The intersection of 3D Printing, a medical marijuana inhaler and Wi-Fi really does sound like something out of Star Trek. The inhaler, created by Israeli technology company Syqe Medical, Ltd., is a hand-held device that vaporizes miniature granules of cannabis, thus allowing doctors and other medical professionals to retain larger control over prescriptions, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. While previously doctors had to prescribe regular strains of marijuana, which could prove to be far more potent than necessary, this inhaler allows for pain relief without a near-debilitating high.
Although medicinal marijuana has quickly taken hold in numerous jurisdictions across the United States, as well as throughout the entire world, many medical professionals have avoided prescribing it as treatment due to the lack of control over dosage and strength. These concerns could quickly become quelled, however, with the emergence of a new cannabis inhaler designed specifically for medical purposes.
The device is not yet available for public use, although Syqe has high hopes and aims to secure investing from international and domestic sources. According to Forbes, Syqe plans to use 3D printing technology to manufacture these devices for widespread use. They also reported, “The inhaler is the first drug delivery platform of its kind. Not only is it 3D printed, but it’s Wifi enabled and can be connected to a smart phone or tablet.” This allows doctors and patients to monitor and see data that will help determine correct dosages for unique situations.
Plastics Today reported that 75 percent of the parts of the medical inhaler were printed on a Stratasys 3D printer which sped up the manufacturing process and got them to clinical trials faster than if they had used traditional manufacturing methods.
Syqe and Funding the Cannabis Inhaler
As of this writing, Syqe has secured over $1 million in research and development funding from the Israeli Chief Scientist’s office. They have allowed the technology company to test and develop the current iteration of the device. Syqe hopes to obtain an additional $10 to $15 million from investors in the U.S.
Syqe sees the United States as its main market for distribution. It believes the U.S. market will reach $10 billion within five years. As such, the Israeli company is aiming to around the world to proliferate its product for both domestic and international users.
Smoking the Competition
The Syqe inhaler is, in fact, only one of the multiple inhalers emerging on the market. Another option is the PUFFiT vaporizer, which looks like a regular asthma inhaler, although acts like a normal vaporizer. As medicinal marijuana becomes more accepted throughout the world, a larger group of developers and manufacturers are creating devices that offer a discreet way of vaporizing marijuana for anyone who is interested.
Currently, Syqe and other device manufacturers are clamoring for investments, but this may not last for long. A February 2014 report in Cannabis Financial Network cites an executive in the marijuana industry as saying that even before marijuana became legal in one state, his company was “selling one vaporizer every 30 seconds and packaging thousands of cartridges per day.” He believes this will turn his company into a billion dollar venture. And, a month after the company’s stock was initially offered, it rose over 90 percent in value due to heavy investing by those interested in the company, as well as the device it provides.
Does this mean that Syqe can expect the same results? Not necessarily, but the fact that some vaporizer companies are receiving massive public funding in return for these discreet devices may show promise that securing investments in the current market is far from impossible.