The Dangers of Moldy Weed
Is Mold on Weed Dangerous?
Smoking moldy weed can be hazardous to your health. With combustion comes the release of spores and the risk of allergic and adverse reactions, like red or watery eyes, nausea, vomiting, coughing, and itching.
Can you cook with it?
It’s generally not a good idea to cook with moldy cannabis or marijuana-infused products. Doing so could inadvertently release thousands of mold spores and toxins that are harmful to your health. Moldy weed is not recommended for consumption.
Do vapes get moldy?
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to smoke moldy vapes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe to inhale. Vaping requires heating cannabis flower or oil, which can release spores that can be toxic and lead to lung infections or worse when inhaled.
How to Identify Moldy Weed
Marijuana plants come in a variety of colors, so it would be very easy for the untrained eye not to be able to tell the difference between normal buds and those that have become infested with mold. In fact, trichomes can sometimes look like mold.
- Mold vs trichomes: Mold on cannabis often has a distinct appearance that’s often mistaken for trichomes. Usually, mold has a grayish-to-whitish color and in some cases, a powdery finish. Trichomes are the reason why cannabis smells the way it does.
- Using a black light: It’s possible to detect mold with a black light. The light emits a green color when spores are present.
- Powdery mildew: usually has a white, greyish, or dark spotted appearance.
- Fuzz: Mold can also have a white, brown, or black fuzz that may be on or inside the buds.
- Hyphae: are filament-like fungus that grows on the roots of the cannabis plant.
The Different Types of Molds
There are a few types of mold that will typically affect the marijuana plant. Here’s some brief information on each:
Aspergillus — This is one of the most common types of mold spores, and one you will encounter in just about any type of environment. The aspergillus strain is blamed for a wide range of problems, such as causing lung disease in both animals and humans and causing food to spoil. It’s even to blame for foul-smelling shoes.
Botrytis — The Botrytisstrain also goes by the name of “bud rot.” While it’s more likely to contaminate grapes, it can also do a number on a cannabis plant. In some extreme cases, it can kill an entire cannabis plant.
Penicillium — There are actually versions of this strain that are quite beneficial. They are used to make cheese as well as the powerful — and often life-saving — antibiotic Penicillin. Other strains, however, are extremely destructive. Not only can they ruin plants, but they can also cause a great deal of harm to humans and animals.
What does moldy weed smell like?
Moldy weed has an odd, funky, and somewhat offensive odor. Some describe the smell as musty, old, and mildewy. Others compare the smell of moldy weed to old, damp hay, urine, or sweat. In many cases, the smell is so distinct that it’s often one of the first signs of mold or mildew before evidence of it shows up on their weed.
What does moldy weed taste like?
Moldy weed has a metallic, chemical, and bitter taste that many find unappealing. Many find that smoking or using moldy weed makes them slightly unwell shortly after.
Identifying mold on candy/edibles
If you see a powdery white or discolored substance on your gummies, cookies, or other types of edibles, there’s a good chance that it is mold or mildew. Moldy edibles like candy, brownies, etc. are not safe for ingestion.
What are the symptoms or risks of using moldy weed?
Whether you’re looking to re-up your stash from the local dispensary or caregiver, it’s important to know the risks of using moldy weed. Unless you are allergic to mold or are immunocompromised, it’s not safe to use moldy weed. Although the likelihood of adverse reactions is low, there’s no definitive answer to the age-old question: can smoking moldy weed kill you?
However, the short-term effects of smoking moldy weed are reportedly more unpleasant than lethal. But for those with certain medical ailments or low immunity function, smoking moldy weed may cause severe symptoms that include the following:
- Upper respiratory distress
- Brain Fog
- Chest Pain
- Lung infection
- Brain infection
Those most at risk of suffering adverse reactions from using moldy weed include immunocompromised individuals, asthmatics, and people with allergies.
How to Avoid Buying Moldy Weed
Always get your marijuana from a credible source like your nearest or favorite cannabis dispensary. Verify the smell and appearance of any cannabis flower before purchase. There’s likely mold or mildew contamination if you notice spidery or powdery webbing, yellow or green fuzz, dark spots, or a filmy or slimy substance.
Even if you’re not sure, ask. Budtenders are pretty knowledgeable about the various types of cannabis products available at their location. Most have no problem allowing patients and recreational users to verify the quality of their bud.
Remember that moldy weed often has an odd, bitter, and unusual smell that’s quite distinct from uncontaminated weed. Because the terpenes in cannabis contribute to its aromatic and appealing flavor and smell profile, some people find it a bit challenging to determine if what they are smelling is indeed mold or mildew. Also, weed can have a normal smell and be contaminated with mold and mildew because certain types of mold do not produce odors until the advanced stages of development.
What to Look for in a Dispensary
With new dispensaries popping up almost every day in some areas, it can be confusing to know which you can rely on for the medicinal or recreational cannabis or weed treatments and products you desire. Regardless of the number of cannabis dispensaries near you, it’s best to do some research to ensure you don’t end up with poor-quality or moldy weed.
When it comes to choosing a marijuana dispensary or cannabis treatment center, it’s important to consider the following factors:
- Customer reviews can help you save time, money, and headaches when trying to find a credible dispensary to get your weed from. Go online and ask friends, colleagues, and fellow customers about their experiences at different locations and keep their input in mind as you visit different dispensaries.
- Location is incredibly important. Whether you use cannabis to treat symptoms or manage your health or relax and chill, you should always consider dispensaries that are conveniently located near you in addition to their product selection, quality, budtender knowledge or expertise, affordability, atmosphere, and customer reviews.
- Product quality varies among dispensaries. Some places have a great product selection, while others may leave much to be desired. Don’t settle for places that offer low-quality products because they have a good mix of your favorite items. Any dispensary that’s worth your time and money should carry a diverse selection of quality marijuana products.
- Budtenders or cannabis pharmacists should be knowledgeable about the types of cannabis products offered at their local dispensaries. Before purchasing anything, ask questions to determine the freshness, potency, manufacturer, and strain benefits and risks. Also, they should be able to provide clear and full details about all cultivation practices used for their products, regardless of manufacturer.
- Expiration Dates: Weed doesn’t expire the way most consumable goods do. But some find its taste, texture, and appearance quite unappetizing the older it is. It can also become moldy or mildewy if conditions are ripe as it ages.
How to Prevent Mold From Growing on Your Weed
Lighting: Surprisingly, mold only requires moisture and oxygen to thrive. It doesn’t really matter what type of light environment you store your weed or cannabis in regards to mold and mildew. But it’s best to keep your stash in the darkest place possible to keep it from losing its potency and freshness.
Storage containers: When choosing storage containers for your cannabis, it’s imperative to use canisters that are heat, water, and air resistant. If you’re not sure how to store cannabis, don’t hesitate to ask your caregiver or friendly budtender.
Temperature: This is one of the most variable factors in mold and mildew development that is difficult to manage. The optimal temperature range to prevent mold growth is below 40℉ and above 100℉.
Humidity: Humidity is a real concern in moisture prevention for weed. When storing cannabis, be sure to use humidity-proof containers like glass jars with an airtight lid. It’s important to use containers that prevent light exposure and humidity control. It’s also a good idea to use humidity packs to help protect your marijuana stash from moisture and humidity.
Preventing Moldy Weed
Mold needs a humidity level of no less than 15 percent in order to survive on a marijuana plant or in just about any other environment. So, if you’re storing your weed, make sure it’s completely dry before securing it and make sure you do so in a dry place. If you’re growing weed, put your buds in a dark area with plenty of ventilation once you harvest them.
Some people like to keep their pot in jars so it stays as fresh as possible. If you’re one of them, make sure you open those jars at least once a day to get a good amount of fresh air. Should you encounter buds that have become too dried out and you want to try and rehydrate them, you’ll need to be careful. The two most common methods are water and orange peels, but both present a risk for mold accumulation. Water obviously increases moisture, while orange peels are extremely fertile breeding environments for mold.
Overall, among the best ways to prevent moldy weed is to procure it from a certified caregiver or dispensary. Besides paying attention to the appearance and smell, verify the expiration date. Always aim to purchase marijuana products with expiration dates that are further from the date of purchase to be safe. There is a risk of mold contamination with marijuana products that have a sell-by date closer to the date of purchase.
The other way to prevent moldy cannabis is to store it properly. Always keep your weed in a sealed, airtight container, in a dark and cool place.
Can You Fix Moldy Weed or Salvage It?
There really isn’t anything you can do to salvage moldy weed. Your first thought may be to remove the moldy portions so you can use the rest. But doing so is risky and can be hazardous to your health. But, if you’re determined to do so, you might want to try the following tactics.
- Decarboxylating: Mold spores on weed can be incredibly difficult to treat because the spores cannot be destroyed with heat or carboxylation in the oven. Heating moldy weed is dangerous and releases carcinogenic mycotoxins.
- Microwave: It’s not safe to heat or microwave weed that you suspect may have mold or mildew contamination.
You should always try to avoid smoking weed that has become infested with mold. But there are certain times when your cannabis may have a slight amount of mold, and you might feel you have no choice.
If you’re running low and that’s all you have — and it has only been slightly contaminated — there’s a precaution you can take to stay as safe as possible. Put the weed on a cookie sheet and bake it at 300° F for about 15 minutes, killing some of the more common strains of mold.
It’s extremely important to note that if you suffer from any sort of respiratory issues like allergies, or if you have a compromised immune system, the risk of smoking moldy weed is simply too great. You cannot take the risk, because it could result in a major health issue. Some people might tell you that if you use a bong or water pipe you’ll be filtering out the mold, but that’s not the case. This approach would filter out maybe 15 percent of spores at best.
It’s never a good idea to eat any edibles that have mold or mildew on them. While you don’t have to live in fear of moldy weed, you should have a healthy respect for it. This is especially the case if you’re a medical marijuana user. Don’t be paranoid, but do be careful and stay away from any cannabis you don’t trust.