November 13, 2019

CBD, Tobacco, Pesticides & Parkinson’s

November 13, 2019
Is there a relationship between smoking, pesticides, and Parkinson's?

I’ve been advocating for Cannabis for a lifetime and I have never been as certain as I am now that we in the Cannabis community are finally overcoming the hatred and fear imposed on us by the authoritarian state, and I think this freedom is dawning because of the unfolding discoveries about CBD and the other mysterious and powerful healing gifts of this great plant being. First word on the street and now proof from the research labs is coming fast from all directions, and once this kind of word has spread far enough it can’t be stopped. It can be attacked, and it can be blocked, but the word on the healing powers of Cannabis and CBD is flowing like water.

At this moment there are sick old people, super conservatives to their core, sitting around in nursing homes in states where you can still be arrested for a joint, talking about how they can get their hands on some of that CBD stuff. The authoritarian state is going to have to switch gears and find another reason to impose new authority, taxes and penalties because their ‘killer weed’ con has stopped working even among ‘the base’. Oh, wait. The aunties (anti-everything) just found a new one, didn’t they? Vaping plus nicotine addiction – the Prevention and Control’ authorities are doing a victory dance. New rules to enforce, new taxes to collect, more kids to save and lots of great new jobs in the bureaucracy.

So now that we’re briefly visited the dark side, let’s check out something really hopeful – the emerging role of CBD in treating Parkinson’s. What’s most amazing about this newly discovered healing power of CBD is that healing Parkinson’s is also associated in weird ways with cigarette smoking, which is a pretty twisted path but it leads to a surprising place and ultimately involves CBD again, so let’s follow it.

First here’s just a taste of that promising CBD/Parkinson’s research:

“Cannabidiol as a Promising Strategy to Treat and Prevent Movement Disorders?”

“Cannabidiol and Cannabinoid Compounds as Potential Strategies for Treating Parkinson’s Disease and L-DOPA-Induced Dyskinesia.”

“Is cannabidiol the ideal drug to treat non-motor Parkinson’s disease symptoms?”

Ok, so CBD is good for Parkinson’s.

Next – Pesticides are bad for Parkinson’s.

Good solid research shows that even low-level exposure to pesticides at any stage of life may increase Parkinson’s risk. Here’s some info from one of many peer-reviewed articles regarding the association of pesticide exposure with neurologic dysfunction and disease…

“Most studies have focused on organophosphate insecticides, but some found neuro-toxic effects from other pesticides, including fungicides, fumigants, and organochlorine and carbamate insecticides. Pesticide exposure may also be associated with increased risk of Parkinson disease; several classes of pesticides, including insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides, have been implicated.”

“In conclusion, there is mounting evidence that chronic moderate pesticide exposure is neurotoxic and increases risk of Parkinson disease.”

But then check this … Smoking Protects Against Parkinson’s…

This study of 715PD cases among 220,000 European cigarette smokers shows that smoking is strongly associated with REDUCED risk of developing Parkinson’s. There are many studies that show the same thing. It has been driving researchers crazy for years. This is considered the most comprehensive study to date.

Exploring causality of the association between smoking and Parkinson’s disease

“An overwhelming amount of evidence exists on the inverse association between cigarette smoking and Parkinson’s disease (PD). The inverse association is strong and consistent across studies, stronger for current smokers than for former smokers when compared with non-smokers.

Some studies suggest that smoking duration is more strongly associated with a reduced risk of PD compared with smoking intensity. The overall association appears consistent in men and women and not confounded or modified by educational level.

A comparable inverse association was also observed for pipe and cigar smoking in men and for smokeless tobacco.

An attempt to demonstrate causality of the association has been made using parental smoking as an instrumental variable: it was shown that children of smokers—who are more likely to smoke themselves—are at decreased risk of PD even if they do not smoke.

Okay – WTF

Smoking Protects Against Parkinson’s? (That’s Definitely A Good Question)

And CBD Looks Like A Treatment For Parkinson’s! (That Deserves An Exclamation Point)

But Pesticides Cause Parkinson’s. (That’s A Big Period)

So, inside this mind-bending anomaly there has to be a clue, right? Things like this don’t just happen. I love mysteries and this one has been bugging me. Why does cigarette smoking apparently help prevent and treat Parkinson’s, a terrible neurological disease that affects 80,000 new victims every year in the US, while exposure to pesticides, especially during fetal development, can cause and worsen the disease?

Then I thought – How about this?

We don’t know whether any of the Parkinson’s victims who got relief from smoking were smoking organic tobacco but my guess is few if any, but here’s what we know from the research.

Results on how effectively smoking protected against PD were highly variable between population groups studied in different countries. The researchers couldn’t explain this variation. I’m thinking that since the smokers were in different countries they were almost certainly smoking cigarettes with different pesticide contaminants, which would have different impacts on their Parkinson’s. So what if the actual “tobacco” components of all the cigarettes had a protective effect, but the variations in “pesticide contaminants” were causing variation in the strength of that protective effect. Some groups were no doubt smoking cigarettes with fewer pesticides, and manufactured from better quality tobacco (though certainly not organic), and some groups were smoking horribly contaminated bottom-end cigarettes, and so researchers got these mysterious results.

I’m wondering. Could this highly counter-intuitive outcome – smoking & reduced PD risk – mean that while pesticides increase risk, the healing effects of tobacco could be so strong that in spite of the pesticides, any cigarettes are at least somewhat protective as long as they actually contain tobacco? (Not always the case.) Could it be that smoking pure organic tobacco without pesticides could help prevent or treat Parkinson’s? And then think about combining that organic tobacco with organic CBD flowers.

Taking all the different clues into account, how about some courageous clinic somewhere just trying an Organic Tobacco/CBD Cannabis combination with a few folks with PD who like to smoke anyway and see what they report back. Then maybe if they say it seems to help, it might be time for a research project. It wouldn’t have to be huge and expensive project either – this thing doesn’t have to be studied to death. It certainly shouldn’t be a multi-million dollar windfall for the same research institutions that have been sucking on tobacco industry and federal money for years and ignoring what has been right in front of them. Let’s fund a hundred neighborhood clinics to do little studies, which I hope could be privately funded and stay away from government dollars, which are really tobacco cartel dollars in disguise.

All we really need to know is whether an organic tobacco/organic CBD Cannabis joint or pipe will actually treat Parkinson’s victims and help prevent onset/progression of the disease.

We know that commercial cigarettes actually help a little, even though we now also know that the unrecognized and unaccounted-for pesticides are hurting. If we remove the pesticides and make that cigarette 100% organic tobacco plus 100% organic CBD. and if people get relief and feel less vulnerable, then I would advocate no more studying before saying yes, it works. Where is there any risk that needs to be regulated? Because it’s dead certain that organic tobacco nor organic cannabis both meet the bottom-line criterion of ‘first of all, do no harm’. I say take this one away from the FDA and the CDC and all the other failed ‘protectors’ like EPA who actually said in the 2004 GAO report to Congress on pesticides in tobacco that they didn’t give a shit about what winds up in cigarettes and little cigars because ‘smoking tobacco is so harmful anyway”. – they have nothing to add and nothing to say.


There isn’t any published research that I can find showing fungicides and insecticides in commercial tobacco products that pre-dates the ‘Smoke No Evil’ tests in 2018, so it’s almost certain that the Parkinson’s research community has been working unaware of the role pesticides might play in the puzzling ‘smoking helps PD’ side of this mystery, even though they know a great deal about the role pesticides play in the onset and worsening of the disease. I’ve looked on PubMed and elsewhere and don’t see anything, but would love to know that people are already on this trail. Please let me know if you’re aware of any such research.


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