The pleasures of pesticides

Contributing Columnist

New years bring new adventures.  Across the US, people camped out, filed into buses and trains, and drove thousands of miles to witness – Legal Pot.  Marijuana cigarettes were lit celebrating the “new history” of America, where the failed  Drug War  would be put to rest.

It just shows how powerful pesticides can be – especially in the right dose.


The Original Drug War

Marijuana and tobacco have more in common than being smoked separately or combined.  They have multiple uses throughout the natural world. Including as pesticides.

People sort of know that nicotine is a pesticide.  Nicotine is toxic to most animals as well as innumerable “lower” forms of life. But MJ? Yes indeed.

Chemical cannibinoids, like those produced by the marijuana plant, are very good at killing bacteria, fungi, and worms. Insects don’t seem to like them very much, either.

The reality is the real “drug war” started at least tens of millions of years ago. It was a war of plant against plant, plant against animal, animal against animal.  The goal was to stop anything that wanted to eat you.  Marijuana kept many an invader away. Nicotine was singularly successful in killing natural foes.

Which is why it’s still used.



Colony Collapse Disorder has stunned and scared people round the world.  The bees are dying.  No is sure why.

Yet many researchers have pointed to pesticides as one of the presumed culprits.  The main malfactor is  neonicotinoids, water soluble pesticide assassins that are sprayed on seeds and then move to reside everywhere in the plant.

Bees who eat those plants become foolish and crazy.  They can’t find their way back to the hive.  They can’t find food.  They may be ingesting nicotine instead of marijuana, but they’re still “stoned.”

The evidence has been sufficient for the European Food Safety Administration, roughly the equivalent of our FDA, to ban several neonicotinoids.  Not without dissension, however. The British thought the ban too wide, wishing to a nation of gardeners allowance to use it in their homes.

However, the EU is becoming considerably more alarmed about neonicotinoids.  More recent studies have implicated two of the more commonly used pesticides, imidacloprid and acetamiprid, as stopping normal nerve and brain developments in rodents – the standard toxicological stand-ins for humans. The EFSA wants levels of neonicotinoids to be lowered further.

That has not happened in the US where neonicotinoids remain legal.  Many fruit and nut growers are incensed.  They believe these pesticide-drugs are destroying the bee population. Without pollinators there are no crops.  Estimates are as high as 40% of the American food supply is potentially at risk.

For this is a country where regulation remains unpopular – unless, as with marijuana, the alternative is a jail term.


The Power of Pesticides

Drugs like nicotine produce intense pleasure.  They also create addiction and fatal overdoses.  How can such simple chemicals do so much?

Because they are powerful information molecules.

Cannabinoids, including the active ingredient in smoked and ingested marijuana, exist naturally in your brain.  In fact, they exist all over your brain, with innumerable connections to pretty much any region you choose to study.

Their chemical capacities vary from muscle relaxation to decreased anxiety to immune modulation.  Rather alike in their way to what nicotine can do.

Nicotine itself blocks acetylcholine receptors.  You use acetylcholine every time you move a muscle.  Acetylcholine changes the speed and activity of your heart.  Block it with nicotine, and the heart speeds, giving us the beginning of something we call excitement.

And what others describe as anxiety.

Marijuana – through cannabinoids – and tobacco – via nicotine – are powerful drugs that can pleasure or kill us. Because they work in so many places, particularly the brain, their effects redound on pretty much all human behavior.

Plus the dose, timing, and circumstances all change their effects on us.

Recognizing that tobacco is both a pesticide and a potent discharger of radioactivity (tobacco plants concentrate polonium 210) sometimes helps people stop smoking.  Knowing that marijuana can work as a pesticide may prevent some from imbibing.

But the magic of these molecules directly results from the natural way of earthly things.   We are all systems of information.  We are all remade by the chemicals we ingest, whether we think of them as food or drugs or toxins.  We allow these chemicals to manipulate us.  They can cause terror or excitement, pleasure or death.

They work because they remake us – and because we must constantly be remade to live.  Information molecules change the way our own biology and identity is renewed and regenerated.

Pesticide or pleasure?  One man’s meat is another man’s pleasure.


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4 Responses for “The pleasures of pesticides”

  1. Bill says:

    WILLIAM H GATHERCOLE AND NORAH G “harming bees with these insecticides is a MYTH ! Neonicotinoid insecticides cause NO harm, and WILL NOT harm bees”. Wow! An insecticide that doesn’t kill insects, are you out of your mind?

  2. Poison Profiteer says:

    Neonicotinoids most certainly kill bees, and many many species of insects, aquatic invertebrates, and of course the species which rely on insects and aquatic invertebrates, such as birds and fish. To claim otherwise is silly.

    The poison makers fund lots of so-called “research” to not find effects. They fund websites and individuals to further their claims that toxins that the toxic chlorinated hydrocarbons in the neonicotinoid family of nerve poisons are “safe”. These poisons are extremely damaging to our biosphere. Exposure is also being linked to many human health problems–these are nerve poisons.

    Instead of wasting time at industry shill websites like “Pesticide Truths” why not read a web portal that links to hundreds of peer-reviewed science studies that show the reality of these poisons: http://www.farmlandbirds.net/en/taxonomy/term/3

    Exploring the Connections–Bird Decline,
    Insect Decine, and Neonicotinoids

  3. Bee colony collapse disorder is NOT caused by neonicotinoid insecticides. Scientific research shows that, as reported through EPA’s and Health Canada’s vast toxicology database, no harm will occur to bees. The alleged losses of bees are, in fact, the fault of the bee-keepers and THEIR mis-management practices. They are responsible, and NOT neonicotinoid insecticides. Their prohibition will not save bees since harming bees with these insecticides is a MYTH ! Neonicotinoid insecticides cause NO harm, and WILL NOT harm bees. Researchers have NOT identified a single cause of over-wintering honeybee losses. Moreover, researchers have NOT been able to identify a single cause of bee colony collapse disorder. Under normal field use of neonicotinoid insecticides, the exposure to bees is at very low levels, far too low to cause harmful effects. There is NO evidence to suggest a link between neonicotinoid insecticides and bee colony collapse disorder. Overall, so-called links and causes between bee colony collapse disorder and neonicotinoid insecticides are mere MYTHS ! The weight of the scientific evidence clearly shows that neonicotinoid insecticides DO NOT affect long-term colony health. Overall, neonicotinoid insecticides play a NEGLIGIBLE role compared to diseases, viruses and loss of habitat. Most experts agree that, in recent years, bee colony collapse disorder is the result of a combination of factors, including parasitic mites and diseases. Recent scientific research points toward a combination of parasitic mites ( specifically the varroa mite ) and pathogens ( such as nosema and viral diseases ) as main factors. Although some neonicotinoid insecticides are toxic to bees upon direct contact ( as are many insecticides ), they are used in a way that minimizes any direct exposure to bees, such as seed treatment. Seed treatment insecticides have been used for a decade with almost NO incidences of negative impacts on bees by minimizing potential exposures of non-target insects such as bees. Independent, long-term, controlled field tests have repeatedly shown NO effects on bee losses, weight gain, worker longevity, brood development, honey yield, and over-winter survival relative to bees in areas where treated seed was not used. If we had less conventional neonicotinoid use in the environment, we would still have bee colony collapse disorder, because many bee-keepers are NOT competent to manage their hives. Prohibition will not save bees. http://tinyurl.com/pxqzh6m For the whole truth regarding BEES, go to The Pesticide Truths Web-Site … http://wp.me/p1jq40-6WJ http://wp.me/P1jq40-2BA http://wp.me/p1jq40-6H8 http://wp.me/p1jq40-7ty We are the National Organization Responding Against HUJE that seek to destroy the Green space and other industries ( NORAH G ). We are dedicated to reporting PESTICIDE FREE FAILURES, as well as the work of RESPECTED and HIGHLY RATED EXPERTS who promote ENVIRONMENTAL REALISM and PESTICIDE TRUTHS. Get the latest details at http://pesticidetruths.com/ http://pesticidetruths.com/toc/ http://wp.me/P1jq40-2rr https://www.facebook.com/norah.gfon WILLIAM H GATHERCOLE AND NORAH G

  4. Bill says:

    Unlike the EU and the precautionary principle, the US has adopted the monetary principle which states if a substance is profitable it must be safe.

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