Why Smoking Moldy Weed Is Never Worth It
Picture this: you’re on the couch and feel the desire to roll up a little doobie. You pull out your trusty jar of buds, take a closer look, and… something doesn’t look right. What is that? Is it mold? Is it safe to smoke moldy weed? In this article, we’ll tell you about the dangers of smoking moldy weed, as well as the various ways you can detect those fungal invaders in your precious smokeables before it’s too late.
Consequences Of Smoking Moldy Weed
Is it safe to smoke moldy weed? Absolutely not! Moldy weed is full of mycotoxins and endotoxins which, when inhaled, can cause inflammation and lung irritation. For smokers with compromised immune systems, this means the risk of lung infection, asthma or pneumonia. The side-effects of smoking moldy weed are usually a bad headache and a nasty cough. If you smoke moldy weed too much, you could have other signs of acute mold/mildew exposure such as fatigue, general weakness and chest pain, to name a few.
Mold Resistant Cannabis Strains
Types Of Mold Present On Cannabis
There are three main types of mold which are, in turn, a category of fungus, that you’ll find on cannabis. Let’s break down exactly why they’re bad for you and what happens if you smoke moldy weed.
Aspergillus, the first of these fungi, is a fungus that produces mycotoxins that aren’t burned away when you light up that joint. Although only usually serious for the immuno-compromised, Aspergillus can cause Aspergillosis, a fungal infection that can lead to a cough, fever, chest pain and difficulty breathing.
Cannabis Strains For Concentrates
The next formidable fungus you could find in cannabis is Cladosporium, which is a common plant fungus. This type of mold doesn’t produce mycotoxins, but possible side-effects of inhaling it are hay fever symptoms, asthma attacks, or in very serious cases, developing pneumonia.
Our final foe is Botrytis, more commonly known as gray mold. This is the most common of the three that you could find on cannabis, and is also easily identifiable by its cobweb-like appearance. Like the others, inhaling this type of mold can lead to respiratory issues or even severe allergic reactions.
How Can I Detect Mold On My Stored Bud?
You’ll need to use your senses: sight and smell, though not (hopefully) taste. You’ll see yellow, gray or white mold on weed that looks like cobwebs interwoven in the buds, dark green spots, or a powdery mildew that looks like sawdust or sugar. The smell of moldy weed is also hard to miss: it often smells like sweat or urine. If you’re wondering what moldy weed tastes like, it’s pretty harsh and is followed up with heavy coughing and pain.
Catching Mold While You’re Growing
To avoid mold growth on your plants, you should keep a close eye on how the plant smells and looks. If your roots are musty and stinky, discolored, or there’s white fuzz in the soil, those are signs of root rot. Another indication of molding is yellowing, drooping leaves, which themselves can also develop suspicious white powder. The worst-case scenario is when mold affects the buds directly, making them unusable and even dangerous. So make sure to inspect buds to catch the first signs of what looks like fuzzy white/gray hairs and smells musty.
Mold Prevention Tips
Now that you know how to detect mold on your buds and plants, how about some tips on how to prevent the development of mold in the first place? The earlier you take preventative measures, the more likely you are to keep your buds healthy.
Storing Cannabis: Cool, Dark And Airtight
If you didn’t know this already, there are ideal conditions to store your cannabis to not only prevent mold, but also preserve taste and potency. Always use an airtight container – better a glass jar than a plastic bag – with some room for air. Keep it in a dark, dry area ideally around 77°F (25°C) and with a relative humidity (RH) below 65%. If you live somewhere hot and humid, using a humidity pack to store your bud is a good call.
Best Ways To Store Weed
Keep Your Crops Healthy
As for the growers among you, the conditions that your plant grows in are incredibly important to the health and success of your crop. The best way to protect against mold is to keep your plants in a clean, dry and well-ventilated space. Air circulation is crucial to maintaining humidity and temperature levels right for the growing requirements specified by each seed bank. Maintain your temperature and humidity and reduce contamination risk, and your plants should be just fine.
Just Don’t Smoke Moldy Marijuana
Bottom line, smoking weed with mold can be VERY bad for you! Even if you’re the perfect picture of health, inhaling mold into your lungs is not ideal at all and can still lead to health issues. So, can moldy buds be saved? Honestly, no – you should probably toss them out. Better safe than sorry!
Herbies Head Shop expressly refuses to support the use, production, or supply of illegal substances. For more details read our Legal Disclaimer.
Smoking weed with mold can be very bad for you! Today we’ll tell you about the dangers of smoking moldy weed, as well as the various ways you can detect those fungal invaders in your precious smokeables before it’s too late
How to identify and avoid buying moldy weed
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- What is mold?
- What happens if you smoke moldy weed?
- How to check for moldy weed
- How to keep your cannabis mold-free
Mold is never a welcome sight. Not in bread or cheese, and certainly not in your cannabis. Moldy weed is not only disgusting, it’s dangerous. Consuming mold-infested weed can have some serious adverse effects. But how do you know if your bud’s been infected?
Nearly every legal state has some sort of microbial lab testing requirement for regulated cannabis sales. These tests check for mold and mildew in batches of marijuana. However, even legal markets have seen their share of moldy cannabis over the years.
Read on to learn how to identify and avoid buying moldy weed and how to store weed so it doesn’t get moldy.
What is mold?
Mold is a catchall term for fungus that reproduces via lightweight, airborne spores. Humans inhale or ingest minuscule amounts of mold every day. It is typically harmless in small quantities since a healthy immune system can successfully prevent any damage.
Mold found on marijuana buds, or flower, is the same kind that grows on other plants. Botrytis (responsible for bud rot ), Mucor, Cladosporium, Rhizopus, and Penicillium (the mold responsible for penicillin) are the most common. Mold thrives in humid or moist environments that lack proper air ventilation.
Mold found on marijuana buds, or flower, is the same kind that grows on other plants. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
In cannabis mold most often develops when the bud isn’t dried correctly, though it can form in earlier stages of cultivation, such as in a too-humid grow room. Improperly dried weed stored in an airtight container for curing creates an ideal breeding ground for mold.
Mold spores are tricky to eliminate. They can survive the intense heat of a lighter when smoking a hit and they don’t burn off in the oven when weed is decarbed. Some molds produce mycotoxins too, which can be carcinogenic.
What happens if you smoke moldy weed?
When you smoke moldy weed, you inhale the fungus directly into your lungs. Those with compromised immune systems are at risk of developing a lung infection. Smoking moldy weed is also dangerous for those with allergies to mold-based antibiotics such as penicillin.
A study published in “ Clinical Microbiology and Infection” 2017 found molds such as Aspergillus, Mucor, and other potentially harmful fungi in cannabis samples procured from northern California dispensaries. By smoking moldy weed medical marijuana patients risk fungal infections and other problems.
The bottom line is moldy weed cannot be made fit for use once contaminated. Always throw away moldy weed, even if your risk for infection is low.
How to check for moldy weed
Thankfully, there are several ways to determine if your flower is mold-free.
Use the naked eye method
Eyeballing your weed is by far the easiest way to check for mold.
Healthy cannabis should be covered in spindly, glittering trichomes. Trichomes are sparkly glands with tiny hairs that appear almost crystalline in structure, separated by distinct trichome nodules with space in between them.
These are significant signs to keep in mind as you visually examine your bud.
Some mold looks like cobwebs in the bud, leaving behind a cotton candy-like webbing that’s gray or white in appearance. This could also be caused by spider mites, but you don’t want to smoke bug-infested weed either.
Another type of mold looks suspiciously like kief but is far from the real thing. Powdery mildew is a form of fungus that leaves a gray or white powder-like appearance. It is usually dull and muted in color, and looks like dust compared to the sparkle of trichomes or kief.
Other mold signs are dark spots, gray or yellow fuzz, or a slimy residue. If you find mildew in your marijuana, quickly dispose of it and check the facility or container where it was stored to make sure it hasn’t spread to other buds.
Use your nose
The countless terpene combinations in cannabis present a wide array of aromas, from dank to exotic fruit to skunk. Moldy weed, however, has a very distinct and unpleasant aroma. Moldy marijuana smells like human sweat, urine, or musty hay, all of which are typically repulsive to the human nose. A quick whiff should tell you whether your weed’s been infected with mildew.
Moldy weed has a very distinct and unpleasant aroma. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Sniffing isn’t foolproof, however. Some people are more sensitive to cannabis’ aromatic nuances than others, and some users who are allergic to mold may have a reaction if they sniff too closely. And some molds don’t produce a smell, especially infestations that have only just taken root.
Use tools to check for mold
Consumers can also detect mold in their weed using low-powered microscopes, many of which are cheaply available online. Under a lens, mold produces filaments that look nothing like bubbly trichomes. If it doesn’t look like weed, it might be mold.
Black lights also can help reveal mold spores in your bud. Most mold glows an eerie green when illuminated by a black light, making it easier to identify.
Review brand websites and media for recalls
The best way to protect yourself from smoking moldy bud is to purchase lab-tested cannabis from a licensed dispensary. However, the legal marijuana market is expanding more rapidly than testing facilities and regulations can keep up with. And where legal restrictions still exist, illicitly produced marijuana products can still contain residual pesticides, fungicides, and microbial substances.
Keep an eye on local media, brand websites, and state and city websites for recalls of particular batches of products to help you discover unfit bud.
How to keep your cannabis mold-free
Storage is of the utmost importance when it comes to keeping your bud free from mold. Marijuana exposed to improper temperature, light, humidity, and air risks mold development, but there are things you can do to extend your weed’s shelf life and health.
Storage is of the utmost importance when it comes to keeping your bud free from mold. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
First, make sure your weed is properly dried and cured. Most professional cultivators should do this right, but when growing your own bud, it’s essential to allow the flowers to dry correctly . The process can take up to seven days and should be done with care in proper environmental conditions. Correctly dried weed will cure successfully, maintaining the perfect balance between dry enough to smoke and moist enough to preserve the terpenes and trichomes. .
Store your bud in a cool, dry place but not in the freezer or refrigerator. It’s too cold, and the exposure to moisture is potentially mold-inducing. The ideal storage temperature for your flower is just below 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep buds in airtight containers made of dark-colored glass. Mason jars and the like limit air and humidity exposure that could encourage mold development. Many dispensaries sell containers precisely for this purpose.
Finally, cannabis requires precise humidity levels to maintain its dry-but-not-too-dry, smokeable goodness . The humidity in your storage jars should stay between 59% and 63% to keep things perfect. You can buy disposable humidity packs, such as Boveda packs, to add to your jars.
How to identify and avoid buying moldy weed Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is mold? What happens if you smoke moldy weed? How to