Hemp milk is a non-dairy alternative to milk that is made from pulverizing seeds from industrial hemp plants. This product is entirely plant based and contains no soy, making it an acceptable beverage for vegans, people who are lactose intolerant, or those with soy allergies. The industrial hemp plants used to make hemp milk do not contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, meaning that hemp milk products are in no way psychoactive. Featuring a nuttier taste and creamier consistency than dairy milk, hemp milk also boasts high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein, calcium, and multiple vitamins.
Grown from industrial hemp plants, the seeds used to produce hemp milk are pulverized with water and then strained to produce the thick, creamy milk. Commercial milks are usually sold in cardboard containers that are stored at room temperature until they are opened, at which point they should be refrigerated. Many health food stores or large grocery stores stock hemp milk in a variety of sweetened or unsweetened flavors including plain, vanilla, and chocolate. Hemp milk can be made at home by processing the hemp seeds and some water in a blender, straining out any hulls through a cheesecloth, and storing in the refrigerator.
In many countries, industrial hemp can be grown and harvested legally for the purpose of making food and clothing from the seeds and fibers. One notable exception is the United States, which allows the sale of imported hemp products but prohibits hemp farming. Proponents of industrial hemp farming emphasize tat despite the close association of industrial hemp with marijuana, the plants used to make hemp milk contain so little THC that none of the chemical is present in the finished products.
What is present, however, is a host of essential nutrients. Hemp milk is perhaps most widely applauded for its very high and well balanced levels of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. Together, these essential fatty acids help protect against heart disease, stroke, and degenerative neurological disorders while boosting the immune system. Amino acids and calcium are also found in this dairy alternative, which is often fortified with vitamin B2 and vitamin D. While these nutrients are certainly beneficial for all people, they are especially important for vegans who may have difficulty incorporating all essential nutrients into their animal-free diets.
Typically, hemp milk can be used in just about any way that dairy milk, soy milk, rice milk, or other nut milks can be used. The creamy drink can be consumed directly, poured over granola or cereal, blended into smoothies, or stirred into coffee and tea. It can also be substituted for dairy milk in a wide variety of cooking or baking recipes.