Plant Growth Regulators (PGR’s): How They Affect Cannabis

Cultivators of cannabis are always looking for new and improved formulas for bettering their products. After all, the better the grower the better the yields may be. The most experienced growers out there know how to use nature on their side and produce above-average results. Some growers, who may not be as experienced, try to use plant growth regulators to do the same thing.

These plant growth regulators (or pgr’s) are used to synthetically make cannabis look, and feel, much better. However, the key word here is “synthetic” and this word is often associated with negative side effects. For example, synthetic cannabis is nothing like real cannabis and can actually be fatal. Pgr’s may not be fatal… in the short term.

Don’t Confuse With Nature

Before you go off assuming all pgr’s are evil, there are a few things you must take into consideration first. Nature sometimes has a way of making synthetic pgr’s seem present. These plant growth regulators are intended to make buds look more dense and bulky, but nature can also do that:

It’s Done in Indica Strains

Compared with sativa, indica strains are naturally more dense and bulky. While you may believe you found some pgr’s, you may simply be looking at an indica strain believing it’s a sativa.

Growing Conditions Play a Part

Certain growing conditions, such as weather (if outdoor growing), lighting, nutrients and a few others can affect a plant’s bud density. For example, it has been proven that increasing a plant’s exposure to light (yet not overdoing it) can increase bud density. Many growers use this to their advantage.

In Some Plants, PGR’s Are Natural

Some plants, not cannabis unfortunately, naturally produce pgr’s. This is why we must put emphasis on “synthetic” pgr’s and not all pgr’s.

Why Are They Used?

With and Without PGRs

Simply put, pgr’s are used in cannabis plants to make the buds appear bigger, denser and weigh more. These synthetic pgr’s are either sprayed onto the plant or fed to it through the soil.

Many cannabis companies market their pgr-filled buds as better quality, also as cannabis with more “bud per buds”. These companies look to increase profits by using pgr’s more often in their buds, therefore convincing customers that they offer “top quality” cannabis that costs more than the regular stuff. Some cultivators also do this as a way to increase profits.

Due to the competitive nature of the business markets, using pgr’s is very tempting for many companies since it can lead to more sales and overall profit growth. It can also help cut costs: you can use pgr’s to grow one plant the size of two, effectively removing the need to feed two plants. Grocery stores do something similar with their fresh produce. Fruits are injected with additives to make them appear shiny and more appealing.

Those who have no knowledge on pgr’s may believe that buds full of them are simply better buds than buds that are all natural. This is not the case, however. Hopefully, this post will shed some light for those who know little about growth regulators. Because even with all of these benefits from the pgr’s (which really only benefit the sellers), many consumers are wondering if there are any dangers that come along with smoking or consuming buds with pgr’s.

Are They Harmful?

Yes, pgr’s do pose a risk to our health. Even with these risks, there is no need to worry about the pgr’s you have already consumed/the ones you will soon after this. Short term use is not fatal and you do not need to fear it… in the short term. Long term use of pgr’s, however, can have a significantly negative effect on your health. It is the same thing with tobacco: smoking one cigarette will not kill you, but smoking them for many years just might.

Starting in the 1920’s, pgr’s were used in many foods to help them grow and have a longer shelf life. However, by the late 1980’s, they became banned for human consumption as new research indicated that pgr’s can be classified as a carcinogen (and the government did classify them as such). Unfortunately, pgr’s are not regulated in cannabis cultivation as they are in the food industry.

Added to cannabis, pgr’s can reduce trichomes on buds, which are what determines how many cannabinoids (such as THC and CBD) will be present in the buds. They also affect how the buds will create terpenes, which in turn reduces the flavors and scents.

Cannabis Trichomes Close Up

One thing to note is that just because one cannabis bud is denser than another (from a different plant) does not mean it is better quality. A better indicator of a bud’s quality is the level of trichomes present, which can be visibly seen on buds (small white crystals). Also, look for a strong scent on the buds, as pgr’s are known to remove this pungency.

For all of your future cannabis purchases, you should always attempt to avoid pgr-filled buds. Hopefully this post cleared up some information about these bud enhancers. Know some people who should learn about pgr’s too? Use one of the share buttons below to get this post in their hands! Thanks for reading!

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Evan Weston

Evan Weston is a contributor to Reefer Posts, a growing community for exploring the developing market of Cannabis and CBD-related products. He spends a lot of time researching the development of health-related products that utilize Cannabis and CBD oils. He also keeps tabs on the developing legal environment regarding medical, recreational cannabis use, and production.

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