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Building something better with hemp bricks

Re-posted from The Cannabis Life Network

Have you ever imagined building a giant weed fort from bags of bud or hemp bricks? If so, you are not alone. Technology is a beautiful thing, especially when it comes to cannabis. The future is now as hemp bricks are entering the mainstream, and not just for building forts! Pretty soon, we may be living in hemp brick houses…This could be the start of something incredible…

What is a hemp brick?

Just as it sounds, a hemp brick is a solid piece of building material, made of fibers from the male cannabis plant. They can be stacked like concrete or terracotta bricks but before they are cured, the mix for hemp bricks can be poured like concrete.

hemp bricks

Sod houses

While a house made of bricks of bud may seem like a stoner fantasy, similar homes have been built in the past. In fact, making plants based houses is a part of Canadian History! For prairie settlers, sod houses were a cheap and easy dwelling to build. They were sturdy, insulating in the winter and cool in the summer. To make one, cut strips of the roots that grow underneath turf grass and lay them in a brick pattern.

sod houses

How do you make hemp bricks?

You can buy ready-made products such as Hempcrete, but making hemp bricks or concrete is surprisingly simple and easy. All you need is three ingredients:

4 parts hemp – mulched up plant matter (leaves, stalk, roots… all of it)  

1 part lime – acts as a binder

1 part water 

hemp house

To use:

1, Using the ratio listed, mix the ingredients together.

2, Pour the mixture into a brick form and pack it down.

3, Allow it to set and dry.

Benefits of Hemp Bricks

A house made of pot may seem a bit bizarre but it’s worth it. The benefits are as solid as the bricks you build with.

Fire-resistant – Once that mixture is set, a hemp brick will not burn. 

Energy Efficient – It’s not easy for heat to move through this material. Meaning, warmth won’t escape in the winter or creep in from outside each summer.

Sustainable – The main ingredient used is grown to full term within 2 to 3 months, making hemp bricks easy to produce. Plus, growing hemp cleans carbon from both the atmosphere and soil, making this one of the most eco-friendly building materials available.

energy efficient

The potential…

Adopting this building material could change our world in ways we have yet to imagine. If everyone was building houses made of hemp, we would need to grow a lot of it to satisfy demand. Doing so would fight pollution and create a lot of jobs. But, imagine what could be for humanitarian efforts after a natural disaster? In the event of a catastrophic earthquake, you could grow enough hemp to start rebuilding homes in only 3 months. The potential positive impact could be astronomical:

houses made of hemp
  • On top of being able to quickly provide a home, it would be one that self-regulates its temperature, invaluable in hotter climates. 
  • Hemp hearts would provide a highly nutritious, superfood source. 
  • Growing the hemp would clean the air and help suck up any pollution leaked into the ground. 
  • Seeing quick, easy solutions work in effective ways in one of the biggest morale boosters for any crisis; in a natural disaster, nothing is needed more. Without options to improve their situation, a victim can do little else but wallow in the despair of it all. When this happens on a large population scale, social damage can be irrevocable. Using hemp bricks means that you only need seeds, water, and lime; from there, you can make food and shelter.

The first time I ever saw hemp brick, it was at the VCBC, made by Ted Smith. It feels like rock and apparently it’s gotten even harder over the years. You can see a small black mark on one corner but the surface underneath the spot is intact… it’s from the time he took a torch to it and tried to burn it up. 

Julia Veintrop
From an early age, Julia displayed a passion for writing and languages, a fascination with journalism and an amazing memory. Her career focus had been gaining skills and experience in many different fields of counselling. Her ambition to have a career as medical general practitioner was interrupted when she became very ill from cervical cancer and the procedures necessary to remove it, beginning almost seven years of severe medical issues. Using the written word as an avenue of release and feeling the miraculous benefits of cannabis first-hand, she developed her skills throughout her illness and shifted her focus to cannabis from the patient perspective. Today, she devotes her life to a cause she truly enjoys, cannabis activism, so that no one need suffer unnecessarily due to lack of education or access.