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Planetary Citizen
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Registered: 02/19/11
Posts: 468
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Last seen: 1 year, 11 months
Plant Growth Regulators Poison?
    #612093 - 03/08/12 10:38 PM (6 years, 1 month ago)

Recently Rambo posted an article  titled 7 problems with tall marijuana plants where he mentioned plant growth regulators (PGR). Some of these chemicals are in fact poisonous and have been banned for use on food crops in most civilized countries. Despite the known dangers of these products they are still used under license by the USDA on ornamental crops. The use of these PGRs are visible in many ornamental species available at nursery and garden stores, explaining why you find Azaleas and Zinnias blooming at 3 inches tall.

Regulations for fertilizer labeling in the USA is strict but varies from state to state. Despite these regulations, formulators are not always required to list every ingredient in their products; these recipes are protected as “trade secrets”.  For this reason formulators have been allowed to market known toxins to unsuspecting farmers for some time. Fortunately a formal inquiry conducted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has revealed the truth behind these insidious products. The CDFA tested several products, and the findings have since been made public, thanks, in part to the Freedom of Information Act. Below is a summary of the lab results, to view the full report simply click the product name.

(PDF Links will open in new window)
Bushmaster: 271ppm Paclobutrazol
Gravity: 516ppm Paclobutrazol
Flower Dragon: 18,400-18,650ppm Daminozide, 30-46.3ppm Paclobutrazol
TopLoad: 3,467ppm Daminozide
Phosphoload: 17,800ppm Daminozide, 20.6ppm Paclobutrazol
Recall Notice

So the secret is out.  These guys have been marketing poison to the marijuana growing community for years and have been getting away with it.  Lets take a look at some of the ridiculous claims and out right lies made by these not so reputable vendors.

Here is the sales pitch used by Emerald Triangle’s marketing department to sell their product called “Gravity”:

“Our uniquely prepared kelp extract and phosphorus based additive will harden your flowers from the top to the bottom. A little goes a long way. Use once or twice about 3 weeks before the end of a plant’s cycle. Adds size and weight to flowering plants.”

Thanks to the CDFA report, we now know that Gravity is in fact a PGR called Paclobutrazol. This chemical retards internode length and reduces maturation time significantly. When used on marijuana, this results in tighter flowering tops that can be harvested earlier. This has made Gravity an attractive fertilizer additive to many unsuspecting growers.

The makers of Phosphoload, Dutch Masters market their product with these out-right lies;

“Dutch Master PhosphoLoad utilizes a new technology which extracts unique isolates from coal derived humates. These are powerful earth elements that unlock the floodgates for a fast & powerful flowering response. When used, PhosphoLoad produces dramatically larger and heavier yields of flowers with an average yield increase of 25 to 30%.”

While Phosphoload may contain “powerful earth elements” it also includes; 17,800ppm Daminozide and 20.6ppm Paclobutrazol. These two dangerous chemicals are not approved for crops intended for human consumption, and should never be used for growing medicine.

Products known to contain Paclobutrazol and Daminozide have been banned for sale in California and Oregon but are still readily available through Internet distributors, and who knows how much is still in the hands of marijuana growers.  In truth this regional ban will have very little effect on the availability if these PGRs. The good news for users of medical cannabis is that companies now offer testing for these dangerous chemicals. SC Laboratory’s in Santa Cruz California is one of these companies currently testing PGR’s in medical marijuana.


IUPAC name: N-(Dimethylamino)succinamic acid
Molecular formula: C6N2H12O3
Commercial trade names: Alar, Kylar, B-NINE, DMASA, SADH, B 995
Consumer Products: Flower Dragon, Top Load, Phosphoload

Daminozide has been shown to promote early fruit set, blossom set, and enhance color in apples, tomatoes, grapes, stone fruit and ornamental plants.

Daminozide was approved for sale in the USA in 1963 and was popularized by apple farmers until 1989 when it was nearly banned by the FDA as a suspected carcinogen. At that time it’s manufacturer Uniroyal Chemical Company withdrew it from the market for use on food crops but continued to offer it for use on ornamental plants. That same year the television program 60 minutes featured a segment outlining concerns of the use of Daminozide and cancer causing apples. This created a terrified public that refused to buy apples resulting in a law suit filed by apple producers against CBS, NRDC and Fenton Communications for 100 million dollars in damages.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently lists Daminozide as a probable human carcinogen. At present, further testing is required to clarify how dangerous it really is. 


IUPAC name: (2S,3S)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)pentan-3-ol
Molecular Formula: C15H20ClN3O
Commercial Trade names: Cultar, Astar, Bonzi, Clipper, Holdfost, Klipper, MET, Parlay, PP333
Consumer products: Bushmaster, Gravity, Phosphoload, Flower Dragon

Paclobutrazol retards plant growth by inhibiting the plants natural production of natural growth hormones called Gibberellins. This results in shorter internode length, greater root development, early fruit set, enhanced fruit set, and a reduction in frost sensitivity. Paclobutrazol is also marketed as a fungicide

Paclobutrazol is banned in most European countries while the US EPA lists it as “Moderately Hazardous” and states, “This substance has not undergone a complete evaluation and determination under US EPA’s IRIS program for evidence of human carcinogenic potential”. At this time it appears that Paclobutrazol has not been banned but has no food use registrations in the USA.

I encourage readers to investigate the use of PGRs in greater detail. It’s important to understand that these chemicals dramatically alter the natural behaviour of plants. PGR’s in comparable doses used different plant species can have very different effects. The exact biology of some of these complex hormone-like interactions is still under study. It’s possible that we will never fully understand the effects of PGRs on produce intended for consumption via combustion.


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