By Jenny Obermok


Topics: Cannabis

The medical marijuana industry is quickly expanding. Now that many doctors, consumers, and governments alike have recognized the health benefits of medical marijuana, the market is growing at a rapid pace. While not all people agree that marijuana should be legalized, even for medical purposes, there’s no denying the benefits it has on those suffering from a wide variety of diseases and illnesses.

The medical marijuana industry is a lucrative market. In 2015, this industry was worth an estimated 11.8 billion dollars. Moreover, it is projected that the global medical marijuana market will reach $55.8 billion dollars by 2025. The medical marijuana industry is a cash cow waiting to be taken advantage of by leading medical and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

If you’re a manufacturer looking to capitalize on the rising medical marijuana industry, it’s important to have the proper production process in place. Marijuana softgel capsules require production-specific machinery—here’s what your production process will require. 

Softgel Machines

To make marijuana softgel capsules, you’ll need a softgel machine. A softgel machine encapsulates the capsule’s fill material between two ribbons of gelatin.

Depending on your type of manufacturing process, you may have different softgel machine needs and requirements. Lab scale production manufacturers seeking to create or perfect their softgel encapsulation process will want to choose a machine with a lower output capacity.

An SLG107 utilizes a single medicine pump plunger, generating roughly 4,5000 capsules per hour at a size of 3 Oval. If you’re looking for a slightly higher output, the SLG207 produces exactly double the number of softgels of the SLG107 at the same size. Both these machines are excellent options whether you’re a new company or if you’re looking to test your product recipe on a smaller batch.

If you have an established formula and are ready for commercial scale production, you’ll want to produce high volumes of marijuana softgel capsules, while still being able to keep up with the production process. Before you purchase your softgel equipment, you’ll need to determine how many hours a week your machine will be running compared to your weekly quota. This will then determine which machine capacity you’ll need and what size of die rolls you will require.

Drying Systems

The next step in your manufacturing equipment purchasing journey is deciding which drying system best suits your needs. The drying process is essential for your marijuana softgel capsule manufacturing process, as you’ll need to remove the excess moisture to ensure your capsules aren’t a sticky, leaking mess by the time they reach your customer.  

If you’re still perfecting your process, you’ll want to stick to a tumble dryer with one basket to match your SGL107 or SGL207 softgel machine.

There are more options available for commercial scale manufacturers, including tumble dryers with up to twenty-four baskets. This will allow you to pre-dry many more capsules for optimum output capacity.

As an alternative option for commercial scale production, an in-line drying system can enable a quicker and easier drying process. Rather than transferring your marijuana softgel capsules from the tumble dryer to the trays and waiting days for them to completely dry, you can use a continuous drying system that cuts down on the waiting time.

This is a great option for oil-based softgels. An in-line drying system will save you a significant amount of time in your production process. Softgels will go straight from the encapsulation equipment to the drying system before reaching final form.