Can Bees Make Honey That Gets You High?

Can bees make honey that gets you high?

Bees + herb = psychoactive honey?

A beekeeper on Instagram and a honey store suggest they have bees that harvest TH🌊 from herb flowers and make honey with psychoactive properties.

Is this possible? Can bees make honey that gets you high? 

We’d love it if it was true because both honey and hemp are super-foods with therapeutic potential on their own. But it seems like if it were possible to make, it would already be on the shelves in every dispensary and shop.

So, it’s impossible then, right?

Not so fast. Before we rule it out, let’s take a closer look at bees to see if there is a way they could make honey that gives you a buzz.

Woman Dipping Stick into Herb Infused Honey

Why would bees visit a hemp plant?

Bees don’t naturally visit all flowers. There are a few major reasons why they wouldn’t visit hemp plants and their psychoactive relatives: lack of nectar, no intoxication incentive, and unattractive flowers.

First of all, bees ignore wind-pollinated flowers like hemp because their primary motivation to visit flowers is to harvest nectar and wind pollinators don’t create nectar.

They also wouldn’t visit the plants in order to get high. Bees lack the TH🌊 receptors necessary to get high, so they don’t have the same reasons as humans to eat hemp products.

Finally, because they are wind-pollinators, hemp plants lack the bright colors and patterns that other plants might have to attract bees.

Since nectar is the most essential ingredient in making honey, the fact that there is no nectar on hemp plants is a major barrier to bees making psychoactive honey. However, there may be some other reasons bees may end up visiting hemp plants and collecting psychoactive ingredients. They may be attracted by pollen, hidden sugar sources, resin, or by human-led training.

Eating pollen

Hemp-related plants are dioecious, meaning each individual plant either has all male flowers or all female flowers. Pollen is only found on male hemp plants.

Bees might visit male plants to get protein-rich pollen to eat, but because bees are not attracted to the plants for other reasons, it’s likely they’ll first get pollen elsewhere. Even if they did visit a male plant, they would not be able to collect the psychoactive chemicals which are found only in female plants. All-in-all, pollen is an unlikely catalyst for creating psychoactive honey.

Hidden sugar?

There may be extra floral nectaries or locations where sugar water is available to pollinators outside the flower. On hemp plants there might be nectaries near the calyx which is also home to the highest concentration of psychoactive resin. It is debatable if these extra floral nectaries even exist though because there’s only one source making the claim – John Free (1970) in his book, Insect Pollination of Crops.

Honeydew  is a sugary byproduct of bugs feasting on a plant that offers another potential unconventional source of sugar. Bees are attracted to this sugar source, but since it isn’t permanently available like nectar, bee visits would be incidental.  

Even if these sources of sugar exist, they’re not going to produce enough to be the sole source for bees. A single colony of bees typically requires more than 700 lbs of nectar a year to survive.[1] Even if the bees are getting sugar from herb plants and turning it into honey, it’s likely going to also include the nectar of other flowers or an additional source of sugar water.

Go to the psychoactive source: resin

To create psychoactive honey, bees are going to have to somehow collect TH🌊. This might happen because there’s TH🌊 precursors in the resin of hemp-related plants and bees harvest resin to make propolis.

Propolis is a sticky glue-like substance with antimicrobial properties that bees use to seal off their hive, insulate from the cold, and provide protection from bacteria. Propolis is composed of 50% resin, so when taken from the right strain of plant, it could contain a high percentage of TH🌊 precursors.[2] 

On hemp plants, TH🌊 precursors come from the resin glands. They produce the trichomes that are used to make products like kief.

However, even if a bee gets resin from the right plant, that doesn’t translate into psychoactive honey because the bees use the resin to make propolis, not honey. Though it is used in construction of the hive, propolis does not usually come into contact with honey. Instead of touching propolis, honey is typically sealed in wax so there is little chance that any TH🌊 would get into the honey through this route. 

Training bees

Finally, it’s possible bees could be trained to visit a hemp plant if they are rewarded with sugar water and/or coaxed with pheromones. This process is labor intensive; it took years for experienced beekeepers to train bees to harvest from hemp plants.

Bees Pollinating Flowers

Does bee-made herbal honey get me high?

It’s unlikely that bee-made honey can get you high. Even if there were significant amounts of psychoactive precursors in cannahoney, it still wouldn’t get you high because precursors on their own don’t get you high.

You would still need to decarboxylate the honey by exposing it to heat in order to activate or change those precursors into their psychoactive form. Even if you decarboxylate liquid honey, the process won’t be as effective as it would be on plant flowers and buds. Decarbing infusions only reaches a maximum efficiency of 25%.

It’s no surprise then that people selling bee-made cannahoney often make no guarantees of psychoactive herbal content. In fact, some advertise that their products don’t have psychoactive properties. Of the honeys that claim to have effects, it’s likely that they are actually infused with flowers and buds to increase the psychoactive effects, making it technically human-made cannahoney.

Make your own herb-infused honey

So if it’s hard to produce and unlikely to get you high, bee-made herb honey is not worth the hassle of training bees and inefficiently decarbing.

When you can easily infuse their own herb into honey and get stronger and quicker results. In an hour you can make a finished product that is more potent and will reduce how much you’ll degrade honey’s benefits. (Decarbing typically happens at temperatures above 200° F. Heating honey to that point will degrade its desirable enzymes and proteins.)

Since you are controlling how much herb you put in, you can make it as strong as you like. Since you can decarb the herb separately in advance, the infused honey will immediately be psychoactive.

Making your own infusion opens you up to more options for what strain of herb and what type of honey you’d like to use. You can also choose and infuse a C🐝D strain to get more bodily benefits. Infuse a strain like Banana Kush or Blueberry to unlock fruit-forward notes. For honey, you can customize by choosing between any number of local, raw, flavorful culinary options, or the healing properties of manuka honey.  

To see just how easy it is to get started making your own infused honey, check out our Magical Honey Recipe 1.

Does human-made herbal honey get you high?

Yes, it will get you high and is going to be much more powerful than bee-made cannahoney, but it’s not quite as potent as an infusion in oil and alcohol. Honey is 17% water typically and TH🌊 is not water soluble. 

If your goal is to get high, you may be better off infusing your bud in an oil first, then then mix the oil into the honey.

For a more potent recipe that follows this process, check out our Magical Honey Recipe 2.

Bee smart 

We’d love to get our hands on psychoactive bee-made cannahoney. Until then, we’re happy with the strength, flavor, and benefits of human-made herbal honey.

We’re in awe of the usefulness of natural products like herbs and honey, but sometimes it takes a human-made tool like the Magical Butter machine to extract their full potential.