Bees don’t really care about drugs, they just want some sugar. Depending on the situation, they are either happy to help the authorities, such as in the case in New York City, where bees eating maraschino cherry dyes led to the biggest marjuana bust in the city’s history. On the other hand you have some Russian bees who were in the middle of a outdoor grow op and stung the police who tried to come and cut down their marijuana flowers.
It is interesting to note, this graph exists and is based on actual data. Honey producing bee hives have declined, just as juvenile arrests for marijuana have risen. Coincidence? Does it mean anything? I don’t know, correlation is not necessarily causation, but maybe, just maybe the decline of bees has made teenagers sad, forcing them to distort their reality through the use of mind altering drugs. Maybe if there were more beekeepers, there would also be less stoned teenaged goons hanging around?
To the bees, a flower is a flower, I suppose. In the 60’s a hippy came up with the idea of electric honey – honey made from marijuana flowers. My understanding is that the marijuana is harvested prior to flowering, so I don’t think you can have your bud and eat it too. That said, a quick internet search shows that there are plenty of ‘happy herb’ infused honeys out there on the market. Not a market I will get into any time soon – like bell bottom jeans, I will leave the electric honey to the hippies of the world. I will leave Electric Honey By Sam Love to the hippies as well.
There are several other species of plant which do produce honey that is hallucinogenic such as the flowers of the Himalayan rhododendron, which is made by the biggest bee in the world, the Himalayan honeybee. The rhododendron’s nectar contain grayanotoxins – these toxins lead to symptoms including salivation, perspiration, vomiting, dizziness,weakness and paresthesia in the extremities and around the mouth, low blood pressure and a loss of coordination and weakness in the limbs. Skip to around 18:00 in the video below to watch Deepak eat too much and witness the resulting effects.
Similar plants exist in other parts of the world, for instance New Zealand has several areas that are off limits for collecting honey due to the poisonous plants. In Turkey, they have “deli bal” or “mad honey” which has been consumed in small quantities for its intoxicating effects for centuries. Deli Bal has even been used as a weapon of war :
“Indeed, in 67 B.C. Roman soldiers invaded the Black Sea region under General Pompey’s command, and those loyal to the reigning King Mithridates secretly lined the Romans’ path with enticing chunks of mad honeycomb. The unwitting army ate these with gusto, as the story goes. Driven into an intoxicated stupor by the hallucinogenic honey, many of the flailing soldiers became easy prey, and were slain.”
Honey is an interesting food – and besides regular and mad honey, there is also medicinal honey. Honey has been used for thousands of years as a medicine due to its anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Today science is gaining an understanding of how valuable honey is as a medicine – but that is a post for another day.
In the meantime I hope you continue to enjoy the many varieties of honey that don’t get you stoned, unless of course that is what you are in to. I’ve never tried any mind-alerting honey, but if you are sure to keep everything in moderation and you shouldn’t have any trouble – unless you are a producing illegal drugs. In that case you should bee afraid, bee very afraid – those little flying sugar seekers could be leading the police right to your doorstep.