The Many Uses of Hemp: Hempcrete

Medical cannabis has remained largely in public focus ever since it was introduced in California in the 90’s for its incredible effectiveness treating many of those  among the terminally and chronically ill, but there are also many other benefits associated with industrial uses of hemp.  A material known as hempcrete can be produced with the fibrous inner stalks of cannabis plants ground up and mixed with a lime-based binding agent with considerably less energy cost than the production of concrete, which has to be heated to thousands of degrees during the production process. Unlike many sustainable products that merely offer a comparable product that carries a reduced carbon footprint, cannabis offers a sustainable way to easily produce building materials tough enough to last for thousands of years while remaining highly resistant to moisture damage by way of hemp fibers. What’s more, all this is done while leaving a negative carbon footprint. The process is very efficient, enabling some buildings to contain over 20,000 lbs. of carbon, effectively locking it out of the atmosphere while families can grow up in homes that will stand strong for generations. In short, with the recent passage of Senate Bill 50 in Kentucky, the State may see an incredible surge in its economy if industrial hemp products like hempcrete show even a moderate level of success. In the 1980’s, Tennessee used to have real winters. The weather turned cold in October, and it got warm again in March. Real snows fell in winter months, and when they did fall, snow would cling to the landscape for days, sometimes weeks. Mornings were still and quiet and beautiful. In recent years, that’s not quite the case; snow may fall one time in December, then the skies usually forget what time of year it is and not produce snow again until March or April. Now it almost seems like the seasons have developed an identity crisis, and it is increasingly common to see weather patterns that are increasingly harder to predict. Other places have seen less change over time, but there are some still that see much worse, with the worst yet to be seen. Habitats slowly unravel while entire species are disappearing from the face of the planet as the delicate balance of our ecosystems is destroyed by nature unchecked, and entire nations are sinking into the seas as arctic regions become warmer and covered in less ice as time progresses. With atmospheric CO2 levels reaching unprecedented levels, the sustainability of our home seems to be in need of some serious help. If the cannabis and hemp industry can provide relief to the sick and food to the hungry while providing a viable option for carbon reclamation to the point that it has thus far, then it should be an easy decision to support legislation that would enable people to more easily make an impact in the sustainability of the world we live in. While medical cannabis offers plenty of opportunity to better care for the ill, we should also support the many industrial uses of hemp to make sustainability a little more attainable for everybody.
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