What is PGR Weed

A close up shot of a cannabis plant displaying one of its buds, ready to harvest.

Hemp flowers have become a staple for CBD lovers. Producers and dispensaries have created various strains that can be legally smoked, preserving some of the best rituals from cannabis culture.

However, this increasing demand for hemp-based weed has also sped things. From super exotic strains like the Zaza flower to really cheap and low-quality flower are some things growers have turned to for the consumer’s attention.

Cheap weed might sound great at first, but it can contain traces of PGR. Plant growth regulators are one of the most common chemicals used in agriculture to allow for more yield. These compounds have several adverse effects that can affect your health.

If you want to know how to detect if there’s PGR in your weed, some of the most common side effects, and what to do with these chemicals, we’ve prepared this article to help you. So take a deep breath and read below how these chemicals might affect hemp flowers.

Key Takeaways

  • PGRs are chemicals used by cannabis and hemp growers to maximize the yields of their plants.
  • PGRs alter your weed’s chemical structure, aroma and smell. Plus, they can be dangerous to your health, even in low quantities. 
  • Always ensure your weed is PGR-free by getting it from trusted brands like Botany Farms. 

What is PGR in Weed

PGR (Plant Growth Regulator) weed is becoming pretty common in the hemp and cannabis scene. This happens when hemp growers use PGR with their crops to enhance or increase the value of their buds and overall yield.

Think of it as using hormones to get weed faster and better. However, this is not very good if you want healthy hemp yield or want to try different kinds of cannabinoids, terpenes, or even naturally highly potent strains with trichome crystals.

PGRs can help some lacking growers so their crops yield more buds. This is worrying, as there is evidence that the chemicals used can be dangerous and have adverse health effects.

Most Common PGRs

Now, let’s go with three of the most common Plant Growth Regulators that some hemp growers use: Paclobutrazol, Chlormequat Chloride, and Daminozide.


Paclobutrazol might be one of the worst three chemicals, especially if you smoke or vape it. The main problem with this chemical is that it transforms into nitrosamines when heated. These compounds are responsible for different adverse effects.

In fact, Nitrosamines are one of the main components in tobacco cigarettes associated with cancer due to their highly carcinogenic properties.

Chlormequat Chloride

This chemical is used in plant growth to help growers have sturdier plants with thicker stalks. It has been used in ornamental flowers and even cereal crops to help them increase yield, which makes sense for hemp growers to want to get more buds.

However, there’s evidence that this pesticide and retardant can irritate if swallowed or when it has contact with your skin. When burnt, it can cause toxic fumes, which can lead to eye irritation, and there is research on high doses in animal studies that might cause convulsions.

Daminozide (Alar)

Daminozide, known as Alar, has also been classified as a probable carcinogen. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported that this pesticide has been used in agricultural commodities, like fruits, vegetables, and food crops. 

What to Know About PGR for Weed

PGRs might sound good at first, but these chemicals can affect your smoking experience in several ways. And much like newer cannabinoids like Delta-7 THC or CBGA, research is needed to understand how it can affect your body in both the short and long term.

With that said, we have a few insights about how PGR works with weed as agricultural products. Let’s review some of the most important ones.

PGRs Can Alter Chemical Structure

Most hemp plants will have similar characteristics whether the flower s grown indoors or outdoors. This includes their chemical structure, which by law has to be tested due to Delta-9 THC content in a lab.

Foreign substances like PGRs can change the natural structure of plants. While there is not much evidence of the degree of these chemical transformations, the key takeaway is that PGRs remain after the harvest and modify the plants’ structure.

PGRs Can Affect Flavor

Another issue with PGRs is that they can affect the flavor due to the blockage of the plant’s natural hormones. This affects the plant’s usual growth, from getting a specific terpene profile to trichome crystals.

PGRs Can Affect Texture

This hormonal change can also affect the bud’s texture and form. PGR-treated weed looks unusually compact, with fewer colors and barely any trichome crystals. Expert growers and cannaseurs might get the difference as one bud from a specific strain might look drastically different when treated with PGRs.

Their Use is Becoming More Common

As there’s a new brand or grower every day, competition in the hemp space has never been as present as today. These days brands want to maximize their revenue and have larger yields, which has led growers to use these chemicals to satisfy the demand.

Thanks to this, PGRs have become more prevalent in the growing community. Brands see these chemicals from big to small farms as a way to fatten their profits without considering the final consumer.

PGR Weed Effects 

As a grower, having more plants and more buds to sell is always a good option. PGRs, however, can be detrimental to your health and have toxic properties that are backed up by scientific research

PGR can have both short-term and long-term problems when consuming it. If you came in contact with one or had a toke of PGR weed, you might have skin or eye irritations, respiratory distress, nausea, and even vomiting.

Long-term effects of PGR can lead to even worse adverse effects, such as lung damage, low antioxidant levels, and even detriment to reproductive health in men and women. The study mentioned above also lists carcinogen and hepatoxic properties with these types of compounds.

Is PGR Cannabis Safe to Consume?

No, PGRs are not safe to consume in any way. In fact, two of the primary chemicals used in the industry, Alar, and Paclobutrazol, are both considered carcinogenic. 

We also don’t fully know how these compounds might affect human health, potentially leading to adverse effects. This is why we don’t recommend trying or consuming PGR-treated hemp flowers, as their lab studies might not even really show their composition.

What is the Best PGR for Weed

As stated above, PGRs are not good for your health and might have strong short-term and long-term adverse effects. We don’t recommend any plant growth retardant to use while growing hemp. 

And from a grower or hobbyist perspective, if you want a more significant yield, you could try opting for other strains that can give more buds per plant or planting hemp outdoors so stalks can give more buds.

How Can You Spot PGR Cannabis

Let’s step back a little and check some PGR weed characteristics. Some of the features of this kind of bud are most noticeable on the outside. From the lack of smell, texture, the lack of crystals, and even odd colorations, PGR buds differ drastically from hemp and cannabis nugs.

Let’s quickly review some of the most important things to notice from PGR buds.

Dense and Heavy Buds

The PGR-treated flower has a noticeably denser consistency. This kind of herb might look unnaturally thick and have small nugs. Some users have even reported it feels pretty similar to products like moon rocks, with more weight and no added distillate.

Spongey/Wet Feeling

PGR can make the buds of your weed have a sponge-like feeling. Kind of like having a semi-wet sponge in the shape of a dense weed nug. If your bud’s texture is similar and doesn’t have any sauce or cannabinoids on top, you might be looking at a PGR bud.

Lack of Crystals Found on the Leaf

Since Plant Growth Retardants affect hormone production in the plant, it is common to find treated plants without trichome crystals. If your bud does not have any tiny crystals and similar varieties from other growers usually do, you might have found PGR weed.

Brown or Red Hairs (Pistils)

While some varieties might have red or purple coloration, brown and red pistils are actually not good signs. Users have reported that looking at weeds with these colors and dense texture might be evidence of plant growth retardants in your hemp.

Low THC/CBD Content

Hormonal growth can be blocked with PGR, meaning the cannabinoid content on your bud might also be affected. If your grower claims that their buds have really low cannabinoid content or if their lab results throw something unusually low, better stay away from these nugs.

Harsh Chemical Taste

Some strains might have a chemical or even an “electric” taste. We recommend checking if the strain you are getting has that flavor profile or if any parent buds have it. If they don’t, that might be another insight if your bud has been treated with PGRs or not.

No/Low Smell When Breaking Up Bud

Weed, in general, is very fragrant. Some strains might have different smells or terpene profiles, but most buds are fragrant and even more when ground up. If your buds do not have strong odors when broken up, your herb might also be tainted with PGR.

A Fast-acting Chemical High that May Cause Lethargy (Low Energy and Motivation) and Headaches

Long-time hemp and cannabis smokers know the natural high feeling slowly takes over after having a puff. However, PGR weed has been reported by users to give a quick, almost chemical high that might cause adverse effects, including lethargy and headaches.

If smoking your bud irritates your eyes or mouth, it might also indicate that PGR chemicals are present in your bud. If this happens, we recommend checking with your healthcare provider.

Why Choose Quality Flower

Now that you know what to look for in PGR-treated weed, you might want a small break from all the bad news. Luckily, at the Botany Farms store, we have different kinds of high-quality strains that use no pesticides or growth retardants that you can try.

For CBD-only plants, you can try two strains that are opposite in effects but share a high cannabinoid content. If you like fruity and a little sour profile, the sativa strain Shaolin Gleaux is the perfect choice with its hefty 31.6% cannabinoid content.

Now, for something relaxing, the berry and piney Zombie Kush has reported couch-locking effects that can be a treat after a long day. This strain has 32.6% of cannabinoid content, which makes it pretty potent.

Delta-8 THC flower can also be a good option if you want to add psychoactive effects to your session. You can try it in our tropical and sour Delta-8 Pineapple Haze strain or try a milky and sweet option with the Delta-8 Fruit Loops Flower.

And if you don’t feel like committing to a single strain, for now, prerolls are a solid choice to try different strains. Our favorites are full of mangoes and tropical fruit, Sour Hawaiian Haze, or the sour candy-like notes of the Super Sour Space Candy Pre-Rolls. Or try the CBG and Delta-8 THC blend with White CBG Pre-Rolls for some delicious tokes and soothing relaxation.

Thanks for stopping by. Why not give something from our Farm a try?

Delta 9 THC Gummies Watermelon


Delta 8 THC Gummies Tropical Mix