Pesticides used on cannabis: A 2020 Recap

A lot went down in the cannabis pesticides world in 2020. Health Canada‘s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) gave new approvals for, or re-approved, nearly two dozen sprays for cannabis cultivation. In a much needed 2020 recap, let’s explore new and old pesticides used on cannabis.

pesticides used on cannabis

Here today, gone tomorrow (and back again)

Some pesticides were previously removed from the PMRA’s list of approved cannabis pesticides. A dismissal that came as no surprise was the fungicide, Prestop. This writing author speculated that a batch of recalled cannabis was connected to a harmless growth of the fungicide slightly before it was pulled. But, sometime during 2020, Prestop, as well as four other pesticides, were re-approved. Further dismissals in 2019 included three sprays by Neudorff. However, their pesticides were once again approved for use on cannabis in Canada in 2020.

That brings us to Actinovate SP by Monsanto partner, Novaenzymes Bioag. This spray was approved for use on cannabis in 2014. And in 2018, Novaenzymes requested that Health Canada remove its permission for cannabis cultivation. But, in 2020 that decision was clearly reverted since Acinovate SP is once again available to cannabis growers in Canada. In addition to this, the PMRA agency more recently approved a general insecticide by Novaenzymes Bioag.

Active IngredientCompany NameName of SprayProtects Against
Re-added Pesticides
Potassium Salts Of Fatty AcidsNeudorff GMBH KGNeudosan Commercial and Kopa Insecticidal SoapVarious Insects.
Canola OilNeudorff GMBH KGVegol Crop OilVarious Insects.
Streptomyces Lydicus Strain Wyec108Novozymes Bioag LimitedActinovate SPGrey Mold and Powdery Mildew.
Gliocladium CatenulatumDanstar Ferment AGPrestopSoil-borne and Foliar Diseases.
pesticides on cannabis 2020 recap
Photo courtesy of Havard University.

New cannabis sprays in 2020

Currently, 47 pesticides are approved for use on cannabis in Canada (at the time of writing.) In total, there are nine new active ingredients to cover in this series. Beyond the aforementioned sprays, there have been a few other exciting additions. Two of these consist of viruses, which will benefit any cannabis farmers who have been plagued by cabbage loops or corn earworm infestations.

Active IngredientCompany NameName of SprayProtects Against
californica Nucleopoly-
hedrovirus FV11
Sylvar Technologies Inc.LoopexCabbage Looper.
armigera Nucleopoly-
hedrovirus BV-0003
Sylvar Technologies Inc.HelicovexCorn Earworm.
Mineral Oil*Bioworks Inc.Suffoil-xVarious Insects.
Dematiaceous EarthDE Laboratories Inc.DX13 Industrial (Spray) And DustVarious Insects.
Metarhiziu Anisopliae Strain F52.Novozymes Bioag LimitedMet52 EC BioinsecticideGeneral Insecticide.
Streptomyces Lydicus strain WYEC 108Mustgrow Biologics Corp.CannaPMBotrytis grey mould and powdery mildew
Trichoderma Asperellum
Strain T34
Biocontrol Technologies, S.L.Asperello T34 BiocontrolWilt, Crown Rot, And Gummy Blight.

Trichoderma Harzianum Rifai Strain T-22*
Koppert Canada LimitedTrianum P Biological FungicideFusarium Root Rot and Cavity Spot.
Gliocladium Catenulatum*Danstar Ferment AGLalstop G46 WGSoil-borne and Foliar Diseases.

Bacillus Amyloliquefaciens, Strain D747
Certis Usa LLCDouble Nickel LC and Double Nickel 55Fungal and Bacterial Diseases.

Bacillus Mycoides Isolate J
Certis Usa LLCLifegard WGPathogen Defense System.
Soil sterilization
ChloropicrinTriest Ag Group, Inc.Pic Plus and Chloropicrin 100 LiquidSoil Pathogens.
*Active ingredient was previously approved for use on cannabis under a different brand.

Spring cleaning for 2021

With springtime approaching, outdoor cannabis farms have preparations to begin their next season in Canada. One of the first steps is to prepare the soil, which can be teeming with bad bugs (soil microbes, molds, and other pests). We will discuss the approval given to soil fumigants and living soil as an alternative to a dead one in the next release.

Let us know if you think there is enough transparency in Canada’s legal cannabis industry in regards to Pest Management Practices in the comments. And stay tuned for a deeper dive into some of the pesticides recently permitted for use on cannabis in 2020 and beyond.