Stoner Alert: Smoking Moldy Cannabis
“Damn you! Damn you, you filthy mold!” You don’t want to scream this barechested on your knees before a cannabis garden ravaged by mold. Weed mold is no joke for stoners and this article just might save your life one terrible day.
RED ALERT: BUD MOLD
We don’t mean to be alarmist, but in our opinion, moldy weed is public enemy #1. Of all the pests, plagues, rotten bad luck and scourges of Mother Nature, that can possibly strike a marijuana garden, it’s cannabis mold, that’s the most heartbreaking and toxic threat to the ordinary decent stoner.
Moldy weed is not just a horrible excuse for a stash, it’s actually toxic waste and you should treat it as such. If you have the misfortune to consume moldy weed, regardless of whether you eat it, smoke it, or vape it, you are consuming thousands, possibly tens of thousands of nasty microbial spores.
Best case scenario is the unpleasant taste puts you off consuming much and you toss the rest of the contaminated weed stash in the trash, post-haste, without any ill effects.
Worst case scenario is you wind up hospitalised with a serious lung infection and your only frequent visitor is a slimy anti-marijuana lobbyist intent on getting the rights to the story of the first recorded cannabis death in history. Even if she/he must finish the job themselves, probably with a pillow during the brief interval of nurse shift change.
HOW TO DETECT A MOLDY WEED WHEN YOU’RE BUYING
If you happen to be purchasing your stash from a reputable cannabis club, coffee shop or your marijuana dispensary, then you really shouldn’t have to worry about moldy weed. But unfortunately, you do, because mold does not discriminate between amateurs and professionals, all it requires is optimal conditions, even post harvest.
A botched curing job or improper storage by the cannabis retailer can turn a Kilner jar full of weed into a furry mess of fungus. Wet weed is a breeding ground for fungus and an invitation for mold.
Even after a slow and careful drying, ideally, in simple brown paper bags, curing is the final step and too often where it all goes terribly wrong.
Another unpleasant characteristic of moldy weed is its mildew-like smell. Sometimes it can be more like hay, but something is always off with the scent of moldy bud. It pays to give your potential stash a whiff as well as the initial eyeball inspection.
Most high-end cannabis retail operators are not too keen on the customers getting overly touchy feely with the weed menu.
Only and we really mean only if it’s kosher with the budtender, it’s best to sample a spliff or a pipe hit, providing a full hands-on touch and taste test is permissible. If you get the green light, always go for it, the best hits are free hits anyway.
HOW TO DETECT MOLDY WEED WHEN YOU’RE GROWING
We have seen too many YouTube videos of growers stuffing untrimmed or minimally trimmed freshly harvested plant material directly into glass jars. This is a huge mistake and definitely not to be imitated. Well manicured bud is also less susceptible to mold as stems and leaves can retain a lot of moisture.
Essentially humidity is the harvester’s enemy, but also a necessary evil, because too low relative humidity leads to crumbly, overdry nuggs, that are probably mold free. Although they won’t be quite as tasty as they could have been if the RH had been kept in the sweet spots (30-50% for drying and 55-65% for curing).
Moldy weed will usually display a white-grey candyfloss-like fungal growth covering the exterior of buds or alternatively if the stem has rot a trophy cola literally from the inside out, giving you a disgusting surprise when you break her open. Molds can come in all kinds of colours and the worst fungal infestations can turn buds into brownish sludge.
Cannabis cultivators can encounter bud mold in the garden at any stage and it is usually due to a combination of problems in the grow show. Leaves and stems with early warning signs of mold cannot be ignored. A foul rotting and/or mildew-like smell will be noticeable.
Growers are advised to invest in a pocket microscope. They are not only handy for zooming in on resin, but a great way to detect pathogens being hosted by your cannabis plants. It might make for a horrific sight, but you can’t even begin to fight an unseen enemy. Early diagnosis gives the grower a fighting chance to save the cannabis garden.
Removal of infected plants is a necessary sacrifice for the greater good of the ganja crop. Patient zero has got to go if a full blown mold pandemic is to be averted. Maintaining optimal environmental conditions and not overwatering or otherwise stressing plants is the best preventative remedy.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF MOLDY WEED FOR GANJAPRENEURS, GROWERS, & STONERS
Just one mold-plagued plant has the potential to contaminate your entire grow op. Absolutely everything from the rest of your plants to the growing medium and containers. If you’re growing indoors, the grow room or grow tent will require a thorough cleaning to ensure no spores survive to infest the next crop.
It’s a nightmare scenario, you can try to fight with various anti-mold agents, but the plant casualty rate will be unacceptably high in any case. Moldy weed is a threat the diligent cannabis cultivator must watch out for at every stage from seed to spliff.
Moldy weed is garbage and no stoner should dare to knowingly consume it in any form. Equally, no cultivator or ganjapreneur should knowingly trade in moldy weed. 100% guaranteed reputation wrecker.
Stoners need to avoid polluted stash at all costs and by performing a few routine inspections of weed you can at least confirm if it’s clean or not before you part with your cash.
Of course, we recommend you grow your own fine organic herb, adding some liquid silica to toughen plants up and always use aerated, well draining premium quality substrate.
Mold is the highest level threat to a fine weed stash. Moldy weed is not stash, it's trash and can even be a health hazard. Lets talk about contamination.
Can you get sick from smoking moldy weed
Mildew Kush doesn’t sound appealing, does it? It doesn’t, not just because it’s gross, but because it’s dangerous, too.
Unfortunately, legal markets have seen their fair share of moldy weed recalls over the past few months alone. In January, Michigan regulators recalled 48 pounds of medical marijuana due to mold.
A month prior to Michigan’s order, Colorado agencies recalled an entire batch of weed from one operator that affected at least 10 Denver-based dispensaries.
Also in December, Canada’s government weed supplier, the Ontario Cannabis Store, recalled 25,000 grams of pot after a customer found mold on her cannabis.
So the mold scare is real. Here’s how to ensure it never ends up in your pipe.
Related: What Moldy and Disgusting Weed Actually Looks Like
The easiest and most cost-effective method for spotting mold on weed is the naked eye. Tokers will notice something that looks similar to cobwebs on or within the buds. Spider mites also leave behind actual webbing that can look identical to mildew, but you shouldn’t be smoking those, either.
Powdery mildew, a form of mold, can sometimes look like dusted kief to the untrained eye. However, closer inspection will reveal the powder isn’t kief at all, but something that resembles sawdust or the dust produced by kicking a puffball mushroom.
Other signs of mold or mildew include dark spots on otherwise green buds, yellow or gray fuzz, or the presence of slime. (Yuck.) Sometimes buds may also appear as if they were rolled in confectionery sugar, another sign of powdery mildew.
The Nose Knows: The Smell Test
Weed comes in a wide assortment of aromas, from hints of berries to that chronic funk that smells like you just ran over a wild skunk. But two scents can tip you off to moldy weed: the smell of human sweat or urine.
Of course, no one should ever smoke weed that smells like pee anyway, mildew or otherwise.
The smell test has limitations, though. Some noses are more sensitive to the nuances of weed fragrances than others. And tokers who are allergic to mold-derived antibiotics like penicillin may experience an allergic reaction.
Additionally, some molds and mildews don’t produce any smells, especially if the infestation only recently took hold.
Science, B! Use a Microscope
Obvious signs of mold, like seeing webby crud all over your buds, indicate the infestation was there for a while. Sometimes, however, newer cases of mildews and molds are invisible to the naked eye.
In this case, consumers can still detect if their weed contains mold. This method requires a microscope. In the age of Amazon, however, digital microscopes sell for less than $30.
Again, recognizing mold on weed by eye, even the aided eye, takes some experience. Mold and mildew produce little filaments called hyphae. Hyphae look nothing like the bud’s natural glandular trichomes, so if anything looks out of the ordinary, it might be mold.
Check the Media and Brand Websites for Recalls
Another safe practice for finding out if your cannabis contains mold is by checking local media for reports of recalls. State or city websites, as well as some company websites, may also post notices.
Although checking the news for moldy weed may seem dorky, it has worked in the past. In the case of the Canadian recall mentioned earlier, the woman who reported the mold only caught it because she’d read a news story on the topic. She said she never would have checked had she not known mold was even an issue with legal weed.
Why Mold Threatens Good Health
Why even care about mold on weed? After all, isn’t mold a source of medicine, just like cannabis?
Molds and mildew are fungi that thrive in moist environments with poor air circulation. With weed, the presence of molds or mildews indicates the plants are diseased, not extra medicated.
While some molds produce antibiotics like penicillin, treating an infection by smoking moldy weed is a really, really bad idea. Those allergic to penicillin could react violently to smoking mold, much less smelling it. Other patients, like those with compromised immune systems, may be unable to fight off the mildew’s spores, leading to moldy lungs on top of smoking shitty weed.
Furthermore, some molds and mildews produce toxins, called mycotoxins, that can’t be burned away. And even worse, making edibles with moldy weed will transfer those toxins wholesale into the food. (Double yuck.)
Basically, get your cannabis from trusted sources. Inspect every purchase before ever flicking a Bic. And always remember: webbing belongs in dark corners, not on weed.
Moldy cannabis has increasingly become a problem in legal markets. How can you tell if your weed has mold or mildew without forking over thousands of dollars to a lab?