Cannabis sativa-CC-M. Martin Vincente

These contractors are taking the term “going green” quite literally.

hempcrete-CC-hnnbzAs part of an emerging trend here in the U.S., many buildings are incorporating the use of a hemp-based material to provide insulation.

The brick, which is known as “hempcrete,” is made by mixing the wood-like interior of the Cannabis sativa plant with lime and water to form a block that serves as a flexible, breathable, and fireproof insulation that is impervious to mold and pests.

For decades, because the plant contains trace amounts (.3%) of THC, the chemical found in marijuana, it has not been legal to grow in the US. Though it can be imported from Canada, builders might soon be able to use ‘Made in the USA’ plants, since the farm bill passed last year allowed a few hemp-farming pilot projects to launch.Green building, Dogs Trust in Shrewsbury, Britain

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So far, 20 states have removed barriers to industrial hemp production.

It could become even more widely applied if Congress passes the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, introduced early this year, which would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. This would allow American farmers in any state to grow the crop.

The New York Times reported that hempcrete has been used as a building material in Europe for decades, where hemp cultivation was never criminalized.

Hemp proponents say they’re just following in the footsteps of the American founding fathers — Thomas Jefferson and George Washington – who both cultivated the sturdy weed themselves in Virginia.

(READ more in The New York Times) – Photo: M. Martin Vincente

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