The relationship between bees and cannabis is making a buzz in both the scientific and entrepreneurial worlds.
Scientists have warned of the apocalyptic effects of a dwindling bee population for years as bees are responsible for up to 70% of all food crops.
Colony collapse disorder (CCD), which affects thousands of beehives across the globe, results in compelling economic losses and is a serious threat to our ecosystem.
CCD has been attributed to human activity such as the use of toxic pesticides and deforestation which have led to the rapid decline in bee populations.
A study, led by researchers at Cornell University and published in Environmental Entomology, discovered that bees are HIGHly attracted to hemp plants. The findings also agree with a Colorado study that discovered the same thing.
The study found that the greater an area covered by hemp, the greater the number of bees were attracted to the area. In addition, hemp plants that were taller increased the likelihood of bees visiting the plots. The most tall plants brought in 17 times more bees than shorter plants. And as this study went on, more bees increasingly visited the hemp plots, indicating the bees were letting their hives know where the goods were.
The good news for cannabis loving bees
Hemp plants do not produce nectar but they do produce a wealth of pollen, making it a precious pollen source for for aging bees. The cannabis industry can provide the endangered specifies with a much needed source of pollen.
“Industrial hemp offers a unique floral resource to bees in agricultural landscapes. Hemp flowers late in the summer releasing an abundance of pollen during a period of native and agricultural floral dearth. As a result, hemp pollen may offer a vital subsistence resource to bees at a point in the season when they are resource-limited, thereby helping to alleviate the pressures imposed by spatial and temporal variation in resource availability that is characteristic of simplified agricultural landscapes.”
The research done was as concerned about the creation of cannabis honey as much as how the dominance of cannabis influences the bees. It turns out that besides being attractive to a diversity of bees, cannabis blossoms in the late summer when the majority of other plants are done and bees are on the hunt for pollen. By extending their season, cannabis is helping to strengthen the bee population.
So, what about the cannabis honey?
Right. The good news for the cannabis industry is that bees are giving it a new product. The majority of products labeled as cannabis honey are actually created by the infusion of CBD or THC. Some beekeepers claim the honey from bees trained in pollinating cannabis flowers contains cannabinoids although, it’s difficult to differentiate between benefits that might come from the bees and the natural benefits of honey.
So, do bees really get a buzz from cannabis? Unfortunately, no. Bees do not have cannabinoid receptors and only pass them on to their honey. They buzz the buds merely for the fun and the exercise, and honestly that’s just another great reason to love bees.