Consumers who are seeking relief from chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, and other conditions are turning to CBD as an all-natural alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medications. Honey can help heal wounds, soothe a sore throat, and provide protective antioxidants.
What could be better than combining the two?
That’s what a lot of manufacturers have done. For example, companies like Apis Mercantile supply traditional honey and CBD honey. Along those lines, you may have seen some of these products online or in stores and wondered: How is CBD honey made?
How is CBD Honey Made?
CBD honey can be made in one of two ways:
- Infusing it: Manufacturers or individuals can make CBD honey by extracting CBD oil from the hemp plant, then infusing it into the honey.
- Growing it: Farmers may be able to grow CBD honey naturally by raising bees around sources of the compound. This method is still under experimentation.
Let’s look at these two processes a little more closely.
Infusing CBD Into Natural Honey
Most manufacturers don’t reveal exactly how they make their CBD honey, as they like to claim their products are proprietary. The process, however, likely involves the following steps:
- Collect the raw honey from the beehives.
- Pasteurize the honey to destroy any microorganisms, then filter it to remove air bubbles and small debris. (Raw and unfiltered honey does not go through pasteurization or filtering.)
- Process the hemp extract or CBD into a hydro tincture that more easily disperses through liquids, such as the CBD that is used in CBD water. High-quality CBD oil also works. CBD isolate and full-spectrum hemp can be used, but they often require extra steps for infusion and may separate from the honey over time.
- Mix the honey and CBD under the influence of heat. Those making the honey at home can use a simple double-boiler to heat the honey and CBD infusion. The heat loosens the honey, making it easy to mix the two ingredients. It can also harm some of the healthy components of the honey, however, so it’s important to use low heat levels.
- Once the two are well mixed, the honey is put into a container and stored as usual.
If using CBD isolate or full-spectrum hemp extract, mix it with a small amount of carrier oil to prevent the CBD from crystallizing in the honey. To do this, simply heat the CBD product and the carrier oil together and mix until fully dissolved.
Growing Natural Hemp Honey
Honey bees are amazing creatures. It’s natural for them to make honey from the nectar they find in flowering plants.
What plants they use can make a difference in the final product they create. Talk to any beekeeper and they will tell you—the flavor in the honey varies depending on the plants the bees are visiting. Bees that gather nectar from lavender flowers, for instance, will produce honey said to be very fragrant. Bees that get their nectar from avocado plants, on the other hand, will produce more buttery honey.
Studies have provided support for this idea. In 2019, for instance, scientists took honey samples from different beekeepers in Nepal. The samples represented honey from four different floral sources. They then analyzed those samples, checking their antioxidant content, chemical composition, and bioactive components, and found that they all differed depending on the source flowers.
Knowing this, some beekeepers wondered if they could raise bees near sources of CBD and thus produce CBD-enriched honey naturally.
This is still a new area of research, so we don’t quite know the answer yet. Manufacturers are trying, though. An Israeli company is marketing honey made by bees who fed on a patented substance containing cannabinoids. And the Aspen Times tells of one grower who gradually trained his bees to get their nectar from a hemp nectar blend, after which they produced honey with terpenes and cannabinoids in it.
How this type of CBD honey may compare with CBD-infused honey is unclear so far. Manufacturers claim that it is more bioavailable, absorbing better for increased efficacy.
How Hemp Can Help Honeybees
Interestingly, this isn’t a one-way relationship—humans taking honey from bees. It turns out that hemp plants (from which CBD is usually sourced) are good for the bees in return.
For years, honeybees have been at risk. Multiple factors have contributed to significant honey bee colony losses, including disease, parasites, pesticides, and more.
A recent study from Colorado State University found that industrial hemp could help declining bee populations because it’s a good source of pollen that bees like. Bees need both nectar and pollen for good health—the nectar provides energy, while the pollen provides protein and fat.
Hemp flowering begins in late July and ends in late September—ideal because that’s when most other pollinator-friendly crops are scarce. That means that the hemp can help sustain bee colonies during times that are often difficult for them.
In turn, the honeybees can help hemp farmers increase production because they’re pollinating the fields and encouraging seed production.
Hemp isn’t a cure-all for declining bee populations, because, in the end, bees can’t get enough nutrition from hemp alone. It can support bee communities at a time when they need it, though, which may prove to be a helpful step in encouraging bee populations to recover.