Bees and Cannabis
by Katy – Bee Missionary September 27, 2019
Do bees pollinate cannabis?
If so, do they get high from the nectar?
What is marijuana honey?
There is a lot of misleading information on the internet about honeybees and cannabis. Videos showing bees flocking to cannabis plants are untrue on some level, as you will realize after you read this blog post. The plants may have been sprayed with sugar water or some other bee-attracting enhancement for the purpose of making a video.
There is very little research available about how honeybees interact with the cannabis plant that contains THC levels sufficiently potent to be deemed medical or recreational use quality. Only one known scholarly article exists so far (Dalio, J.S., 2012). The study, which took place in India, indicated that bees see cannabis plants as a source of protein but usually only visit the male plants during a pollen shortage.
Honeybees (Apis mellifera) do pollinate the marijuana plant, but they don’t seem to enjoy the skunk-like scent that emanates from cannabis plants in the field. The plants also have no bright coloring to attract bees, and these are probably the main reasons bees don’t seem to like pollinating the plant if there are any better options. They tend to see it as a last resort which indicates they don’t like the flavor.
According to a study reported by the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, insects in general don’t have endocannabinoid systems, which are the receptors in human bodies that react to substances like THC and CBD. So, bees don’t get high when they pollinate cannabis.
Cannabis is mostly pollinated by the wind, and so it has not needed to develop colors and scents to attract pollinators like the honeybee, which is a creature with rich tastes in aromas and vivid colors. Since there is no “reward” for the bee to pollinate it, the favorite reward being flower nectar, bees are not usually interested. Sometimes a male cannabis plant will produce some pollen, which the bee may take home to the hive, but the bee is mainly seeking plants with nectar.
It seems some beekeepers encourage bees to pollinate the pot plant much like they would orange blossom, clove or wildflowers, so they can claim the honey they sell is authentic “marijuana honey” but it doesn’t usually happen this way. Bees are not fond of this source of pollen although if they are hungry and choices are low, they will go for it.
In places where cannabis honey is sold on the open market you will likely see marijuana honey on the shelves and the storekeeper may claim it was made from bee nectar collected from cannabis plants. It is more likely a case where the honey was infused with cannabinoids before it was packaged and sold. In Colorado, psychoactive THC honey is purchased in dispensaries while CBD honey is for sale in health food stores.
Little is known so far about the relationship between honeybees and cannabis. Much remains to be learned and no doubt more studies and research will be performed now that cannabis is legal in many states in the USA.
Do honeybees in your part of the world like cannabis more than they do in the USA? Please share any serious information you have on our Facebook page!
Do bees pollinate cannabis? If so, do they get high from the nectar? What is marijuana honey? There is a lot of misleading information on the internet about honeybees and cannabis. Videos showing bees flocking to cannabis plants are untrue on some level, as you will realize after you read this blog post. The plants may
The Curious Case Of Bees And Cannabis
When it comes to marijuana, most growers consider bugs as hostile threats and do all they can to exterminate any invaders. Bees are the exception to the rule of weed warfare. In fact, beekeepers and cannabis cultivators have more than a few things in common.
WEED AND BEES: TWO VERY STICKY BUSINESSES
Why is all the fun stuff sticky? Honey and weed are both natural products that taste great and boast many beneficial properties. But perhaps the most valuable trait they have in common is the global demand for these commodities. That’s not the shocking part. While cannabis remains an illegal Schedule 1 controlled substance, it’s hardly surprising that there’s still a pretty big black market.
The shocking truth is, a black market honey baron sits so high up on the pyramid of power, they’re above the law. That’s right, the black market honey business is the real business of the “Mr Sosa’s” of this world (Tony Montana’s Supplier, the guy who sent the South American death squad to take him out).
CAN BEES GET HIGH ON CANNABIS?
Insects, unlike humans and other mammals, don’t have an ECS or endocannabinoid system. This means they have no cannabinoid receptors. So it’s a definitive no; bees can’t get high from cannabis because they can’t access the THC. In nature, wild honey bees are drawn to colourful, nectar-producing plants. Sticky green weed trees are not a first choice destination. Also, worker bees are effectively 24/7 slaves to the Queen and have little time for recreational drug use.
CAN BEES FEED ON CANNABIS PLANTS?
It looks like yes, bees can feed on cannabis. Nick French and his company Colorado Hemp Honey have made some fascinating discoveries. Bees also might be able to convert some of the resin into propolis. This is kind of like a two-in-one poly-filler and steriliser that bees use to repair and clean the hive. There are theories that the bees are somehow processing the trichomes into honey, but so far we’ve seen nothing that will stick.
What seems more likely is that apiarists can train a colony of bees to forage from a ganja field if they have nothing else, rewarding them with a treat like sugar water afterwards. It’s a great YouTube video, but doesn’t prove anything. So let’s stick with the facts. We know cannabis is not a nectar-producing plant. If the cannabis oils offer any sustenance to the bees, they will only go for it as a last resort or if rewarded for doing so. Furthermore, cannabis is a wind-pollinated plant, so bees play no role in pollination either.
THE GOLDEN STATE
At this point, you might be a little puzzled by how bees and cannabis could be so closely connected when it appears in nature they are not exactly drawn to each other. The glue that holds this unlikely partnership together is us, humans. California creates the most crystal clear picture of this coalition every summer.
The vast 1 million+ acre almond orchards of the Golden State need millions of bees to be trucked into the state by beekeepers from all over the US to pollinate the trees. If you thought the West Coast farmland only had a worldwide reputation as weed country, you were wrong. Outdoor Cannabis cultivation is concentrated in the Emerald Triangle and a few pockets further south, but almond trees are everywhere.
So to thread this connection together succinctly, the economy of California would crash without bees and cannabis. The Golden State wouldn’t glitter without either one. We can also follow this logic to formulate an alternative trends forecast. Perhaps the seasonal spike in economic activity and employment has more to do with the numbers of bees and cannabis plants in the state than anything else. Seriously, we might have scooped Gerald Celente and the Trends Research Institute on this one.
The bees might not be able to make psychoactive honey, but we can certainly infuse it with cannabinoids later. It need not be get-you-high-honey, as you could always add CBD and create a non-psychoactive healthy honey. With a little experimentation, you can blend custom cannabis-infused honey in your own kitchen. It’s best to prepare a cannabis tincture first and then add this to the honey. Mixing raw reefer with honey is just a sticky mess.
Bees and cannabis have a very strange relationship. In this blog, we take a closer look at what keeps bees and cannabis stuck together.