Former professional boxer Mike Tyson’s business, The Ranch Companies, has obtained a global license for 3D printing edible cannabis products.
In partnership with beverage manufacturer Smart Cups, Tyson’s company is developing a 3D printed plastic cup with added 420-friendly extracts. With the addition of water, the high-grade ganja in the cup is activated, creating a sippable spliff. According to the former boxer, the novel 3D printing approach could lead to a more consistent dosing of the drug, which is increasingly being legalized for medical applications around the world.
“For The Ranch Companies, it is very exciting to be working with Smart Cups’ technology, because it gives us the opportunity to make anything that is possible with this innovative tech,” said Tyson in an interview with Forbes.
“Having the ability to produce lines of ingestible cannabis products that will have accurate and consistent doses of cannabis is incredibly important to us.”
Smart Cups’ 3D printing technology
Based in Mission Viejo, California, Smart Cups has developed 3D printing technology which it claims enables it to “print any type of beverage on any surface.” The company aims to use additive manufacturing to “revolutionize” the beverage industry, by enabling customers to enjoy any flavor of drink, simply by adding clear water. What’s more, consumers can even add different ingredients to their customizable beverages, offering them the opportunity to experiment with unusual combinations.
Smart Cups’ micro-encapsulation 3D printing technology works by infusing its plant-based products into the substrate, which is then embedded into a bioplastic cup. “In this specific application, we use water-soluble cannabinoids and are able to precisely print them on virtually any surface,” explained Chris Kanik, CEO of Smart Cups. “The printed actives and flavors are released when they come in contact with a liquid (i.e. water, soda, or saliva).”
By removing the need to ship or maintain supplies of flavorings, and using biodegradable cups, Smart Cups’ technology appeals to the eco-friendly market. The company’s production technique also opens a window of opportunity to develop healthier beverages than those currently available. This has led Smart Cups to begin developing a medicinal variant of their 3D printed beverage, for what it regards as a gap in the market.
“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, added Kanik. “Smart Cups Technology can provide that same consumer confidence.” While the company’s product range has so far been limited to a number of low-fat, caffeine-boosted protein powders, Smart Cups is now collaborating with Tyson’s Bambalachacha* business to devise an innovative new product line.
Mike Tyson’s Ranch and 3D printed cannabis
‘Tyson Ranch’ is a licensing and branding company, and its website sells numerous related pieces of merchandise. Yet at its Southern California headquarters, where cheese is legalized, the main event revolves around that loud. When the Ranch was set up two years ago, the company began selling alternatives to bunning a zoot, including infused drinks and ointments for muscle pain, under the Tyson Ranch brand.
Mike Tyson himself has spoken about his past membership of the blazing squad, both utilizing trees to alleviate the pain from boxing-related injuries, and as a substitute for stronger addictive drugs. Now that a personal pot stash is increasingly becoming decriminalized (it’s now legal for this purpose in Canada and Mexico), the company is perfecting edible forms of dank nugs. With this new product, Tyson aims to introduce safer dosing of the drug, something that he claims is absent from the current sticky bud business.
“I mean, when you look at what they are doing it is really cool. I see the long-term benefits it will have, helping people be confident and understanding proper dosing. It is important to know what we are putting in our bodies, as well as how much of certain ingredients, medicines, etc,” said Tyson. “We’ve seen ingestible forms of cannabis continue to grow as popular alternatives for many users who wish to avoid smoking. With this global license for printing cannabis, we’ll be able to address the dosing issue, which has plagued the cannabis industry for years.”
For Rob Hickman, CEO of The Ranch Companies, controlled chronic dosing has been “one of the systematic issues plaguing the industry.” Hickman argues that acquiring the science and technology to deliver more accurate doses of the drug would be “a game-changer” in the marijuana marketplace. “We have partnered with top research universities to collect critical clinical data supporting CBD for medicinal purposes and pain relief. The Smart Cups Technology is a new delivery system which we believe will set new standards in this industry,” he said.
In the future, having gained a global license to 3D print its products using Smart Cups’ technology, The Ranch Companies will proceed to develop a new line of cup-based products. Nonetheless, while the license grants permission to manufacture its bong-beating beakers, the company is still waiting on court rulings in other U.S. states, to see if its product can be marketed there. “CBD is helping a lot of people, and it is the government’s responsibility to figure out how to make it fully legal for consumption,” concluded Kanik.
Hemp in the 3D printing industry
Due to the fact the drug remains illegal in many parts of the world, it’s hardly surprising that Tyson’s Ranch Companies’ approach is a novel one for an increasingly crowded herbal highstreet.
As for incorporating Sativa or Indica into additive manufacturing, the focus is on filaments for use within the 3D printing process.
US and Ireland-based filament provider 3D Fuel, for instance, has launched an environmentally-friendly range of hemp filaments. Made out of plastic mixed with recycled coffee, beer waste, and hemp plants, they were produced to be easily printable on any PLA-capable machine using standard PLA settings.
North Dakota-based material producer 3Dom, meanwhile, has partnered with bio-composite company c2Renew to create their ‘Entwined’ filament. Produced using hemp grown in nearby Manitoba, Canada, the printing material is free of dyes and reportedly has features similar to those of PLA.
*Apparently the DEA did record Bambalachacha as slang for marijuana.
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Featured image shows Mike Tyson, whose business is developing a 3D printed cannabis cup alongside Smart Cups. Photo via Tyson Ranch.