Hemp milk or hemp seed milk, is a drink made from hemp seeds that are soaked and ground into water, yielding a beany-nutty cream flavored substance. One might say it has an acquired taste. There are various options available for purchase including organic, non-GMO and conventional: unsweetened, original, vanilla and chocolate flavored options. Hemp milk is currently being marketed and is an alternative to cow or goat milk. It is a safe milk alternative for people who are allergic to tree nuts, soy or are lactose intolerant. As a matter of fact, about 75 percent of the world's population loses their lactase enzymes after weaning. Children and toddlers can also consume this type of plant based milk without any health risk implications.
Making hemp milk is relatively easy and can be done under 5 minutes. All you need is hemp seeds, water and a blender. Many recipes call for ground vanilla or vanilla extract to add more flavor and a type of sweetener. Once all ingredients are blended together some people pour milk over a cheesecloth and strainer to get a more smooth and refined milk texture. The straining process is optional. Finally, the milk must be refrigerated and used within 7 days because of the lack of preservatives.
Hemp seeds contain no or only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive substance found in the related varieties of the Cannabis plant. Hemp seeds contain a three-to-one ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids and other nutrients include magnesium, phytosterols, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin. Hemp milk also contains 10 essential amino acids, making it a good vegan source of protein as hemp protein does not contain phytateenzyme inhibitors found in some soy protein that can interfere with the absorption of essential minerals. Hemp protein may also be more digestible than soy protein because unlike soy, it does not contain oligosaccharides, complex sugars that can cause flatulence if not properly broken down during digestion. If you have diabetes, or any other nutritional related health condition, its very important to check the label when purchasing plant milk. The unsweetened variety is the only version that has no added sugar. Most of the vanilla, chocolate or Original flavored varieties have added sugars in the forms of evaporated cane juice, fructose, sucrose, brown rice syrup, raw sugar and other syrup types. Most commercial hemp milk products also contain added sodium.
Using hemp milk instead of cow milk is ecologically advantageous. This and other types of plant based milk alternatives are thought to reduce water and energy consumption foot print in industrialized nations. The agricultural industry has an estimated global water footprint of about 2,422 billion cubic meters and 19 percent of it is directly related to dairy cattle  It takes about 683 gallons of water to create 8.6 pounds of milk and the american consumer ingests about 630 pounds of dairy yearly. These are substantial numbers that have a direct impact on the environment. Another major problem is Green House Gas Emission (GHGE). A report conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations found that in 2007 the dairy sector contributed approximately 4 percent of the total GHGE globally. The numbers are much higher now due to the rapid advancement in industrialized farming technologies.