We can finally celebrate as we have amazing news regarding cannabis and bees.
There is a recent study that was done at Cornell University and was published in "Environmental Entomology, "which showed that bees loved hemp. There was also another study published in the previous year at Colorado State University that discovered the same thing, so these findings are most definitely reinforcing each other! Thanks to this study, we now know that bees are highly attracted to cannabis. So what is the science behind it? The reason can be found in the cannabis plant's plentiful stores of pollen. Now scientists believe that this could lend them help in finding new ways to support their struggling population as well as floral populations.
This study also shows that the bigger the hemp plant-covered area, the higher the chance that bees will swarm to it. There is a significantly higher chance for bees to swarm around taller hemp plants - almost 17 times more than around shorter plants. There has also been a weird phenomenon with bees that have been visiting hemp plants. Similar to the word-of-mouth effects among humans, as time went by, researchers have seen that more bees would come to those same hemp plants.
But, researchers say they still can't clearly tell why cannabis attracts the bees so much! All of the 16 bee subspecies in the study, to be more precise. As we already know, cannabis doesn't produce the sweet, sugary nectar that typical floral varieties produce to attract insects. Also, female flowers, favorite among humans for their intoxicating and soothing effects, don't create any flowers, so they end up completely ignored by the bees.
"The rapid expansion of hemp production in the United States may have significant implications for agroecosystem-wide pollination dynamics." - the authors wrote. "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."
The importance of bees and the severe consequences of bee extinction is no news at this point. They play the most crucial role in global pollination, which happens when they are spreading the male sex cells of flowers to their female counterparts in a natural process that is highly crucial to plant reproduction. This only proves the importance of this study.
The authors of the study also made clear that the combination of bees plus hemp does not mean that it will result in cannabinoid-rich pollen sneaking it into people's diets. It also does not mean that the bees will ever start producing honey enriched with THC. Likewise, the presence of cannabinoids like THC in hemp pollen is "not likely to have an impact on bee development due to the loss of cannabinoid receptors in insects."