Hempcrete: Cannabis Sativa’s architectural application

Hempcrete: Cannabis Sativa’s architectural application

011b01c8be97$127c3c10$f2ec8446Cannabis Sativa, is the most widely utilized plant in the whole world and at the same time the one with mixed feelings in society. As some countries have banned its use and made it illegal to cultivate and consume, others are still fighting to ignore the legalize-it-people or just go ahead and get convinced of what they claim this plant’s benefits are.
Today, I will concentrate on it’s array of applications nowadays, but not the medicinal types that everyone defends, the productive ones. The side chart displays a summary of all derivates of Hemp. 
Hemp is the commonly used term for the tallest-growing type of Cannabis Sativa plants, containing low THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is highest in small-growing sativa, used for marihuana production and pot smoking (for which mainly the female plant flower and leaves, are used to produce it). For hemp, low or removed THC is required for best strand extraction, no matter if the plant is male of female.

America’s first applications of Hemp:
The below short movie documentary from 1942 produced by the US Department of Agriculture, called ”Hemp for Victory”, explains the manufacturing process of Cannabis Sativa hemp for the production of goods such as rope fibers, fire hoses, parachutes, bags, ship ropes, shoe ties and ship sails. This was before hemp was banned in the US, which occurred in 1948. The documentary was posted as a promotion to motivate farmers to cultivate hemp and produce strands. After banning Hemp, Manila plants were utilized instead.

How is Hemp used as a building material? 

Hemp can help us create a new composite form of concrete called Hempcrete. It is obtained from the leftovers of fibre extraction of the hemp. Mixing air-lime and the chopped parts of hemp stems, you can achieve hempcrete mixtures for pouring as typical concrete is, or sprayed on as shotcrete. What makes this bio-material interesting is the array of benefits it has towards construction as follows:

• Highly insulating and high thermal mass.
• Regulates temperature and humidity of buildings.
• Allows breathable homes, reducing heating and cooling costs.
• Highly acoustical on both sides.
• Lightweight.
• Structurally flexible, but unbreakable.
• Carbon negative.
• 100% organic.
• Lowers construction costs.
• Fastens construction.
• Low combustion, reducing green house effect.
• Rodent repellent.
• Fire resistant.
• Fast growing and spreading.
• Earthquake resistant.
• Flood resistant.

Hemp can also be used as direct insulation material between panels for indoor and outdoor construction, and is also great for fiberboard design, similar to wood panels. Paints, coatings, solvents and oils, can also be produced from hemp. Agronomically speaking, hemp helps to control bad weeds eliminating the use of pesticides on plants and keeping the produce more organic. How great is that!

I hope I can find another bio-material with so many properties and benefits such as Hemp!


So if this plant is so extensively genius, why not legalize al least the hemp of cannabis? If it is what worries the country (the getting high part), go ahead and legalize the non THC plant, at least good production comes from it. So many its absurd.  Curious fact: The best soil to plant hemp is one that is rich, loose and organic matter. Soils used for corn crops are perfect for it.




• Limecrete and hempcrete manufacturing properties and construction      benefits: http://www.limecrete.co.uk/docs/Hempcrete-Factsheet.pdf
• ”Hemp for Victory” (1942) Documentary. Youtube.
• Hemp historical data. www.hemp.org
• Hemp descriptions and properties. www.hemphasis.net

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Mabelle Plasencia

Founder and Editor at INmatteria©
• Architect | LEED AP BD+C, with an intense passion for materiality, innovation, technology and science. • Arquitecta | LEED AP BD+C apasionada por la materialidad, innovación, tecnología y ciencia.