Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been around for generations as being the most researched mental illness. Psychiatrists in the late 1800s studied trauma victims from a psychological perspective to gain more knowledge of PTSD. Between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we witnessed military combat soldiers returning from war experience symptoms of PTSD. But what exactly […]
The weightloss industry is a multibillion-dollar industry. Countless gyms, diets, retreats, products, and even online programs — there’s no shortage of resources in how to lose weight. Weight loss in western culture is considered the mecca of overall health and wellness. Society has told us for years that losing weight is a good thing. When […]
They’re everywhere: in the supermarket, the local coffee shop, or walking down the street. Everywhere you go, everyone seems to be vaping. From everyday Joes’ to celebrities like Katy Perry and Leonardo DiCaprio, vaping is the new way of smoking. It started as a healthier method of smoking, avoiding nasty chemicals in the paper used to roll […]
As human beings, it is in our nature to care. We care for our friends, family members, pets, anyone, or anything we hold dear. We strive to provide the best care, which often aims more towards children and the elderly. Over the years, children seem to have more options in their developmental growth and overall […]
We are in the age of self-help, the era of improvement and being the best you can be and it can get a little tiring. It’s hard not to sometimes shrug at the suggestion that psychology can help improve our experiences and the way we interact with the world, but we’re here to hopefully change that view.
Psychology has a reach so far that all aspects of our lives have been dissected and studied by men in white lab coats holding clipboards. A surprising amount of research has also been done into how to improve day to day experiences, such as eating, drinking and relaxing to get the most out of them. Of course the experience that I’m going to investigate in this article is cannabis and psychology. Could it be possible that Psychology and the findings from the science could be used to improve the effects of cannabis on the brain and in general?
In this article, I’ll be looking at how we can use our senses (Sound, taste, sight), sociality and context to get the most out of the drug we love, both recreationally and medically. Our brain, and its ability to be influenced by its surroundings, is fascinating and we will be looking at how we can affect it through internal and external changes.
Both psychology and cannabis are hot topics of discussion lately, because both are holistic approaches to ailments that affect millions of people across the globe. It only makes sense at this point that we combine the two for ultimate healing results. Make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal products.
Cannabis and the Brain
Before we look at how to improve the effects of cannabis, we must first discuss how it affects the brain. Cannabis works on the brain and body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is an intricate system of neurons in the brain that seems to control the release of multiple neurotransmitters. It was discovered in the 1990s and seems to be linked to many processes in the brain and body, including appetite, learning and memory and sleep.
Both CBD and THC, two cannabinoids found in Cannabis, activate the ECS and seem to produce the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is linked to reward and pleasure in the brain. This is the neurotransmitter that creates the euphoric high associated with Cannabis. If we can find ways to increase the production of this neurotransmitter Dopamine or find ways to affect the interaction of cannabinoids on the ECS, then perhaps this will have a wholly positive effect on the experience of getting high.
Get the Snacks Out: Food and the ECS
It has long been known that food tastes better after smoking cannabis, in fact studies on rats have shown that cannabinoids increase the senses of smell and taste, but there is also new emergent research suggesting that some foods can actually increase the effect of these same cannabinoids. According to a fascinating list created by NMJ Health, Mangoes, Chocolate and black Tea all have properties that increase the effect of Cannabis for recreational and medical purposes. Mangoes contain natural chemicals that actively help cannabinoids interact with the body’s ECS mentioned above.
By eating Mangoes before inhaling or injecting marijuana products you increase the levels of these chemicals (terpenes) that allow for this interaction. This means that the effects of the cannabis will set in a lot quicker, that they’ll be stronger and that the effects will last longer. With Chocolate, it appears that the cannabinoids in cannabis that produce the euphoric effects are naturally occurring. Studies have even shown that a chemical in chocolate called
Anandamide binds to cannabinoid receptors mimicking and heightening the effect of Cannabis. Not only is this research incredible as it shows that chocolate can increase the overall effects of cannabis, but the practical applications for the use of medical marijuana and dosing cannot be overstated. Black tea and broccoli also seem to improve the experience of Cannabis. Black tea by producing longer and more sustained feelings of peace and relaxation. It is clear to see from this rather eclectic set of foods and the research behind them that we can change the effects of Cannabis through changing what we eat.
Set the Mood: Music and Dopamine
Another avenue for increasing the experience that cannabis can offer through psychology and psychological research is to look at the effect sound and music has on a high. Music has long been associated with feelings of pleasure and relaxation, but recent research has shown that listening to music that gives you chills actually produces the neurotransmitter dopamine (a neurotransmitter linked to cannabis and the ECS. It seems then that listening to music you enjoy and instrumental music (the study found) leads to an increased amount of dopamine. This combined with the high levels of dopamine released when using cannabis can only result in a more pleasurable experience, again highlighting another way that psychology and the environment around you can influence your experience of cannabis.
Watch Those Lights: Sight, Colour, Taste and Experience
This next paragraph may come as the most surprising to readers. Vision may be one of the most powerful senses when it comes to changing our experiences of the world. Being in a room with a certain colour scheme or using particular lights can influence our mental states and how we feel. To create a more calm and relaxed experience while using cannabis, a recent study has shown that blue lighting is best. The same study also showed that red light and yellow light increases heart rate, so perhaps should be avoided unless you want to induce a potential panic attack.
There are ways that we can use our vision to influence our experiences of things like taste and smell too. Studies by Charles Spence, an Oxford researcher have shown that the colour of crockery used when eating actually changes the subjective experience of flavour. Red dishes increased perceptions of sweetness in some popcorn and blue seemed to increase perceptions of saltiness. What this means is that a particular coloured skin or vape could actually alter the taste of the cannabis inhaled. If you prefer a sweeter experience, perhaps using a red vape might do this for you. Again, this research highlights how we can use psychology to generally increase our cannabis experience.
Changing up Your Environment
One of the biggest factors that can reduce the enjoyment of cannabis is tolerance. A tolerance to a certain chemical just means that it takes more to achieve the same effect. From a neuro-chemical point of view, it just takes a greater amount of cannabinoids to activate the ECS. Tolerance arises due to frequent use of the drug. Can psychology be used to help us with tolerance? An incredible study actually seems to suggest it can, and the way one can overcome a tolerance seems to be through altering context.
Context just means the environments around you. It has long been studied in psychology as animals and humans seem to have powerful associations between context and memory. If you revise in a certain context (classroom) your results in a test done in that same context will be higher than if you alter it. Here’s where tolerance comes in: If you smoke cannabis in the same environment, your body associates that context with cannabis and will actually build up a tolerance that is context specific. In a fascinating review by Siegel et al the preparation and expectation of taking a drug can lead to the body preparing itself and therefore reducing the effects. When dogs were conditioned into taking adrenaline in a specific context, just placing the dog in that room was enough for their bodies to prepare to counter the high blood pressure, even without injecting anything.
The core study by Siegel was conducted on heroin users and it was found that the opposite is true as well. If a user of heroin takes the drug in a context they are not used to they are more likely to require medical treatment as it seems their tolerance is not there. The body was not prepared because it was not in the context associated with the drug. The very same principle of association and context can be applied to cannabis use. If you use the drug in the same context over and over again, the tolerance will be associated with that specific location, so to increase the effect, change up where you light up.
Being Around Others: Socialising and Dopamine
A final way that cannabis can be improved is through being around others. It seems obvious to say, but being around others is good for the brain. It increases feelings of happiness and can relax us as well if we are around people we love, but it may be surprising to learn that socialising also increases dopamine levels, giving us a little high. This increase in dopamine is theorised to be a reward for being around others and evolutionary psychologists have argued that socialising and bonding with others is heavily linked to the reward areas of our brain and dopamine production. So perhaps combining socialising and cannabis will create a huge boost of dopamine and increase the euphoria of cannabis experiences.
Conclusion – Combining Cannabis and Psychology
I hope that from the list above you find even one thing to use to make your experiences of cannabis even better. I hope it’s also clear that any method can be useful but they are only suggestions and sometimes just sticking to what you know and enjoy is more than enough to have a great time. Cannabis is a fascinating drug and the mechanisms underlying it are still intriguing to psychologists. It affects so many areas of the brain that it isn’t surprising that the changes listed above can affect how it works. But what do you think?
Motherhood isn’t linear. Every mother knows that every family’s journey is different. Compared to a mere ten years ago, women today have more resources when it comes to navigating the world of motherhood for the first time. Local support groups and mommy-and-me yoga classes are just a few things that mothers say have not only […]
I’m genuinely amazed by the trial-and-error process and level of observation it took for our ancestors to learn what plants have healing properties and can be utilized for human health. Thanks to word of mouth and detailed written records over the centuries, we have learned what to avoid, what can be used for general wellness, and what plants can treat particular ailments.
These days, it’s much less common for Western physicians to be trained in natural cures like nutrition and botany… which is incredibly strange if you stop to think about it. As a doctor, a modern-day healer, shouldn’t your main objective be to help treat the root cause of disease with the safest possible remedy (typically some combinations of healing plants), rather than using toxic and synthetic substances to simply mask the symptoms?
If you’re looking at healthcare as an industry that actually wants to help people, it’s a bit mindboggling. However, if you’re looking at healthcare as an industry that’s out to make money by keeping patients hooked on expensive medications for life, then it makes a lot more sense why it operates this way. In underdeveloped countries where medicine hasn’t been so heavily monetized or politicized yet, an estimated 75 to 80 percent of the population still use traditional herbal remedies; and it’s worth noting that many of these nations have much lower rates of cancer, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
As a strong advocate of natural living, I personally will chose healthy foods, vitamins, and herbal remedies over OTC and prescription pills every time. Of course, in this industry there’s a tendency to focus on intoxicating natural compounds like THC, psilocybin, mescaline, DMT, and similar; meaning some of the more ordinary, day-to-day plants often get overlooked. I’ve put together a short list of my personal favorite, non-intoxicating healing plants that you can find at many local grocery and health food stores, or maybe even your own backyard.
Plants are incredible, and the fact that so many of them can be used for human health purposes proves how interconnected the we truly are to the world around us. This is exactly why we at CBD TESTERS strive to bring you the most relevant articles and highest-quality plant-based products via our newsletter, The CBD Flowers Weekly. Subscribe for exclusive deals!
The Benefits of Natural Healing
I think people may assume that plant compounds are not very potent and less effective than prescription and OTC meds, but that is hardly the case. Natural remedies can be a life-altering solution for people who cannot use western-style medications for any number of reasons – including tolerance, allergy, or other types of sensitivities. They can also be a cost-effective alternative to pricey surgeries or specialty prescriptions.
Herbal medicine, Phytotherapy, or Herbalism, as the practice is often referred to, can be better for treating the underlying causes of whatever disease a patient may be suffering from, rather than just the relieving the symptoms that come along with it. Natural plant compounds can also be used for prevention of illnesses, general health and wellness, and even to improve the condition of your hair, skin, and nails.
The whole idea behind plant-based therapies is much more holistic than western medicine and takes into account numerous different factors that can attribute to faster healing. For example, it is now clinically recognized that lemon can be effective at breaking down kidney stones. A practitioner who only knows the bare minimum about natural treatments may suggest lemon water and leave it at that, whereas an experienced herbalist would suggest drinking lemon water daily while also eliminating foods that contribute to the formation of kidney stones, such as beets, lentils, and red meat.
Healing plants work synergistically with the body’s natural capabilities, and they also boost the immune system making it less likely to get sick again in the future. Additionally, natural products typically work without destroying important cells and compounds that already exist in the body. Take antibiotics for example. I personally don’t do well with antibiotics and no matter what kind I take, I have some sort of reaction. I’m allergic to penicillin, so that covers all the ‘cillins right there, and other brands have caused stomach problems. Should I ever absolutely need to take an antibiotic, I then need to follow it up a good probiotic to replenish all my good bacteria that was killed in my body. This whole scenario is obviously not a concern when using natural remedies.
Creosote bush, or Larrea tridentata, is one of the oldest and most versatile living healing plants on earth. It’s native to the arid deserts of the Southwestern United States and Mexico and was very common where I used to live in the Mojave Desert region of Southern California. On a more casual level, it’s known for the incredibly intoxicating aroma it gives off after a good rain. Creosote is the reason why monsoon season in the desert smells so undeniably relaxing.
Aside from possible uses in aromatherapy, Creosote bush has been used for centuries by Indigenous people in the region who hailed it a ‘cure-all’ plant that served many medicinal purposes. Translated ethnobotanical notes have described it as an effective treatment option for fever, colds and flus, stomach pains, general pain, diuretic, sinus issues, arthritis, and anemia. It was also used topically as an antifungal and antimicrobial. To consume it, tea was brewed from the plant and consumed.
Currently, synthetics of creosote extract are already used in some prescription medications, mainly anti-diarrheal drugs. A growing body of clinical research found that the plant’s active compounds, most notably nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. These studies confirm Native uses of the Creosote plant.
Turmeric is a common spice that has been used in India as both a food seasoning and therapeutic herb for thousands of years. Turmeric is the spice that comes from the root of Curcuma Ionga. The common compounds in turmeric are called curcuminoids, with the most abundant one being curcumin. Curcumin is the compound responsible for all the medicinal effects of this spice.
Curcumin has been name a highly potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and traditionally it has been used to address numerous different health concerns. Curcumin is still used today in many parts of the world for conditions like hay fever, depression, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, certain types of liver disease, and itching.
The only issue with curcumin is that it has a fairly bad absorption rate and most supplements don’t contain very high concentrations of it. It’s best to take curcumin with foods that have some fat, because it’s fat soluble. Also pepper, as pepper contains compounds that boost the absorption capabilities of other compounds, including curcumin.
Mock strawberry, or Duschesnea indica, is a low-growing, flowering plant, also from India. Also known as false strawberry, snake berry, and Indian berry, it’s an invasive species that has taken root throughout most of the continental United States. It can be found in the South, Midwest, and both coasts – basically everywhere except the central/mountain time zone states.
Mock strawberries are given the because of their close resemblance to real wild strawberries, however, mock strawberries produce yellow flowers and wild strawberries have white flowers. Both are edible, but mock strawberries are not as sweet as true strawberries.
Medicinally, mock strawberries are both ingested and used topically. They’re full of protein, iron, vitamin C, and other healthy compounds. Additionally, the gel found inside the fruit is able to treat numerous different skin conditions including eczema, burns, boils, insect and even non-venomous snake bites. I’ve tested it for the latter, since moving to Indiana I have both mock strawberries and mosquitos in my yard, and it really works!
Aloe vera is one of the most well-known and mainstream healing plants that exists. It’s long been used for curing and moisturizing the skin, and some form of aloe vera products can be found in most drug store and vitamin shops across the country.
Aloe is the plant, a member of the Asphodelaceae family, and aloe vera is the gel found in the plant’s leaves. Although it’s most commonly applied to the skin, there is also strong evidence that aloe gel or juice taken orally can have some health benefits as well such as treating constipation, managing cholesterol, and lowering blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
What’s great about Aloe Vera is that it is incredibly convenient. You can easily get an aloe plant that requires almost no care, let it grow in a window with minimal watering and whenever you need to, cut off a small piece and use the gel inside. I have two in my kitchen and they come in handy when we get bug bites or if the kids get a sunburn or any other type of mild skin issue.
Rose oil is one of the best possible natural compounds you could apply to the skin. First of all, the composition of the oil is full of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals and rose a powerful astringent, so it’s great to for treating acne, rosacea, and inflammation.
What makes rose oil particularly unique is that is has the highest frequency of all natural oils on this planet. Every living entity on this earth has a measurable electrical energy, for example, a healthy human body clocks in at around 62–72 MHz. When it comes to therapies that utilize these frequencies, higher megahertz are said to promote various types of physical healing. The frequency of rose oil is approximately 320 MHz and has applications in cellular regeneration.
Like many other compounds on this list, it can be both applied to the skin and ingested. Drinking rose water is also very commonplace among natural health advocates and has been for decades. Although studies on its effectiveness are limited, anecdotal evidence suggests it can help with stress, digestion, and inflammation.
Chamomile is another one of those very common, easy to find everywhere herbs, but its medicinal potential really does get taken for granted. Chamomile comes from the daisy-like flowers of the Asteraceae plant family, and you will most commonly find it sold in the form of tea.
For centuries, chamomile tea has been consumed for health purposes and, because it is full of antioxidants, studies have found it helpful at preventing numerous different diseases including heart disease, cancer, digestive issues, anxiety, and sleep disorders.
Additionally, chamomile is an old-fashioned remedy for pink eye, one that I have personally used for my children. All you do is prepare the chamomile tea as you always would, let it cool off a bit, then soak a cotton ball or compress and press it over the affected eye for about 5-10 minutes. Because it’s non-toxic, you can repeat this as many times as you want and it works fairly quickly at fighting off the infection.
Final Thoughts on Healing Plants
Again, I’m all about the psychedelic healing plants of nature. Admittedly, those are the most interesting, controversial, and just plain fun. However, in the search for intoxicating therapeutics, we tend to overlook the myriad of healing compounds that exist right under our noses – literally, because most of these can be found in a local grocery store or even right on your property in many cases.
What are you favorite healing plants? Drop us a line in the comment section below and don’t forget to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flower and other products.
Self care can be as simple as dissociating into a video game after clocking out of work, or as complex as a comprehensive DIY at-home spa day that lasts for hours. For some folks, self care is 30 minutes of daily exercise, for others, it’s talk therapy. For most though, it’s a broad combination of stimulating, centering, and pacifying endeavors that can, in some way or another, be enhanced with a specific cannabis cultivar.
Whether your “Self Care Sunday” takes place on a Tuesday night or Friday afternoon, the objective remains the same; body, mind, and soul revitalization. And when applied with careful consideration, cannabis can totally maximize the restorative power of a proper spirit-recovery sesh.
So if you’re in need of some personal TLC, then consider one of these cognitively euphoric and physically pacifying strains below for your next self care day. A little self love and a hit of weed can go a long, long way.
Bred from LA Confidential and Snowcap, this hybrid strain leans slightly more indica, but the high is reportedly just as bright and uplifting as the sunniest sativas, with a cool, soothing physical relaxation that reflects its name. Consumers who favor the enlivening effects of SnowLAnd report a breathtaking onset before it develops into creative, introspective, and powerfully euphoric — yet utterly relaxing — high.
The balanced profile of this cultivar enables the strain to offer therapeutic applications, including controlled muscle spasms, anti-nausea, appetite stimulation, and depression relief. And its tendency to make you feel giggly with a hot streak of artistic inspiration makes this the perfect strain for journaling, painting, gardening or decorating.
Expect a rich, diesel stink with notes of citrus and wood, and a candy-sweet, tropical fruit flavored exhale.
A phenotype of perennial faves Northern Lights and Haze, this popular strain is a favorite in its own right — and with good reason. It’s dreamily relaxing without being incapacitating, and its potent yet restrained sativa genetics ensure a swooning onset that quickly evaporates, leaving behind a manageable tranquilization in both the mind and body.
Dutch Treat fans report effects that walk the line between couch-lock and calm contentment. For those seeking self care through gaming, Dutch Treat may keep your body relaxed and elastic while sharpening your senses enough to make gaming feel next-level. Games aside, this strain can reportedly soothe the rough edges of a harsh day, both spiritually and physically, which most folks can appreciate. It’s also a popular therapeutic strain for treating migraines, chronic pain, neuropathy, and PTSD.
Expect a bold, fruity perfume and an earthy, sweet-wood exhale with super delicate top notes of mint.
If an increased heart rate and a bit of sweat are part of your self care routine, then consider an energetic sativa-hybrid with just enough indica genetics to inspire some deeper than average, exercise-fueled self-contemplation.
Super Silver Haze is a crossbreed of Skunk, Northern Lights, and Haze, and reportedly has a number of compelling sativa characteristics, including spacey creative energy and bouncy euphoria — as well as therapeutic efficacy in managing fatigue, depression, and stress. Bottom line; a few hits of Super Silver Haze before a low-stakes, at-home yoga flow or peppy, bedroom aerobics sesh might make those sukasanas and grapevines feel like an even more effective way to access some higher-self wisdom.
Expect a sour, skunky nose and a spicy, sweet, herbaceous exhale.
Two strains known for their tastiness, GSC and Orange Juice, were crossed to create Orange Cookies, a genetically balanced, ultra-responsive, crazy-delicious hybrid cultivar. Consumers love Orange Cookies for its reports of treating a number of wellness needs, both physical and mental.
The body highs can be gently relaxing or mildly effervescent depending on your resting state, but the head highs are overwhelmingly reported as euphoric beyond measure. If your self care involves meditations on gratitude, Orange Cookies may put you in just the right state of mind to revel in your blessings.
Expect a sweet, orange candy perfume and a grassy, botanical exhale with notes of lemongrass and pink pepper.
This hybrid cultivar’s genetics may skew slightly energetic, but it’s by no means a red-hot sativa. Many fans report a celebratory onset that evenly dissipates into body and head highs that are decidedly more relaxed. For canna-thusiasts who are using their self care days to hit a psychological reset button, Purple Trainwreck may be the euphoric game changer they’ve been looking for.
Purple Trainwreck is a cross of Grandaddy Purple and Trainwreck, and its reported therapeutic uses include the management of ADHD, hyperactivity, depression, and chronic pain.
Expect a thick, complex fragrance layered with citrus, compost, botanicals, and corner-store candy. The exhale is a correspondingly complex cloud of lemony herbs and overripe berries.
For those who desire insulation against the outside world as a form of self care, Cookie Wreck may very well offer the cashmere dissociation vibes they need. Consumers traveling deeply into their own innerspace is this cultivar’s most favorable effect. It’s a balanced hybrid cross of GSC and Trainwreck, and features a cannabinoid profile that often includes modest percentages of both CBD and CBG.
Cookie Wreck’s body high can feel like a soft tranquilizer, but the head high is often reported as bright, focused and clear — even a bit psychedelic. That said, you should prepare for a long-lasting high with pronounced psychotropic-in-the-head and sedative-in-the-body effects.
Expect the sweet smell of sugar cookies and wood chips, a nutty, grassy exhale, and a vanilla aftertaste that lingers pleasantly in the nose and mouth.
At the intersection of self care and self indulgence is MAC, an evenly balanced cross of Alien Cookies, Starfighter, and Columbian. MAC’s reputation as a luxury strain stems from reported effects that include intense euphoria and a bone-deep relaxation that assuages chronic pain without dulling the users senses. In fact, fans of this strain report a heightening of senses that could become overwhelming for novice smokers, so toke with consideration.
Including MAC in a spa-style day of self care will likely make your bubble bath feel even more foamy, your scalp massage more tingly, and your DIY pedicure feel like more of an artistic endeavor than typical grooming.
Expect a dank, tropical funk fragrance with the suggestion of a floral bouquet, and a spicy/sweet diesel exhale that leaves behind a hint of lemon essence.
Sunshine Daydream consumers routinely describe this hybrid cross of Bubbashine and Appalachia as a panacea for physical and mental relief. But, more than those therapeutic applications, Sunshine Daydream is stoney as hell.
Genetically, it leans indica, with effects so powerfully relaxing that regular consumers advise only using this strain at bedtime — despite the cheery name. Head highs range from calm and placated to downright drowsy, and body highs seem to leave tokers with effects that are both tingly and lethargic.
Expect a potent perfume of fresh blueberries with dank edges and earthy undertones, and a citrusy, woody, gassy exhale.
With all the talk of the current devastation to the honeybee community, and the possible repercussions to humanity in general, it makes the small, buzzing creatures a rather important feature in our ecosystem. Honey, much like cannabis, provides all kinds of benefits to health and nutrition, and with a growing interest in cannabis honey, the two are coming together to create some of the best products on the market. If you were unaware of how cannabis and honey go together, read on.
The best thing to hit the world of cannabis isn’t shatter, or live resin, or even THC distillate. It’s delta-8 THC. Unlike delta-9 THC, the standard THC of marijuana, delta-8 THC actually produces slightly less psychoactive effect, causes less anxiety and paranoia, and provides a clear-headed, energetic high. It’s all the good stuff about THC, with less of the issues that cause people problems. If you’ve only heard about it, and never tried it, we’ve got great delta-8 THCdeals so you can experience it for yourself.
A little bit about bees
The first thing to know about bees, is that they’re not all the same. When whizzing past your face, they may look the same, but a wasp, a yellowjacket, and a honeybee are all very different species of flying bug. We are most interested in honeybees. There are several types of honeybees, with the most common being Apis mellifera. This specific honeybee is also referred to as the European honeybee, or the Western Honeybee.
As social insects, honeybees reside together in hives, and actually have a pretty intricate communication system between them consisting of dancing movements, which can go in depth enough to explain to other bees exact locations of food sources, their size, and even quality. Each honeybee community has a queen bee, worker bees, and drone bees. Worker bees are female bees that never reach sexual maturity, with the queens being females that are bigger in size. Male bees are called drones.
I could go on talking about the particulars of honeybees, but it’s not terribly important. Here are a few things that are. Bees require two kinds of food. The first is honey, which is made from nectar from flowers. The second is pollen, which comes from the anthers of a flower. This nectar and pollen is individual to each species of flower, and each flower within the species. Most bees will only collect one or the other, pollen or nectar. While collecting, nectar gets stored in a stomach specifically for nectar, from which it is transferred to other bees in the hive to use for honey production. This is separate from the bee’s own regular stomach, however, a valve exists between the two so that the bee can use some of the nectar for energy if needed.
The honey is produced by the bees passing the nectar from mouth to mouth until the water in it has evaporated out – going from approximately 70% to 20%. The result is a concentrated syrup, honey. The honey is then stored within the cells of the honeycomb with a layer of beeswax on top. Pollen has a different purpose. Pollen is mixed with the pre-honey nectar to create ‘bee bread’. This high protein food is then fed to larvae, which require such high protein levels to survive and grow. When looking at the difference between pollen and nectar, pollen is high in protein and also contains fats and other nutrients for growth, whereas nectar contains sugars, salts, oils, and vitamins.
In terms of honey, I could write a whole article on the health benefits. When dealing with natural medicine (which cannabis is), honey is a main and powerful constituent, with just as many positive benefits as a plant like cannabis. It can be used as an antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory agent, for diabetes, cancer, asthma, neurological disorders, burns and wounds, and gastrointestinal issues to name just a few. Honey alone is a fantastic treatment for a myriad of problems, which makes the idea of combining it with cannabis, that much more of a benefit.
It’s been known for quite some time, that honey varies depending on the location its from, and the kinds of flowers that the bees which made it, were taking nectar and pollen from. So, when dealing with real cannabis honey, this means honey made by bees which have ingested cannabinoids in some way.
If you’re wondering how bees would know to do this, they don’t. In most cases where cannabis honey has been made, it’s been done by the bees being fed cannabinoids, or hives being placed in a place with cannabis plants. The former is the case for PhytoPharma, and its Cannabeez honey. As bees don’t have an endocannabinoid system, there isn’t a fear of the cannabinoids causing a reaction in the bees, they are merely a means of extraction. The cannabis that is made by bees that have been fed cannabinoids has a very low concentration of cannabinoids, way less than other products, particularly concentrates. In fact, the quantity of cannabinoids can be as low as .3% of the honey.
However, even with this low concentration, the cannabinoids in cannabis honey have shown to be very bioavailable, meaning the body can absorb them well. And since the cannabis isn’t heated in this process, the effects are solely medicinal, giving no psychoactive high. If all of this sounds weird because cannabis plants don’t produce nectar, and are wind-pollinators – meaning they don’t rely on, or attract, insects to move their pollen around, there are ways around this.
Cannabis honey products are becoming bigger, though many are simply infused, meaning cannabinoids are put into honey, that otherwise has nothing to do with cannabinoids. But this is a different product. Real cannabis honey is made by bees directly. The practice started in 2016 when Nicholas Trainer, a French beekeeper with a penchant for marijuana, began looking into cannabis honey at the behest of his friends. In the end, Trainer did not feed the bees cannabinoids, but put them with cannabis plants where they could collect the resin. He found through practice that all different kinds of honey can be made, from all different kinds of marijuana plants. It has also been found that bees can collect both the resin and the pollen of cannabis plants, with the pollen being made into bee propolis.
Research into cannabis and bees
While cannabis honey is still not well studied or understood, there isn’t a total absence in the research world. In 2019, a study was conducted that investigated what kind of bees the pollen in cannabis sativa plants, attract. The study did not investigate cannabis honey, but rather pollen as a nutritional food source for bees. However, in conducting this research, one of the findings was that particularly during a period of floral dearth, cannabis plants produce a lot of pollen, and bees do, in fact, eat it. The study used nets to sweep the area of hemp farms in New York to establish just which insects were being attracted to the plants. This included different fields with different cannabis phenotypic traits.
The study found that of the bees which visited these plants, there were 16 different species. It was also found that taller plants attracted more bee species. One of the important findings of the study was that this pollen can be used as a nutritional source for bees, especially at times of food scarcity. But it also inadvertently backed up that bees will eat the pollen of plants, giving more credence to the idea that cannabis honey can easily be made.
In 2020, yet another study was done, this time by Nick J. French, owner of Frangiosa Farms entitled Industrial Hemp As Forage For Honey Bees. The purpose of the study was actually to find ways to increase the value of industrial hemp, and started in 2015. His method was to set up 12 hives in 70 acres of hemp plants in Colorado. At the time of placement, the number of bees was estimated at 800,000. For two months the hives were inspected about two times a week.
When hives were removed two months later, they were noticeably light, implying not enough honey in reserves to feed all the bees through winter months, with only six hives showing signs of being able to survive winter. Not enough honey was actually made to collect for sampling, but pollen and propolis were both collected and sent to a lab. Samples were sent to ProVerde Laboratories in Massachusetts. The propolis samples were found to have .93% cannabinoids by weight, and the pollen was found to have .09% cannabinoids by weight. Study conductor French did not see cannabis honey as being very possible, however the resulting propolis and pollen were cannabinoid positive. He did not rule out the ability to produce more honey in future research.
Cannabis honey products
In the world of cannabis honey, there’s honey which is sourced from bees which have ingested either resin or pollen from the cannabis plant, and then there’s cannabis-infused honey. The latter is significantly easier to find, and still does give a good blend of all the good stuff related to honey and all the good stuff related to cannabis. If this is all a person is looking for, they can check out the following brands like Colorado Hemp Honey, Honey Pot Products, Florida Honey Pot Farms, Bee Delightful, Cannabee, and Bumble B. Well Hemp Products. None of these companies actually make real cannabis honey, however.
The field of real cannabis honey is just growing, but there are a couple options to try it for yourself. One of the best options for the real deal is the company mentioned before, PhytoPharma. This Israeli-based company has a patent-protected method for feeding bees cannabinoids and creating cannabis honey. According to its site, the company states that its cannabis honey has been shown to be effective with insomnia and pain relief, with absolutely no psychoactive effect present.
Another company that does the real deal, and in the good old-fashioned way, is Cannahoney. Cannahoney offers three different varieties of honey, all of which are originally sourced from bee hives placed strategically by cannabis fields. All fields are in Ventura, California. The original Cannahoney is simply the natural honey from the hives, while the company also offers CannaHoney Plus and MariHoney, which each have infusions of cannabinoids as well. The company states it does not technically test for cannabinoids in the standard Cannahoney, relying on the bees to do their thing.
If you simply want the benefit of cannabis and honey together, there are tons of infused honey products to try. For those who want to go a step further and get a product directly from the bees, there are a couple options available, with more surely to come. As cannabis and honey are two major powerhouses in the natural medicine world, and as honey can be manufactured based on the specific plants in the area, the combination of the two might just produce some of the best medicinal products out there.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.