It turns out humans are not the only ones that love cannabis. More importantly, we’re not the only ones that can greatly benefit from it. A study by researchers from Cornell University states that tall hemp plants are preferred by bee flocks and can greatly help with their population problems (1).
This is not the only study in this area either, as a previous study by the Colorado State University also reached similar conclusions (2).
According to both studies, bees are not only highly attracted to cannabis but the plant is also good for them because of its plentiful stores of pollen. This is great news as it supports the struggling population problems of most beehives.
The scientists also experimented with a great number of different bee subspecies and reached the conclusion that hemp is both loved by and beneficial for a total of 16 different bee varieties common in the northeastern continental U.S.
Another interesting tidbit is that the bees are largely uninterested by the “female” hemp flowers which are the ones humans love to smoke. Instead, bees are flocking to the male hemp flowers and their large pollen production capabilities.
The scientists also wrote:
“The rapid expansion of hemp production in the United States… may have significant implications for agroecosystem-wide pollination dynamics.
As a late-season crop flowering during a period of seasonal floral dearth, hemp may have a particularly strong potential to enhance pollinator populations and subsequent pollination services for crops in the following year by filling gaps in late-season resource scarcity.”
This is great news not only from an agricultural and ecological point of view but economically as well. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, pollinators are worth between $235 and $577 billion worldwide. In the U.S., in particular, bees are worth as much as $20 billion in domestic crop production.
For those worried (or hoping) that consuming cannabis pollens will enrich the bees’ honey with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – that’s not the case. According to the studies, the presence of cannabinoids or THC in hemp pollen is “not likely to have an impact on bee development due to the loss of cannabinoid receptors in insects.”
It remains to be seen whether this research will be put into good use but it definitely sounds promising.