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Bees’ Love of Hemp Might Just Save Them

Posted: March 10, 2020 in Bees Love Hemp

Bees’ affinity for hemp just might be the solution for restoring decimated bee populations. Yet again, cannabis sativa might save the day. Such an amazing plant. In this article I will explain how bees are attracted by hemp plants and will cite the first of two different studies which substantiate this claim. I will also introduce you to PhytoPharma International, an Israeli technology company that created CannaBeeZ, a cannabis-derived honey made entirely by bees.

The Importance of Bee Populations as Pollinators

Bees are responsible for pollinating 90% of all flowering plants, which includes most of the fruits, vegetables and nuts that we eat. Due to the increasing use of pesticides, bee populations have been declining at a disturbing rate for many years. In the US, about 2.5% of the more than 4,000 different bee species are at risk for extinction.

Colorado Study

The first study to substantiate the hypothesis that bees are attracted to hemp was conducted in February, 2019 at the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. Authored by C. O’Brien and H.S. Arathi, Bee Diversity and Abundance on Flowers of Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.), appeared in Biomass and Bioenergy, Volume 122, March 2019.

Study Highlights

1. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp production has exploded in the US. The production of pollen by hemp plants may provide substantial ecological benefits.
2. Bee populations, which account for 90% of crop pollination, have been decreasing at an alarming rate over the past several decades. This makes the development of agricultural practices that can increase and sustain bee populations more important than ever.
3. Industrial hemp may play a crucial role as a nutritional choice for bees, especially during the later part of the production season.
4. Researchers were able to identify 20 different subspecies of bees they found on hemp plants, indicating that bees are attracted to the plants.
5. Pest management on hemp plants will soon become necessary in order to sustain the growth of bee populations.

Study Abstract

1. Hemp plants which are wind pollinated, dioecious and staminate, provide large amounts of pollen that attract bees
2. This study was conducted in northern Colorado where hemp flowering occurs from the end of July to the end of September
3. During this time period in this region, there is a scarcity of pollinator-friendly crops. This makes hemp flowers a very important source of nutrients for bees
4. 23 different groups of bees were collected:
Apis Mellifera, a European honeybee, was the most prolific at 38%
Melissodes Bimaculata 25%
Peponapis Pruinoisa 16%
5. While most flowering plants produce nectar, hemp plants do not. They produce pollen which is a nutritional source for bee populations.
6. Integrated pest management plans for hemp plants will be key in order to protect the bees from pests.

The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which finally made the production of industrial hemp federally legal across the entire US, accounts for the enormous increase in the number of acres devoted to hemp plants. With the explosion of the CBD market, predictions suggest that the increase in hemp production will continue for years to come.

Colorado Has Been Growing Hemp Since 2014

Thanks to the efforts of then-House Dem, now Colorado governor, Jared Polis, an amendment to the 2014 Farm Bill was passed, allowing Colorado to participate in the hemp pilot program. Five years later, Colorado now leads the nation in hemp production with over 21,000 acres devoted to hemp which includes 828 cultivation licenses.

PhytoPharma International’s CannaBeeZ Honey

An Israeli technology company, PhytoPharma International, has developed CannaBeeZ, a cannabis-derived, non-psychoactive honey made entirely by bees. It was invented by Ilan Ben Simon who suffered with incapacitating arthritis for which medical cannabis provided much relief. His extensive cannabis research, along with information collected by Professor Dedi Meiri, head of the Cancer and Cannabinoid Research Lab at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, gave him the idea for cannabis honey. After years of research, his team  produced CannaBeeZ. He co-founded PhytoPharma in 2015 with Avner Ben Aharon who is the CEO.

The Process of Making Cannabis-Derived Honey

Since bees do not have an endocannabinoid system, they are not affected by the psychoactivity of cannabis. Colonies of bees are fed full spectrum cannabinoids and they act as a conduit through which the cannabinoids are passed on into their honey. Essentially, the bees are the extraction process.

If you are thinking about “borrowing” this idea, PhytoPharma has IP (Intellectual Property) protected the entire process from start to finish.

Even though the honey contains a very small amount of cannabinoids, it is incredibly bioavailable and is an extremely effective medicine. Not only does it dramatically reduce pain levels, but it takes only 5-10 minutes for the effects to be felt.

PhytoPharma conducted their own study in which they compared the effectiveness of CannaBeeZ honey to that of the recommended protocol of medical cannabis. Their test results indicated that fibromyalgia patients got more pain relief with the honey. Those with PTSD-induced insomnia had a better quality of sleep after ingesting the honey.

Hemp truly is a remarkable plant. Here is a link to an article I wrote about the many uses of hemp. This recent discovery that tall hemp plants may be the remedy for saving the bee populations is the most important use of all.

Sources:
cannabistech.com, What Happens When Scientists Feed Cannabinoids to Bees, Zoe Biehl, Jan. 14, 2020
sciencedirect.com, Bee Diversity and Abundance on Flowers of Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.), published March 2019
boulderweekly.com, Tall Hemp Attract More Bees, Seymour, Jan. 2, 2020
topic420.com, Edible Cannabis Honey Triggers A Buzz, Oct. 13, 2019
phytopharmaint.com
forbes.com, Artisanal Edible Cannabis Honey Causes A Buzz, Sara Brittany Somerset, Nov. 19, 2018

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