The ongoing explosion of the cannabis market has led to some exciting developments, and now it seems we’re on the verge of exploring an entirely new frontier: medical cannabis honey. Thanks to a substantial recent investment in an Australian tree plantation and some promising trends, experts believe that cannabis honey farm funding can be a positive development on a few fronts, including the potential for health benefits and helping to regenerate depleting bee populations around the world. Although we’re still in the early stages, new techniques have cannabis enthusiasts excited about the prospects of medical cannabis honey as researchers on the cutting edge push into uncharted territory.
Similar to cannabis, tea trees have a range of different medicinal applications, including the highly sought after Manuka honey that is produced by bees that pollinate with the tea trees. Some of the main benefits typically associated with Manuka honey include antioxidants that provide an immune system boost while acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. That’s why Manuka honey is such big business, with tea tree farms mostly in Australia and New Zealand exporting honey all over the world.
Looking to build on the successful Manuka honey market, organic tea tree farm Jenbrook just took in a $1.49 million infusion to partner up with EVE Investments with the goal of developing medical-grade hemp honey. Since Jenbrook already supplies the U.S. with a substantial amount of tree oil and honey products, the new direction makes perfect sense thanks to the blossoming medical cannabis market around the United States. With 29 states already on board with medical cannabis and more likely to pass initiatives in the 2018 elections, the overall potential of medical cannabis honey seems to be extremely promising despite being in the early phases of testing and development.
While it’s impossible to say for sure what the health benefits of medical cannabis honey might be, experts at Southern Cross University in Australia are already doing the legwork to test out the new product. Currently, Jenbrook is also in the process of finalizing new types of honey that will have anti-bacterial benefits and the company claims the honey will be able to treat certain diseases as well. With Jenbrook fixated on producing honey that maximizes health benefits, cannabis honey will be developed in the same way and aims to find new medical implementation for hemp.
But it’s not even only about human health either, as there is another potential benefit that is both small and enormous at the same time. While bee populations continue to drop around the world, creating significant complications with pollination, researchers are optimistic that hemp and tea tree farms could actually help regenerate bee populations. Based on the early research involving low THC cannabis plants and bees, Jenbrook official Bryan Easson recently suggested that the observable benefits to bee hives has provided some significant optimism. If Jenbrook is able to showcase bee hives thriving while pollinating with cannabis plants, the potential upside for cannabis honey would in turn go well beyond the billion-dollar Manuka honey market that the company is taking aim at.
Perhaps more than anything, creative cannabis trends like the production of medical cannabis honey suggests that the hemp revolution could really just be getting started. As the cannabis market in the U.S. and around the world continues to expand dramatically, the incentive for investment firms like EVE Investments to jump into the world of hemp research is likely to only increase from here. The ongoing development of products like cannabis honey also points to the exciting new ground being broken as researchers scramble to come up with the next big hemp application. Even though it will be a while before we fully understand the benefits and attributes of such collaborations, the world of cannabis seems to be breaking into new territory faster than ever.
Every time I take a leisurely summer stroll through my local farmer’s market, I find myself wishing that Colorado’s local cannabis products could have a place among the fresh fruit, flowers, and farm eggs. There’s no doubt in my mind that displaying these locally-made products out in the sunshine and encouraging the community to ask our cultivators and producers questions would inspire better understanding and strengthen connections.
Colorado produces an incredible array of edibles, but very few companies are making products with the local ethos we expect at our markets and even some grocery stores. So I was excited to see that Mountain Medicine, a line of medical and recreational edibles made in Colorado since 2009, uses raw, local honey to sweeten many of its products.
A co-branding partnership with Highland Honey in Boulder County allows Mountain Medicine to make edibles that promise a true taste of Colorado. On a recent weekend afternoon, I made my way to the park with Harmonious Honey Sticks in hand to see what the buzz was about.
Mountain Medicine sells its Harmonious Honey Sticks in medical and recreational strengths. The medical package contains 10 sticks, with 20mg of THC per stick. On the recreational side, 10mg adult-use sticks come 8 to a package.
Both the recreational and medical Harmonious Honey Sticks come in a joint tube with a charming, Western-accented label that proudly proclaims that the product is made with raw, local Highland Honey (the first time I’ve seen a mainstream producer named on cannabis brand packaging). The very childproof tube pops open to reveal honey sticks that look like a slightly shorter version of the sticks you see at the grocery store checkout. When I held a stick up to the sun, the honey had a gorgeous golden color that was more intense once I squeezed it out of its packaging.
Taste & Texture
I had plans to sweeten a big tumbler of iced tea with my honey, but I wanted to try it on its own first. Squeezing a small amount straight into my mouth, the honey was thick with a sweet, rich flavor and smell. Faint floral notes lingered in my mouth and in my nose, hinting at the bees’ Boulder County bouquet. The cannabis oil added a very faint herbal taste.
I shook the rest of the rest of the stick into some iced mint green tea. The honey was a perfect sweetener, healthier than refined sugar with a very subtle floral flavor that perfectly balanced the mint. Once the honey was mixed in the tea, I wasn’t able to detect any cannabis oil flavor.
I started with 10 mgs, and after about 30 minutes I was feeling a mellow, sunny buzz that perfectly matched my mood and the weather. An hour in, I felt dreamy and energized (and ready for more tea). I mixed up another 10 mgs, and sipped it while we took a walk. After 30 minutes, I floated back to the blanket and basked in the sunshine, supremely chilled out, for a solid three hours. I walked home, still buzzed but perfectly comfortable, and after five hours, the effects wore off, leaving me clear-headed and relaxed.
Mountain Medicine’s Harmonious Honey Sticks offered a consistent, pleasant high that was slightly more intense, but less tiring, than what I typically expect of 20 mgs of edibles. The honey sticks tasted incredible and left me with enough mellow energy to enjoy being outside. Overall, this proudly local treat provided the peak Colorado summer experience I was looking for.
There are some negative marijuana experiences that make it to the news, some of which are truly tragic. The most sensational reports often involve the misuse of edibles by new users. Being and educated cannabis consumer is the best way to ensure a positive experience. Taking an extra moment to talk to your budtender or do a quick google search can be the difference between a great experience and a poor one.
Because of the negative experiences, the proper labeling of edibles has graduated from a consumer benefit to a regulatory issue and is being addressed by California state legislators. Luckily, there are companies who already have good practices. AbsoluteXtracts, California producers of fantastic vape products and also one of my new favorite oral sprays, makes a honey straw (not to be confused with honey oils) infused with cannabis oil. If you’re reading this and thinking this is yet another edible, it’s time to think again.
The AbsoluteXtracts Honey Straws are available in 10mg, 20mg and 40mg amounts of THC depending on your needs. The key is the products are all the same size but in different concentrations, so you won’t find yourself needing to eat multiple honey straws to achieve the desired effect (although my sweet tooth would have no problem with that). Based on personal experience, my edible dosing falls into this scale:
- 10mg: Relaxing, functional, can do daily tasks and experience decent pain relief
- 20mg: All of the above but stronger and with a definite muscle-relaxing quality. Physical activities probably not the best idea.
- 30mg: Deep relaxation and altered state of mind.
- 40mg: Time and space are fluid concepts. Stringing together a sentence takes effort.
Your personal experience will vary. Always start with the smallest dose if you’re unsure.
In terms of packaging, these straws are beyond discreet, so much so that they would pass as any other honey straw if you removed the label, which provides the strength and the ingredients: honey, cannabis concentrate, and coconut oil for better absorption. For my first test, I put the entire contents of the straw into a cup of hot tea. I used a green tea which is best brewed at a lower temperature (160 degrees) because I didn’t want to take a chance and “cook” the honey in boiling water. For my second test, I put it on a piece of toast with some cinnamon. Of course, sipping the honey right from the straw is always an option, especially for on-the-go use.
Comparing my two methods, the warmth of the tea definitely made for a speedier effect. It was almost as fast as a sublingual spray. I’m sure you could hold sips of tea in your mouth to speed up the absorption process. The steam from the tea definitely distributes the odor, and the honey separates from the cannabis concentrate and coconut oil and floats to the top like any other oil-and-water scenario. Those first few sips probably packed a punch! The scent was similar to cannabis teas as well as the flavor, but the honey acts as a great medium and balances out some of the sour flavors in cannabis.
My cannabis-infused honey cinnamon toast was excellent! If you aren’t fond of the natural flavor of cannabis, this is a great way to go. It made me realize that I can use this in almost any application that I would use honey as a condiment, but I’d stay away from microwaving or baking with it. Extreme temperatures can change oils and sugars in unexpected ways. Eating this honey with toast had a time-release effect, making the experience last longer but was not quite as strong. If I was seeking prolonged relief, a 40mg straw mixed with a meal would be a great option.
Personally, this is a product that will appeal to both recreational users and medical patients alike. As an edible, it provides a streamlined experience; as much as I like edibles, I can’t (or shouldn’t) have cookies and candy regularly. There are plenty of great edibles out there for when I do want to splurge. The different strengths mean I can customize the experience. As a medical patient, I know exactly how much THC I’m consuming. Honey is versatile enough that I can consume it in different ways and further tailor my dosing.
I’ve found the 40mg straws are about $6 here in California, making them a great value, especially compared to 40mg cannabis oil capsules or other edibles of the same dose. The 10mg and 20mg sizes are anywhere from $2-$4 and also hold a great value compared to other products with a similar strength. The honey and the packaging make for a very shelf-stable product you can keep around for a while.
French Beekeeper Nicolas Trainerbees has created the world’s first “honey pot plants” and the revelation may have way bigger implications like solving the bee crisis.
Since 2006, the 20-year-veteran artisan beekeeper, marijuana grower, and true renaissance man has been studying and looking at the possible symbiotic relationship between bees and cannabis resin (trichomes or kief). It took him a long, sticky eight years, but in 2014, Nicolas hit the jackpot.
His years of trials paid off and he began to notice that the bees’ health seemed to benefit from cannabis and that the bees’ honey also became infused. The bees utilized the marijuana plant’s resinous glands to make propolis, a gooey material (typically from other tree buds) that act as both a sealant for bee hives and as an “antiseptic, antibiotic, and healing” remedy for the bees.
Likewise, the wax produced by these bees could also (allegedly) benefit the human race. Nicolas claims that the bees’ honey is infused with cannabinoids like THC and CBD, and acts as an edible medical marijuana condiment of sorts. He also says that the honey tastes and smells a lot like whichever strain of cannabis is being grown.
As for the bees, it’s hard to determine the extent of their health improvement via one man’s word and without research or studies.
That said, it’s a novel idea, and the mere possibility that a dying breed that creates a vital, medical component (honey) to society might have their savior in the form of cannabis! And for the PETA folks out there, don’t worry: the bees aren’t getting high because they don’t have an endocannabinoid system. Cannabis affects humans because it’s cannabinoids and terpenes bind with endocannabinoid receptors located throughout our brains and bodies.
Conversely, Trainerbee claims they’re much happier and living fuller lives.
French Beekeeper Nicolas Trainerbees
photo credit: Dinafem