Across the American West, hemp-based construction alternatives are taking root

Across the American West, hemp-based construction alternatives are taking root

Many Americans have grown comfortable with the idea that cannabis is becoming popular for its use in medical marijuana and CBD, but many may underestimate the industrial uses the crop has developed.

Among these uses for hemp is an application in construction in the form of hempcrete, a newfound technology to make construction more environmentally-friendly by relying on the centuries-old renewable resource.

Hempcrete is a concrete substitute made from the perennial hemp crop which has lightweight, sturdy and sustainable properties. [1]

The industrial uses may also be helpful to alleviate problems with demand for hemp and CBD products after the first legal harvests last year.

According to reporting from AgriNews, hemp stalks can be difficult to remove after flowers have been harvested, and hemprcrete and other applications are a great reason to put more effort into their removal. [1]

AgriNews reports that Montana State University recently launched a research project with the Montana Farmers Union to study the properties and efficacy of hempcrete as a construction replacement. [1]

The research would crush “soup can-sized” portions of hempcrete in a hydraulic press to determine its properties and would be led by assistant professor of civil engineering Kirsten Matteson. [1]

“We’re always exploring possible uses for what would otherwise be waste materials,” Matteson told AgriNews. “When we use waste materials in these applications, we often sacrifice some strength, but that’s OK if we get other properties that are desirable.” [1]

Hempcrete has also made a splash in Idaho.

Industrial hemp and CBD are still illegal in the state, but according to the Idaho Press, state residents Mattie Mead and Tommy Gibbons of Hempitecture have still been able to build houses with hemp across the U.S. [2]

“I just knew there was this opportunity that was missing from the United States,” Mead told the Press. “I became even more gung-ho on it after people said I was out of my mind.” [2]

North Dakota has also joined the list of Western states who are bullish on hempcrete for construction.

"The simplicity is what brought us to this product originally. You're taking the biproduct of a crop essentially. A crop that we're already utilizing and we're taking the biproduct and building homes with it," Homeland Hempcrete Matt Marino told Bismarck, North Dakota NBC affiliate KFYR. [3]