10 Unexpected Uses for Cannabis

When we think of cannabis, we tend to think of how we use it for recreational and medical purposes. Cannabis can be smoked, eaten, or taken as a supplement. But there are also some unexpected uses for cannabis, mainly regarding how hemp is incorporated into consumer products.

Medical cannabis plants that are legally grown
Medical cannabis plants that are legally grown

This article will discuss the unexpected uses for cannabis so you can better understand its many benefits.

What is Hemp?

Hemp is a botanical class of the cannabis sativa plant. It is grown specifically for industrial or medicinal use.

Like most cannabis plants, it contains both THC and CBD. However, its CBD content is much higher than its THC content. As a result, it produces little to no psychoactive effects.

Hemp is becoming a popular crop in many of today’s industries. It is extremely versatile accounting for the many unexpected uses for cannabis. It is also easy to grow, it requires little water, and it improves the health of the soil.

Unexpected Uses for Cannabis

Here are some unexpected uses for cannabis to consider.


Thanks to the passing of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill, hemp is recognized as an agricultural crop in the United States. It has been removed from the Controlled Substances Act and separated from marijuana. It is legal to transport hemp seeds, plants, and products throughout the country.

U.K.’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs classify hemp as a non-food crop. But it can be imported for sowing or sale as a food ingredient with proper licensing and proof of less than .3% THC concentration.

Hemp can be eaten raw, ground into hemp meal, or made into a dried sprout powder. It can also be made into a slurry and used in baking and beverages. It is rich in protein, fiber, B vitamins, amino acids, and other vitamins and minerals.

Fiber for Fabrics

Vintage linen fabric background
Vintage linen fabric background

Hemp fiber is often used to make industrial materials including rope, fabrics, sail canvas, clothing, shoes, accessories, and homewares. It is a good clothing material as it filters out UV light to protect the skin. It is also soft on the skin.

It works well when used to manufacture other consumer goods because it has four times the strength of cotton. It won’t weaken when it’s washed. It also retains color better than other fabrics.

Building Material

Building material is another one of the unexpected uses for cannabis.

Hemp is often used as a building material because it is lightweight and mold resistant. Its sustainability makes it an environmental choice. When used in building methods, it reduces energy consumption and pollutants.

The cannabis constituent is most used in construction mixed with a lime solution. The solution is applied to a timber frame with temporary shuttering to form the structure. The structure is removed when the hemp mix is solidified and ready to plaster.  


Hemp is often used for insulation due to its durability and flexibility. It can be adjusted to a variety of shapes and sizes during installation. It is also a low-maintenance choice as it is not likely to develop cavities.

The material is lightweight and non-toxic. It works well in flooring, walling, and roofing. It absorbs double the amount of heat as compared to other insulation materials.

Hemp’s porous qualities allow it to penetrate water and air without losing its thermal properties. It allows for air circulation bringing in fresh air throughout the day. It also doubles as a sound barrier.

Oils and Varnishes

scientist with gloves checking hemp plants in a greenhouse. Concept of herbal alternative medicine, cbd oil, pharmaceptical industry
scientist with gloves checking hemp plants in a greenhouse. Concept of herbal alternative medicine, cbd oil, pharmaceptical industry

Oils and varnishes are other unexpected uses for cannabis.

Cannabis seeds have a high oil content that makes them an ideal base for oils and varnishes. When used as a floor varnish, it protects the wood from mold, wear, pests, and water. It is often used indoors because of its low UV-resistant rating.


Hemp fibers can be combined with lime and sand to create an insulating plaster that can be applied to walls, ceilings, and flooring. Its porous characteristics allow the plaster to regulate humidity and distribute it. It comes in a variety of colors, and it can be manually pigmented.

Wood Substitute

Construction is among the unexpected uses for cannabis.

Hemp is often used for construction as it lasts longer than wood. When the fibers are dry, they can be pressed into wood-like materials that can be used for construction, paneling, and flooring. The material is also versatile so it can be used in more ways than wood.

Composite Materials

Hemp can be combined with fiberglass, kenaf, and flax to be used in composite panels for automobiles. Bast fiber is often used as it is cost-efficient and highly available. It is integrated into manufacturing for top brands like Audi, BMW, Ford, GM, Chrysler, and more.


Hemp is often used to make paper items like cigarette paper, banknotes, and filter papers. It lasts longer than paper made from wood. However, production costs for hemp are higher than for wood as the infrastructure for hemp is underdeveloped.


Hemp jewelry can be made from knotting hemp twine using macrame designs. It can be incorporated into bracelets, necklaces, anklets, rings, watches, and more. It comes in a variety of colors and thicknesses. It can be adorned with jewels, stones, and more. It is one of the more unexpected uses for cannabis.


Hemp seeds and stalks can be used to make biodiesel, aka, ‘hempoline’. The hemp plant can be fermented to make alcohol fuel that can power diesel engines. However, the fuel produced from hemp is very small. Biodiesel is more often produced from inexpensive raw materials like animal feces, garbage, and wastewater.

Recreation and Medical Use

Coming around to one of the less unexpected uses for cannabis, the plant is also popularly used for recreation and medical use. It can be smoked, consumed in edibles, or taken as a pill, capsule, or tablet. You can vape it, use a transdermal patch, and even apply it directly to the skin.

Thanks to hemp, there are many unexpected uses for cannabis. Which will you be incorporating into your everyday life?

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