The (Not So) New Role of Cannabis in Construction

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Hempcrete provides natural insulation, is airtight yet breathable, impervious to mold, and virtually fireproof

July 07, 2015
The (Not So) New Role of Cannabis in Construction

Home builders should consider using hemp in their homes, hempcrete proponent and entrepreneur James Savage tells The New York Times.

Savage came up with the idea the past decade, after seeing New Orleans homes festering with mold post-Hurricane Katrina, and the homes that crumbled in Haiti during the earthquake.

“The solution he has come up with is not some space-age polymer or recycled composite but a material that has been in use for millennia, though it is more often demonized than venerated on these shores,” The New York Times notes.

The woody interior of the Cannabis sativa plant is combined with lime and water to create hempcrete, a building material which provides natural insulation, free from toxins, impervious to mold and pests, and fire resistant.

Growing hemp is not the same as growing the plants that are used as a drug, proponents of the material say. “You could smoke a telephone pole’s worth of our stuff and still not get high,” Ken Anderson, owner of Minneapolis-based hempcrete company Original Green Distribution, told The New York Times.

Savage likens the difference between hallucinogenic and medicinal varieties and the one used for hempcrete with animals. “It’s like the difference between a wolf and a poodle, same species, totally different animal.”

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