Everyone in Canada is focused on legalization right now. How are governments going to regulate it? What will the quality be like? How can I get the highest and where? Is it really possible to make a joint over one meter long? All of these are serious questions. The focus on weed these days has caused a lot of people to forget about another great plant: hemp!
This low-THC beauty is a gold mine in terms of usages. From face, to bed, to weight loss, to home building, there is no part of your life that can’t be made a little bit better and more eco-friendly with a dash of hemp. Over the next three blogs, we are going to take a look at three areas where hemp is about to make a huge impact: health/beauty, industrial products/homes, and clothing/accessories. Hemp is making big shifts in how companies are able to make products in these areas and we are going to explore them all. Today, we take a gander at how hemp is making construction more eco-friendly and cost efficient.
Parts of the Plant
In construction, it is mostly the hemp stalk that is used to produce different materials. The stalk is broken down into three main parts: hurd, bast fiber, and the stalk.
Hurd is the woody inner part of the plant. When processed, the material is similar to wood chips, but much more absorbent. It is used for things like animal bedding and chemical clean up, but is making its biggest gains in “hempcrete”, which we are going to talk about more later.
Bast fiber is the most commonly used part of the hemp plant, or at least the part you’ve probably seen before. The fibers are often used in clothes and blankets, but also used to produce building materials like rope. Rumours abound that bast fiber was such a useful fiber that it threatened big American industries and led to the smear campaigns against weed in the first place.
The stalk is often used in things like biofuel and paper production. These products are both a big deal for people looking to live a greener life.
A Green Mindset: Hempcrete
One of the biggest benefits of hemp in the industrial field has to be the invention of hempcrete. No, this is not the same as concrete and cannot be used as a structural element. Basically, you build a frame, and then spray the frame with hempcrete. Buildings up to ten stories high have already been built using this method (check out the video link below to see hempcrete in action).
Hempcrete is a low cost, high insulation product proven to save families 50-70% on energy costs in warm and cold climates. Both of these advantages alone make hempcrete a must have product for many building projects. There is still one major advantage of hempcrete though: it gets stronger as it gets older. Hempcrete will continuously absorb CO2 as it ages. This ability means that homeowners can reduce their carbon footprint over time while the hempcrete itself grows stronger as it absorbs the CO2 year to year- a big win for builders and homeowners.
Hemp plastic can do anything that regular plastic can do, but better. The environmental impact is lower, and hemp plastic can be used in anything from sunglasses and pens, to full cars. In fact, a car has already been fully produced using mainly hemp plastics which were found to be stronger than steel. Big jumps have also been made in using hemp plastic in 3D printers. This technology means that any product could be produced quickly and easily and still be considered green and organic.
The only downside of hemp plastics right now is the cost. Because hemp is still a regulated plant in some places, growing the amount of hemp needed to make plastic is still more expensive than regular plastics. If the industry keeps booming, those regulations may soon disappear.
Hemp at Home
There is a lot of debate about how the chemicals we are exposed to at home have affected our health. Chemically treated fabrics, household cleaners, paints, and even furniture can cause a number of allergic reactions in people. Hemp products are all natural and can be used to replace almost any household item. Hemp oil is now being used as a base in paints and stains, cutting down on toxic fumes. Hemp based fabrics are breathable and retain way less dust and allergens than anything else on the market. For clean freaks, hemp based cleaners mean you can spray away and you don’t have to worry about the negative effects of chemical cleaners.
The best part about hemp is that this article is just a small overview of everything that is being done right now. Check out some of the links below for a more in-depth look at hemp products:
Hemp Paints: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riUzvCHXNeE
Hemp Cleaners: http://www.hemp-country.com/Spray—Cleaners.html
73 uses for Hemp: https://ministryofhemp.com/blog/hemp-products-list/#industrial
Hemp Building Materials: https://thehia.org/Building-Materials/
Hemp in Construction: https://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/natural-building/hempcrete-ze0z1602zbay
What is Hempcrete?: http://www.americanlimetechnology.com/what-is-hempcrete/