Bee populations could benefit immensely from a revitalized hemp industry, according to a recent study published in Environmental Entomology titled “The Bee Community of Cannabis sativa and Corresponding Effects of Landscape Composition.”
Hemp and cannabis plants do not produce nectar, but their pollen can keep bee populations happy and well-fed. Specifically, the study found that bees not only love the pollen from cannabis and hemp plants — they also can benefit from the plants’ abundance of pollen as a subsistence resource during times when local flora diversity has been stripped due to modern farming practices or a natural occurrence, such as drought. Bees are especially drawn to larger crop plots and taller plants, meaning industrial hemp carries the most benefits as an industry for the bees.
Additionally, because hemp plants are especially resilient to pests and disease, their crops are more frequently organic and devoid of chemicals and pesticides that pose other dangers for bee populations.
Researchers observed hemp plots of varying sizes in New York and noted that 16 different species of bees frequented the crops.
It is important to note that bees do not experience any of the psychoactive effects from cannabinoids, as insects are the only known creatures on the planet that do not have an endocannabinoid system. Meanwhile, despite their apparent love for cannabis, bees do not naturally produce cannabinoid-infused honey — some entrepreneurs, however, have taken that next step for them.