Lumber, steel, and concrete prices have soared over the past year, hitting the building industry hard. But some builders point to hemp as a lower-cost alternative.
While hemp contains cannabis, it has a much lower concentration of THC than marijuana and so is not used as a recreational drug that gets its users high. Hemp has long been used as a textile, a paper, and even a food source, and CBD oils are currently marketed for many health uses. Hemp also has been used as a biofuel.
Some in the construction industry believe hemp could be an asset in lowering costs and building more sustainably. Hemp can be used as a primary material for numerous building materials, such as flooring, roofs, walls, cabinets, insulation, shingles, brick, or blockwork, they say. Hemp adobe can be made to be just as strong as concrete and used in load-bearing walls, foundations, and floors.
Industry sources say it has also proven to be a more sustainable product than lumber. To renew lumber takes 40 years, but to renew hemp takes just 90 days, Think Realty reports about its growing use in construction. Hemp grows much like bamboo. It’s also resistant to mold and resistant and has proven to be a great insulator, pest resistant, and fire retardant.