Last week, we shared a cool video of a bee sitting on a cannabis leaf, and it got me thinking about the interaction between this flora and fauna. Given all the concerns lately about the bee population and problems with introducing foreign plants to bee habitats, it’s a fair question! Cannabis is not native to our lands, and outdoor growing spaces are becoming more popular as the plant is more widely legalized. So – are there any issues surrounding bees and cannabis?
A quick Google search turns up articles about “cannabis honey” and people “training bees to make honey from cannabis”, but the article I chose to read and reference here is from Bee Culture magazine. In the article, the writer – who is a clinical psychologist and nurse – addresses two primary questions:
- Are bees attracted to cannabis plants? and
- Can honey made by bees with access to cannabis plants make you high?
Here’s what she had to say:
Are Bees Attracted to Cannabis Plants?
To boil it down right away, the simple answer here is “no”. Though the writer did make clear that there is a dearth of scientific information on this topic, she cites a number of reasons why it’s unlikely bees spotted around cannabis plants are there to harvest nectar.
a) Cannabis plants don’t produce nectar! The “buds” on the cannabis plant are called flowers, but these flowers do not produce the excretion to which bees are drawn. Male cannabis plants do produce pollen – to pollinate the females – but the bits of information available suggests bees find this interesting only when there is nothing else available.
b) Bees are attracted to the bright colors of flowers, and cannabis plants don’t have this. Likewise, cannabis plants lack the scent to which bees are generally attracted.
c) If bees are spotted flocking to cannabis plants, it’s possible they’re sensing the waters and sugars of “extrafloral nectaries”. They may also be dining on the excretions of other insects that have been crawling about on the cannabis leaves.
How much do you know about
Can Honey Make You High if it’s Made By Bees with Access to Cannabis?
Given the details above, it should be fairly clear that the answer to this question is also “no”. There really isn’t anything on a cannabis plant for the bees to harvest, besides perhaps some resin to use on their hives (not in the honey) or those leftovers they might eat themselves.
That said, according to Merry Jane, there is an apiarist in France who is trying to make cannabis honey by teaching his bees to collect the resin for this purpose. The beekeeper did some of his own research, apparently, to show that cannabis is not harmful to bees, and that cannabis could expand on the existing medical benefits of regular flower honey. We’re willing to give it a try!
PS: Can bees get high?
The writer also mentions an oft-voiced question: are bees privy to the psychoactive effects of cannabis? Apparently not; it turns out insects do not have the neuroreceptors on which cannabis cannabinoids act. Therefore, insects will not get high by eating cannabis. Cool factoid!
Bees aside, if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where outdoor cultivation is permitted, here are three cannabis seed strains perfect for outdoor growing: