While 37 million bees dropped dead in Canada, near a freshly planted field of GMO corn, about a million lucky bees in France are alive and well, taste testing several varieties of cannabis.
The unlucky bees were victims of a deadly, but legal, neonicotinoid insecticide manufactured by Bayer CropScience – yes that’s the same company that makes your headache medicine. (Isn’t it convenient that nutrient-devoid food leaves us in need of an Aspirin?)
Neonicotinoids were banned in Europe in 2013, after being found to blame for honeybee colony collapse disorder. Not surprisingly they are still totally legal in Canada and the U.S.
Across the Atlantic, though, these happy bees are busy making “cannahoney” – honey produced by bees that use the resin from cannabis flowers in their beehives.
People tried telling the French beekeeper it couldn’t be done – that cannabis flowers could not be used for making honey, and even if they could, they’d be harmful to the bees. But after two years experimentation, he’s proved the plant has zero negative impact on the insects. Bees are not affected by cannabinoids, he explains, because they do not have an endocannabinoid system.
Cannahoney has the same medicinal effects as smoking pot, without having to smoke it, say it’s users.
Cannabis, as other mentioned, is a wind-pollinated plant. As such, it does not offer any incentives to bees to visit it - it is not colorful and it doesn't emit smell that attracts bees, it doesn't provide them with protein-rich pollen that can stick to their pollen baskets, and lastly, it does not provide them with a reward in the form of nectar.
Without all of these, not only the bees won't visit it, they cannot get any nectar, which is the basic ingredient for honey.
While any humans who ate the honey would end up buzzing, the bees are unable to enjoy the effects of the drug, the Frenchman has been quoted as saying.
"The bees that produce the canna-honey are not affected by cannabinoids because they do not have an endocannabinoid system," the beekeeper told a cannabis news site.
Nicolas has worked very hard to teach his bees to make sweet stuff which most working people would NOT want to spread on their toast in the morning.
“I have trained bees to do several things, such as collect sugar from fruits, instead of using flowers," he added.
"The aim arose for me to get the bees to obtain this resin."
To produce the "canna-honey", he claimed the bees harvest the weed resin and then bring it back to the hive, where it's processed as it it were normal nectar.
Nicolas claimed the, ahem, "medicinal" effect of the plant is very much intact in the spreadable sinsemilla.
He has smoked cannabis since he was a teenager to counteract the effects of being "hyperactive".
“Everything that passes through the body of a bee is improved," he told a website called Now This Weed.
Some online commentators have thrown doubt on the canna-beekeeper's claims.
"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."
We asked the Bumblebee Conservation Trust whether the canna-honey claims were true.
Darryl Cox, information officer, 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.
"Honey produced from bees foraging on rhododendrons in the far east is known locally as 'mad honey’ as it is toxic to humans."
He said cannabis plants use pollen to reproduce in a similar way to plants such as a nettle.
This pollen is often removed from commercial forms of honey.
Tim Lovett, director of public affairs at the British Beekeepers Association, told us it was possible to train bees to look for certain compounds.
He has visited a science lab where bees were trained to stick their tongues out if they detected explosives.
"It was deadly serious," he told Mirror.co.uk.
"There was a lot of interest from the US military and talk of placing bee hives at airports."
Training a bee involves putting chemicals in sugar syrup, so the insects get a taste for them.
However, this would take "a lot of effort and dedication" - which are not traits potheads possess in abundance.
"I can believe that if, for instance, cannabis extract is put in syrup and 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".