Q: Yesterday I was offered hemp milk with my coffee in the Salem Health gift shop. What’s next, pot brownies?
A: Definitely not. You won’t be finding recreational marijuana products in our gift shops any time soon, just as you’ll never be able to purchase alcoholic beverages or cigarettes here, either.
While hemp and marijuana are similar plants, there are key differences. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, marijuana and industrial hemp are different varieties of the same plant species, Cannabis sativa. Marijuana typically contains 3 to 15 percent THC (the chemical that gets you high), while industrial hemp contains less than 1 percent.
Hemp milk is made from the seeds of industrial hemp. It’s high in protein and healthy fats, and it’s a good alternative for people who are sensitive to dairy and/or nuts.
Manufacturers of hemp food products — including hemp milk, hemp oil, hemp seeds and hemp-based protein powders — test their products regularly to ensure they don’t contain detectable amounts of THC.
So if your Salem Health latte with hemp milk gives you a buzz, don’t worry — it’s just the caffeine!