The use of cannabis as medicine is becoming more widely understood in the United States, as successful treatment stories continue to be shared throughout mainstream media.

There are actually even more uses for the plant than most people know about.

It can be used to make products such as textiles, oils, fuel, paper and twine, used as a source of nutrition, and another way that may be surprising, for some — a building material.

Hempcrete, a building material derived from the woody-interior of a cannabis sativa plant (industrial hemp) that is combined with lime and water, is beginning to garner interest for construction across the United States.

hempcrete stalk

The outer portion of the stalk can provide fiber for textiles necessary in buildings. It has been used throughout Europe for centuries, but current industrial hemp restrictions in the United States have prevented it from being a commonly used product.

Three reasons that hempcrete can have a positive impact on the future of construction are listed below:

Humidity & Temp Regulation

hempcrete

Hempcrete naturally regulates humidity and temperature in the building, which can eliminate the need for heating and cooling systems and save large amounts of energy. It also allows for buildings who hope to leave a minimal carbon footprint and achieve the best potential building code levels to do so because it is a carbon negative. The breathable nature of hempcrete works within historic and modern building plans, helping to provide optimal health and comfort for those inside.

Long Lasting Quality

hempcrete home

Hempcrete buildings are able to last for as long as any other type and naturally protects from a number of issues that cause decay or destruction in others. It is fireproof, immune to termites and vapor pervious to naturally lower humidity and eliminate the threat of condensation.

Proven Track Record

hempcrete 2

Hempcrete has a proven track record in Europe, where hemp cultivation has never been criminalized. Since the material was created in the 1980’s in France, it has been integrated into buildings across the continent. A home built by Prince Charles, a seven-story tower in France and a Marks and Spencer department store are just a handful of the hundreds buildings constructed with hempcrete.

hemp chips

With the positives that hempcrete can offer, from mass savings on energy and insulation to being invulnerable to fire and termites, it makes sense to increase the use of it in future construction.

photo credit: Preston Schlebusch for The New York Times; Bernd Settnik—dpa/AP Images

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