Can bees really make cannabis-infused honey?
These fuzzy, little, yellow and black insects play an integral role in pollination, and the honey bee is the only species to make the delicious, sugary substance we all know and love. Bees work hard to get sweet secretions that are harvested from plants and other insects, and then the honey is produced by regurgitation, enzyme activity, and ultimately the evaporation of any remaining water. It's a fascinating process made possible by the bee's honey stomach, where the nectar is stored instead of being digested.
Now that might all sound gross, but the process is imperative to the rest of this story, which begins with one man who trained his bees to turn secretions from cannabis plants into cannahoney.
The man who trained bees
He's not the first to think of the idea, but Nicholas Trainer aka Nicholas Trainerbees, a now 44-year-old resident of France, was the very first to claim to successfully complete this mission, which came as no surprise to those who knew him. The beekeeper, locksmith, artist, and passionate cannabis advocate was always an avid supporter of legalization, but it wasn't until someone asked if he could do it that Nicholas put his bee training skills to work. It took a few years, and eventually, Trainer managed to train his bees to collect resin from cannabis plants. With this method, he had the world's first batch of cannabis-infused honey.
It is important to note that many in the bee community don't believe Nicholas Trainerbee's claims, and the truth is that aside from being a US trademark, it's hard to determine the validity of his results. Still, most agree that adding cannabis to the mix is sure to offer additional benefits that might not otherwise be found in honey while enhancing those one would expect from the substance's natural healing properties. Unfortunately, most disagree with the idea that cannabis honey could contain enough THC to induce a "high" due to the fact that bees don't collect resin, instead opting for nectar. However, there is proof that psychoactive and toxic plants can end up in honey, as we've discovered Mad Honey, which is made from the secretions of rhododendron flowers collected by bees in the high-altitude regions of Nepal.
Is it bad for the bees?
Of course, you're probably wondering whether or not spending all day collecting cannabis resin might intoxicate and impair the bees, but there's no need to worry because the insects are not equipped with endocannabinoid systems that are needed to receive the cannabinoids and trigger its intoxicating effects.
So what do we know for sure about cannahoney?
Honey made by bees after collecting nectar from cannabis plants would likely contain some of the vitamins and nutrients found in the natural oils produced. Some of those bees will instead turn the pollen into propolis, a filler that works for making vital repairs to hives, and it is also antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, and antibiotic, all qualities shared by many components of cannabis plants, so it is safe to assume the power of this kind of honey could likely be a boost in these benefits even if only a little bit.