My Facebook page has been abuzz with news about Canna-Bees or Cannabeez as some familiarly call bees that have been feeding on Cannabis plants.
Are these bees flying around happy and buzzed, bringing back THC and CBD to the hive to create Happy Honey?
Sorry to disappoint – but no.
Bees lack an endocannabinoid system, and are not attracted to the colour, taste or smell of Cannabis. (https://cannabis.net/blog/opinion/the-guide-to-bees-cannabis-hemp-cbd-and-cannahoney) As well, female Cannabis plants do not produce flowers containing nectar. There is no reason for the plant to produce nectar to attract pollinators since it is pollinated through wind.
From Bee Culture, the magazine of American Beekeeping, beekeeper Sharon Schmidt confirms this and adds that bees prefer sweetness and the trichomes they visit, are bitter. She points out that even if honey did have some alkaloids, the honey would not be psychoactive since the Cannabinoids need to be heated (decarboxylated) to have psychoactive properties.
Should I or shouldn't I?
Even knowing this, I love the idea of bees benefiting from Cannabis, and I have personally seen them in my garden with my Cannabis plants. If only I had taken a photo instead of watching them in early September.
I was interested to read a recent study published in Oxford’s journal of Environmental Entomology. The study, conducted by Cornell University, concluded that Cannabis plants provide nutrition during times of scarcity. Researchers also found that vast farmlands filled with hemp may provide valuable habitat for bees.
The study corroborated research done by Colorado State University. The 2018 study found 23 unique species of bees in northern Colorado’s Cannabis sativa hemp fields during late summer when flowers are in short supply. In other words, when bees are desperate for food, they will forage for pollen among the male hemp plants. (https://eufloracolorado.com/bees-and-cannabis-whats-the-buzz/)
I love the idea of Canna-honey made from bees as was mentioned in Science Explorer in 2016. It told the story of French beekeeper, Nicolas Trainer, who trained some of his bees to collect resin from Cannabis. According to the story, the bees used the Cannabis resin in the beehives and made what he calls “cannahoney”.
An Israel company, PhytoPharma, also is making similar claims. According to an article by Sarah Brittany Somerset in Forbes, bees are fed a low amount of Cannabidiol (CBD) and then produce honey, which has its health benefits.
However, the best way to get Cannabis honey is to make it yourself and ensure you know exactly what kind of honey and the Cannabis ratio you are using. For recipes, check out pages 54-55 in Healing Cannabis Edibles, available at embracingcannabis.com.