Over-the-Desktop Pharmaceuticals: Using 3D Printers for CBD Tablets by@alex-malkin

Over-the-Desktop Pharmaceuticals: Using 3D Printers for CBD Tablets

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Alex Malkin

Alex Malkin is a CBD enthusiast, researcher, and the editor-in-chief at CBD.market.

Hemp Industry Daily predicts hemp-derived CBD products will see a threefold sales increase to $6.9 billion by the year 2025. Over-the-counter supplements are expected to increase by 159-percent. As technology continues to advance, customized CBD products will continue to expand.

3D Printed Cannabidiol Tablets

One of the most exciting and newest published stories by CBD industry news is 3D printed cannabidiol (CBD) tablets. Even more exciting is the fact that 3D pills can be successfully made using an ordinary 3D printer like the ones people use at home. Though the process needs further research and testing before it will become mainstream, the goal is that it will contribute to the transformation of the digital health environment. Despite the 3D printers being capable of producing the tablets costing over $4,000 dollars, the price is expected to drop over time.

Swedish and Greek researchers created an algorithm enabling the production of precise doses of CBD wrapped in orodispersible films for rapid dissolution in one's mouth. The algorithms for the customization of CBD tablets use a person’s weight and other factors to determine how to meet their specific needs. The personalized CBD tablets and capsules will enable people to take precise doses of CBD to get maximum benefits.


High-Tech Extraction Methods

Though some extraction methods have been used for a while, they are being improved each year. In fact, CBD processing using state-of-the-art equipment enables extremely tight control of the compounds extracted from the hemp plant, leading to higher quality customized CBD products. Selective extraction of cannabinoid compounds is continually fine-tuned in the CBD industry.

  • Supercritical CO2 extraction (SFE) – Temperature and pressure are used to create phase changes in carbon dioxide. During the process, the CO2 is “tuned” to enable plant material components of different weights to drop out. This means the producer can choose the specific compounds it wants to extract.
  • Ultrasonic-assisted extraction (UAE) – This extraction process has been used to extract compounds from botanicals in plant-based chemistry, but the process is now starting to be used for CBD extraction.

    Through controllable ultrasonic cavitation, plant cells are perforated. The solvent is then pushed into the cell where it absorbs a variety of intracellular compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes. One of its advantages is that the process can use hot/warm ethanol to cryogenic ethanol at -70-degrees centigrade. This enables targeting the desired compounds through temperature.
  • Microwave-assisted extraction (MAE) – Microwaves are coupled with a continuous flow operation at atmospheric pressure, producing improve CBD extract quality and consistency. It is a highly efficient process in that it can recover 95 percent of the active compounds from cannabis biomass and eliminates steps like decarboxylation or winterization.
  • Pressurized hot water extraction (PHWE) – Instead of CO2, super-heated water is used in its supercritical form as a solvent, exhibiting the same solvent properties as ethanol and methanol. A process of degassing is used to remove oxygen molecules to avoid oxidizing the analytes.

    The water is kept at a carefully set high temperature and pressure to retain its supercritical fluid form. The technique keeps the water temperature above 100-degrees centigrade and below 374-degrees centigrade. The cannabis extraction is done through the continuous flow approach or the static approach.

Next Generation CBD Products

There is still a lot of room to improve the current CBD technologies and develop new ones to make customized CBD products. The focus is on continuing to refine the separation and extraction process, and some research indicates a hybrid approach is best.

For example, John MacKay is with Synergistic Technologies Associates. Internationally recognized for his cannabis analysis expertise, he says that a combination of processes, like merging microwave-assisted extraction and ultrasound, is the key. In addition, Artificial Intelligence will likely play an increasing role in creating personalized CBD tablets and capsules.

Ultimately, the goal is to produce the highest quality CBD products at an affordable price.


  1. https://hempindustrydaily.com/exclusive-cbd-demand-could-drive-2020-sales-of-2-billion-with-threefold-growth-projected-by-2025/
  2. https://www.inputmag.com/tech/3d-printed-cbd-tablets-could-make-personalized-doses-a-reality
  3. https://3dprintingindustry.com/news/scientists-develop-3d-printed-cbd-pills-186013/
  4. https://www.tmcnet.com/topics/articles/2021/02/11/447995-technology-changing-cbd-industry.htm
  5. https://www.hielscher.com/highly-efficient-ultrasonic-cannabidiol-cbd-extraction-from-cannabis.htm
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1350417716302358
  7. Radoiu, R; Kaur, Harm; Bakowska-Barczak, A.; and Splinter, S.; August 2020, Microwave-Assisted Industrial Scale Cannabis Extraction, Technologies by MDPI.
  8. https://www.cannabistech.com/articles/pressurized-hot-water-extraction/
  9. https://www.cannabissciencetech.com/view/new-extraction-technologies-lining-be-game-changers


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