People Born After 1970, Colon Cancer, and Cannabis

There’s growing concern over the increasing numbers of young people who are developing colorectal cancer, and there are a lot of possible reasons being discussed for many emerging epidemics affecting people under 50 that include cancer, obesity and diabetes. 

An overlooked source of the colorectal cancer and other epidemics afflicting people at younger ages than in the past may be that millions of young people now in their 20’s, 30s and 40s have been smoking and vaping Cannabis since adolescence, and that Cannabis has been almost universally contaminated with a wide range of pesticides – in many documented instances, more heavily contaminated than tobacco products.

When you pair this with the fact that since the 1950s tobacco products have been heavily contaminated with these same pesticides, and when you realize that the cancer, obesity and diabetes epidemics now hitting young people have been killing generations of tobacco smokers in increasing numbers since the 1960s (all called ‘smoking-related diseases’), there’s just a hint of a connection, don’t you think?

Long-term pesticide exposure by inhalation from Cannabis, with or without parallel tobacco use, certainly looks like a candidate for close attention when we’re thinking about colorectal cancer in young people born after 1970.

To be clear, Cannabis is a blessing for people with cancer. People with colorectal cancer, and the 200+ other kinds of cancer, have had life-changing results using Cannabis to deal with pain, nausea, and the other grim experiences that accompany this disease.  

However, there’s also solid research showing that both medical and recreational Cannabis are widely contaminated with pesticide residues, and there’s strong science linking pesticide exposure to the development and progression of colon cancer.

This suggests in the strongest terms that people with medical needs must grow their own Cannabis or buy only from trusted local growers.

Here are just a few supporting citations – you’ll find many more with a simple search “pesticides colon cancer”.

Increased exposure to pesticides and colon cancer: Early evidence in Brazil (2018)

Association between Pesticide Exposure and Colorectal Cancer Risk and Incidence: A Systematic Review (2021)

Association between cigarette smoking and colorectal cancer sidedness: A multi-center big-data platform-based analysis

Amazingly, there’s quite literally never been any research on the health effects of inhaling low levels of single, much less multiple pesticides over time. This is especially strange considering the never-ending anti-smoking campaigns that surround us with never a mention of the health effects of steadily inhaling a fusion of pesticides with every puff of those terrible cigarettes.

  • All ‘allowable’ levels of Cannabis pesticides set by state regulators are based on extrapolations from data on dietary and skin exposure and in many specific instances these extrapolations are clearly not based on science. 
  • There has been zero consideration of interactions or synergies between individual pesticides or between classes of pesticides, like insecticides and fungicides, when multiple pesticides are aerosolized and volatilized together and inhaled during regular, often daily Cannabis smoking or vaping.

In spite of the absence of any research data, and regardless of the abdication of their duty to protect on the part of state regulators, we are all free to grow our own organic Cannabis, if we have the means to do so, and commercial growers with an eye to future prosperity would be well-advised to begin finding ways to grow organically. That’s because once the role of inhaled pesticides in human health is fully understood there will be new, unlimited opportunities for the courageous organic Cannabis growers who are struggling to survive these days against corporate Cannabis with its reliance on chemical technology for economic advantage.

Oregon’s experience is broadly representative of the pesticide contamination found on both medical and recreational Cannabis, and on ‘black market’ Cannabis in other US states, Canada and the EU. Given the broad range of pesticides shown below there’s little doubt that individual Oregon smokers and vapers have been and are being exposed to fusions of multiple pesticides, each with its own toxicity profile and none ever tested for the effects of exposure by inhalation, with every toke of any Oregon Cannabis flower that hasn’t been grown by organic standards.

Table 1.

Pesticides found in Oregon Cannabis 2015-2019.

Chemical classesPesticidesaOn ODA listbWHO classificationcSourced
AzolesImazalil*NoModerately hazardousBoth
MyclobutanilNoModerately hazardousBoth
Propiconazole*NoModerately hazardousBoth
Tebuconazole*NoModerately hazardousBoth
BenzenoidsMetalaxyl*NoModerately HazardousBoth
CarbarylNoModerately hazardousBoth
PropoxurNoModerately hazardousRecreational
Carbofuran*NoHighly hazardousRecreational
Methiocarb*NoHighly hazardousBoth
Oxamyl*NoHighly hazardousRecreational
Aldicarb*NoExtremely hazardousRecreational
Keto-enolsSpiromesifenNoNon-hazardous slightlyBoth
Imidacloprid*NoModerately hazardousBoth
ThiaclopridNoModerately hazardousRecreational
OrganophosphatesMalathion*NoSlightly hazardousBoth
AcephateNoModerately hazardousRecreational
Chlorpyrifos*NoModerately hazardousBoth
Diazinon*NoModerately hazardousBoth
Dimethoate*NoModerately hazardousRecreational
Naled*NoModerately hazardousRecreational
PhosmetNoModerately hazardousRecreational
Dichlorvos*NoHighly hazardousBoth
Ethoprophos*NoExtremely hazardousBoth
Methyl-parathion*NoExtremely hazardousBoth
Plant Growth RegulatorsBifenazate*NoNon-hazardousBoth
PaclobutrazolNoModerately hazardousBoth
PyrazolesChlorfenapyrNoModerately hazardousBoth
FenpyroximateNoModerately hazardousBoth
Bifenthrin*NoModerately hazardousBoth
Cypermethrin*NoModerately hazardousBoth
PrallethrinNoModerately hazardousBoth
Pyrethrins*YesModerately hazardousBoth
Beta-cyfluthrin*NoHighly hazardousBoth
Cyfluthrin*NoHighly hazardousBoth
SpinosynsSpinosad*NoSlightly hazardousBoth
TetrazinesClofentezineNoSlightly hazardousBoth

Restricted-use pesticides are indicated by * that require a certified pesticide applicator (CFR, 2019).

Pesticide is present on the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s (ODA’s) recommended pesticide list for cannabis.

Classification based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines (WHO, 2010).

Pesticides found in samples from recreational, medicinal, or both sources.

Table 2

Pesticides found in 5 tobacco brands

Finally, here are the pesticides found in a 2022 commercial cigarette study by the Saudi Ministry of Health – the first such study in over 50 years by any government agency or private institution anywhere.

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