson told Forbes magazine that four of the major components were produced via 3D printers: the shell, the chassis, and the airway and thermal housings. He says that the use of the new technology sped up production and pushed the Syqe vaporizer into clinical trials ahead of schedule.
While the product is doing very well in its home country, Davidson has his sights set on the American market, which he predicts will expand eight times over in the next five years, exploding into a $10-billion a year industry.
Hopefully we won’t be too busy printing replacement Bald Eagle beaks to cash in on the boom.