A plant that remains controversial in many parts of the world could be the secret to saving the bee population. The plant in question is the marijuana plant. It turns out, bees and cannabis go together like, well, bees and honey. (1)
Bees and Cannabis: How The Marijuana Plant May Help The Bee Population
Bees are agriculture’s number one pollinator. Without these black and yellow little buzzers, we wouldn’t have blueberries, almonds, watermelon, and so many more of our favorite crops. Despite this, their populations worldwide are at risk, thanks to climate change and habitat loss. Cornell University researchers, however, have found that bees and cannabis are actually quite the dynamic pair. The plant is known for producing the popular drug cannabis, also known as pot, grass, ganja, and dope might be the secret to saving this important little insect. (1)
Apparently, just as many humans can’t seem to get enough of the marijuana plant, neither can the bees. They are highly attracted to the plant’s pollen. (1)
The Bigger The Plant, The Bigger The Buzz
Bigger isn’t always better, but in this case, it definitely helps. The study found that the taller the marijuana plants are and the more surface area they take up, the more bees they attract. What’s even better is that there are 16 varieties of cannabis that bees love and that could effectively support their populations. (1)
No, Bees Can’t Get High
Before you jump to saying, “of course the bees love cannabis! It makes them high!” it is important to note that the bees don’t get high off of cannabis pollen. Part of this is because the bees are actually more attracted to the male flowers than the female buds that are rolled inside a joint. The male flowers don’t have the important THC component to them, which is the compound responsible for the “high” you experience. So no need to worry about getting high off of your next jar of honey. (1)
A Sustainable Solution
One of the most damaging factors to the bee population is the use of pesticides. Marijuana requires very little, if any, intervention in this regard. The plant also requires much less water than other plants to grow, making them a more environmentally friendly and sustainable crop to produce.
The take-home message that the researchers want people to know? Growers, land managers, and policymakers should consider the value that cannabis has in protecting our bee populations and our planet.
- “The Bee Community of Cannabis sativa and Corresponding Effects of Landscape Composition.” Academic. Nathaniel Ryan Flicker, et al. December 2, 2019.