Habitat loss, climate change and disease have put some bees under the threat of extinction. Recent research has revealed the incredible role bees and cannabis can play in one another’s and humanity’s survival.
A recent study from Colorado State University showed that expanse of industrial hemp production in the US could provide significant benefit to the bee population.
The high quantities of pollen hemp plants produce can be incredibly attractive to bees, particularly during the late summer to early autumn period when they aren’t many other types of flower available.
It was over this period that the team recorded 23 types of bees foraging among hemp plants in the northern Colorado region. European honeybees and two other types accounted for 80 percent of the overall abundance.
The challenge now is to develop pest management methods that do not harm the precious pollinators.
The researchers concluded:
“Industrial hemp can play an important role in providing sustained nutritional options for bees during the cropping season.”
In 2015, a curious video posted by a ‘Nicolas Trainerbees’ began to generate a lot of social media buzz.
In the short clip, a swarm of bees appeared to be feasting on cannabis flowers.
It turned out that the video was not a hoax, much to the embarrassment of the army of pitchfork-wielding bedroom beekeepers who had expressed their disbelief in the comments section.
The man behind the video was long-time amateur entomologist and medical cannabis advocate, Nicolas Trainer, who said:
“For some time, I had known about the health benefits of bee products such as honey, propolis, pollen, wax and royal jelly and also about the benefits of cannabis”.
Nicolas spent two years training bees to collect resin to use in their beehives. The resin is filtered through the bees and produces cannahoney. The process does not affect the insects as they have no endocannabinoid system.
While Nicolas doesn’t make money from his honey, one company is set to cash in on his concept.
Israeli company PhytoPharma has created a range of products that have the sweet flavour of honey and all the benefits of cannabis.
The bees feast on an IP-protected diet that includes cannabinoids. The nutrients pass through the bees and into the CBD and THC honeys.
PhytoPharma CEO Avner Ben Aharon, told Forbes:
“We combined the healing powers of cannabis with the amazing delivery capability of honey. We aim to continue to apply our unique brand of ‘nature-tech’ to cannabis medicine, food, and beverages, veterinary and cosmetic products.”
As well as being a tasty alternative to more traditional consumption methods, the effects kick in within just five to ten minutes. This is ideal for people wanting quick relief for symptoms that come and go throughout the day.
The honey is also highly bioavailable and active in cannabinoid concentrations 100 times lower than other formulations.
Ben Aharon said:
“There may be two optional mechanisms that can explain the honey’s high-efficacy. The honey serves as a high-efficient vector to cross the Blood-Brain Barrier.
“While producing the honey, cannabinoids are transformed in the bees’ stomachs into superiorly efficient molecules.”
The company plans to work with the pharmaceutical industry to create products for specific medical conditions.
“In the future, if companies will prove that specific cannabis strains can cure or treat specific illnesses, then we can make honey from those specific strains, specifically to treat the correlating illness.”
It appears to be good for the bees too. The company claims that the bees’ superior diet has contributed to a thriving population.
So what next for this unlikely pairing?
Hopefully, rising cannabis production, advances in technology and increasing environmental awareness will have lasting and positive repercussions for bees, cannabis and humans alike.