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.
PSA: Check Your Cannabis for Mold
Spotting mold on bread or cheese is pretty easy, but on cannabis? Not so much.
Here’s everything you need to know about what to look for, whether it’s safe to smoke moldy cannabis, and how to keep your stash mold-free going forward.
Moldy cannabis usually has a grayish-white coating. If you’re not a seasoned consumer or grower, though, it can be easy to mistake trichomes for mold and vice versa.
Trichomes are those sticky, shiny crystals on the leaves and buds that give cannabis its aroma.
Unlike trichomes, which look like little hairs that almost appear to glitter, mold has a gray or white powdery appearance.
Mold also has a distinct odor to it, so your nose may notice the mold before your eyes do. Moldy weed usually has a musty or mildewy smell, or it may smell kind of like hay.
It probably won’t kill you, but it’s still not recommended.
In healthy people, smoking moldy weed isn’t likely to have a detrimental impact on your health — barring the general risks of smoking, of course.
If you smoke moldy weed, you might experience symptoms like coughing, nausea, and vomiting, which are more unpleasant than dangerous.
But if you’re allergic to mold, you could end up with inflammation of your sinuses or lungs and symptoms like:
- sinus pain
In people with weakened immune systems or lung conditions, inhaling smoke from weed that contains certain mold species can have serious health consequences.
Fungi like Aspergillus, Mucor, and Cryptococcus can cause serious and even deadly infections in the lungs, central nervous system (CNS), and the brain in people with compromised immune systems.
A UC Davis study found these and other types of potentially harmful fungi on cannabis samples bought from dispensaries and growers in Northern California.
You may be tempted to cut off the obviously moldy bits and smoke the rest, but it’s not a good idea. Life’s too short for bad bud.
If you can see mold or mildew, you’re better off tossing it. It’s not going to taste or smell good anyway, and could make you feel sick.
Storage is everything when it comes to preventing mold.
Exposing cannabis to the wrong temperature, light, humidity, and oxygen can promote the growth of mold.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind.
Avoid the fridge or freezer
Forget what you’ve been told about storing your green in the fridge or freezer. The temperatures are too low, and the exposure to moisture can result in mold.
The ideal temperature to store cannabis is just below 77°F (25°C).
Use the right container
Glass jars with an airtight seal are the way to go if you want to keep things mold-free.
Mason jars and similar glass containers help limit the exposure to oxygen and moisture, which can prevent mold and keep your nugs fresh longer.
If you want something a little more sophisticated than a Mason jar, most dispensaries sell containers designed for this exact purpose.
Keep it in a dark, dry place
Direct sunlight and moisture are recipes for disaster when it comes to keeping cannabis fresh.
The sun’s rays can heat things up and hold in moisture. A damp environment can also cause too much moisture to build up if your container isn’t properly sealed.
Keep your container in a dark, dry cabinet or closet that doesn’t get too hot.
Mind the humidity
Cannabis is best kept at a relative humidity of 59 to 63 percent. Go any higher and you run the risk of trapping moisture and growing mold.
Adding a humidity pack to your container can help. These are little packets that contain a mix of salts and water that help regulate the humidity in your container. They’re inexpensive and last a couple of months.
Humidors made specifically for cannabis are another option if you want to get fancy and are willing to spend some extra bucks.
Like most green things, cannabis can develop mold under the right conditions. Learn what to look for and whether there's any way to salvage your bud.