by Elias Marat
great news for the environment!
Bees Love Cannabis...
Bees are major fans of
hemp and a recent study has found that the taller the hemp plants
are the larger the number of bees that will flock to it.
The new research (The
Bee Community of Cannabis sativa and Corresponding Effects of
Landscape Composition), spearheaded by researchers at
Cornell University and published last month in Environmental
Entomology, shows that humans aren't the only fans of weed.
The findings also
reinforce a study (Bee
diversity and abundance on flowers of industrial hemp - Cannabis
sativa L.) published last year at Colorado State University
that discovered the same thing.
The study shows how bees are highly attracted to cannabis due to the
plant's plentiful stores of pollen, and it could pave the way for
scientists to figure out new ways to support their struggling
population as well as floral populations.
According to the study, the greater the area covered by the hemp
plant the greater the chance that bees will swarm to the area.
Additionally, those hemp
plants that are taller have a much greater likelihood of attracting
bees with the tallest plants attracting a stunning 17 times more
bees than the shortest plants.
The study also found that as time went on greater amounts of bees
visited the hemp plots on a more frequent basis.
It sounds almost like the
word-of-mouth effect among humans who hear about great deals at a
The researchers also discovered that hemp, a major cash crop with
multiple applications, can support no less than 16 different
varieties of bees in the northeastern United States.
The findings may seem strange considering that cannabis doesn't
produce the sweet, sugary nectar that your typical floral varieties
produce to attract insects.
Nor does hemp flower come in the
dazzling array of bright colors that likewise attract bugs.
However, the pollen
produced by male flowers is highly attractive to the 16 bee
subspecies in the study for reasons that remain unknown.
Female flowers - the kind that humans like to smoke for its
intoxicating and soothing effects - are basically ignored by bees
since they don't produce any actual flowers.
The study's author's wrote:
"The rapid expansion
of hemp production in the United States… may have significant
implications for agro-ecosystem-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."
What makes the findings
so compelling is the crucial impact it could have on suffering bee
populations across the United States.
Bee are perhaps one of the most important managed pollinators in
Spreading the male sex cells of flowers to their
female counterparts in a natural process that is highly crucial to
According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization
are worth anywhere
from $235 and $577 billion worldwide owing to
their pivotal role in the production of global crops.
In the U.S.
alone this means that bees are
responsible for $20 billion of
domestic crop production.
Without bees we can kiss
almonds, blueberries, watermelon, and other crops goodbye.
The authors of the study made clear that the
combination of bees
plus hemp won't mean that folks should worry about cannabinoid-rich
pollen sneaking it into their diets nor will the bees start
producing honey enriched with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - as nice
as that sounds.
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."
So while we often like to
focus on the recreational or medicinal use of marijuana - in its
edible, smokeable, and vape-able forms - this new research shows
that the plant can in fact help nature and agriculture in amazingly