Hemp and CBD industry

It is my understanding that there is a large agricultural industry developing to grow hemp for CBD oil, and that most of the plant is wasted. I know the cannibis industry as a whole is not particulary organic and very wasteful.

Does anyone have information about what hemp based building products are available now in the NW and how we can support new products coming on?

The agricultural industry in the United States is slowly moving forward, but its growth is being ensnared by complex regulations ranging from securing an experimental license to grow, procurement of seed, testing for delta-9 THC content, just to name a few. Our (US) harvesting equipment is not strong enough to harvest hemp, especially hemp that is grown for the fiber and hurd. Consequently, most harvesting of hemp for CBD is being done by hand in the US.
Additionally, there is little to no infrastructure to decorticate the hemp and prepare it for what it is to become.
That being said, there is a company, Hempitecture, that has a line of equipment and training for the use of hempcrete. They also have hemp insulation batts. https://www.hempitecture.com/hempwool

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Thanks Stephen for the info! Perhaps the market will get going slowly.

Tom Balderston

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There are a couple of companies that have tried to play at scale in the industrial hemp processing space but who had difficulties maintaining operations for differing reasons (undercapitalized, seasonal crop shortages, market demand/consistency). There are a few newer companies in NC, AL, PA and MT who are at a smaller scale but have some product potentially coming on line. Most of the producers have focused initially on the fiber for textiles or the on the plastics industry or biocomposites and not as much on the hemp hurd/shiv (inner woody core) for the hempcrete (hemplime) building industry or animal bedding. Further many of the start ups have not had robust processes in place to guarantee uniform and proper hemp hurd sizing and a low percentage of long fiber and fines to make them reliable. This is why most of the projects built in the US have utilized European hemp with a few Canadian sourced hemp projects too. As far as sourcing hemp aggregate from CBD waste HempStone has done some prelimnary hotbox testing of numerous hemp hurd/limes, and other materials with the University of Massachusetts and we are awaiting the test results. I do not anticipate a large variance in the thermal performance of the CBD hurd as the material size and granularity and density were similar but we will also be performing strength testing at some point soon. This is more more practical considerations around non-in situ production considerations around durability for transport for panelized and block assembly types. The hemp wool batts are sourced in Quebec but Hempitecture is a great resource in the Mtn/West regions. I am on the supply committee for the US Hemp Buidling Association (USHBA) and we are working hard on the issue of both stable and reliable suppliers as well as quality standards for processors.

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Hi Tom,
I am interested in the benefits of hemp as a building material as well. Although I’m not familiar with the NW US companies, there is a company just west of Calgary, AB that built a house on Vancouver Island out of its patented hemp blocks. They look like giant Lego blocks. Their work is very interesting and seems to hold great promise. Here is there website link and they had a lot of press coverage regarding their first house construction. http://justbiofiber.ca/
The guys in Quebec are great. I spoke with the one in Asbestos (oh, the irony!) who makes the insulation and one of the farmers who provides the hemp. They’ll ship to the US and have a few US distributors if you need one. http://naturefibres.com/
(I write about green building materials).

If you are interested in learning more about hemp-based building materials, the US Hemp Building Association is hosting a free webinar next Wednesday May 6th.

I’m sorry I missed this. Did you happen to record it and if so, could you share the link?
Thanks,
Cathy Rust