France – A French beekeeper using the moniker Nicolas Trainerbees claims to have trained a hive of honeybees he calls “canna-bees” to produce honey from marijuana.
After several years of attempting to combine his love of beekeeping and weed, he eventually got his army of bees to feast upon his flowering cannabis plants – although he refuses to expose the secret of how he does this – to create what he calls “cannahoney.”
Recently, the bees have become a viral social media sensation after Trainerbees posted a video revealing his bees feasting on plump marijuana flowers. A ‘NowThis’ video featuring the ‘canna-bees’ has been viewed on Facebook almost 22 million times.
The 39-year-old Frenchman describes himself as an advocate of medical cannabis and legalization and says that the marriage between honey and weed came as a result of his realization that combining the health benefits of both natural medicines would create a potent therapeutic combination.
“I have trained bees to do several things, such as collect sugar from fruits, instead of using flowers… The aim arose for me to get the bees to obtain this resin,” the beekeeper said.
The resin obtained from willows, poplars, and other trees is turned into propolis, which is an antiseptic, antibiotic, antifungal, antibacterial and also has healing properties.
“So if the bee took the resin from cannabis it would also be very beneficial. The aim arose for me to get the bees to obtain this resin,” Trainerbees said.
Trainerbees notes that he has not created honey, “but rather a training technique whereby the bees collect the resin and use it in the beehive.” He now operates 30 beehives, which he uses to create his cannabis honey. The beekeeper notes that the bees are unaffected by the plant.
“The bees that produce the cannahoney are not affected by cannabinoids because they do not have an endocannabinoid system,” he explained in an interview with Dinafem.
While there have been detractors that have challenged the legitimacy of Trainerbees claims, experts have weighed in on the subject claiming that the bees could indeed create an “intoxicating” honey.
“Bees suck up nectar, not pollen,” one person wrote on Facebook. “They suck up nectar because of its high sugar content. Resin glands on mature female cannabis plants have no sugar and cannot be sucked up or digested by bees.”
But Darryl Cox, information officer at Bumblebee Conservation Trust said:
“Bees could collect cannabis pollen, which would potentially be intoxicating. You do find pollen in honey. Having seen the video – the bees are foraging for nectar which contains lots of secondary metabolites, not just sugar, and could potentially be intoxicating.”
Cox said marijuana plants use pollen to reproduce in a manner similar to a plant such as nettles, but that this pollen is typically removed from commercial honey.
Trainerbees claims the bees harvest the cannabis resin and bring it back to the hive, where it is then processed as if it were standard nectar, but with “medicinal” effects.
Although some have doubted the veracity of Trainerbees’ claims, the ability of bees to detect specific compounds has been widely noted, and has even drawn the interest of the U.S. military.
“There was a lot of interest from the US military and talk of placing bee hives at airports,” said Tim Lovett, director of public affairs at the British Beekeepers Association, who told the Mirror it was possible to train bees to look for certain compounds.
Lovett relayed an experience where he visited a science lab where bees had been trained to stick their tongues out if they detected explosives.
“It was deadly serious,” he told Mirror.
The act of training a bee involves putting chemicals in sugar syrup, so the insects get a taste for them.
“I can believe that if, for instance, cannabis extract is put in syrup and fed to bees, they might just be fooled into going looking for it,” he continued.
He said spreading the resulting honey on toast could lead to “a pleasant experience.”