Mold can be found anywhere - in food, bathrooms, vents, and even your weed.
Recalls for moldy cannabis are more common than you think. Colorado, Michigan, and California, three major players in the legal cannabis space, all had recalls in the past year due to “potentially unsafe levels of total yeast and mold.” Unfortunately, mold is just a common hazard in the growing and farming space.
Mold is also a hazard to your health. So before you light up, here is how to check for moldy weed:
How to identify moldy weed
Moldy weed comes in different forms. Sometimes the mold growth on flower will look like a cobweb, powder, dark spots, fuzz, or even slime. Mold will also grow so deep within the plant that you will not be able to see it. So how can you personally check for moldy weed at home?
- Use your naked eye to check for moldy weed. If you find any of the visual signs listed above on your bud, then consider it moldy and unsmokable. What if your bud looks off, but it doesn't match the description of mold? Reference reputable cannabis sites on the Internet or take it to the local dispensary for more information.
- Smell your weed. Sometimes moldy bud has no visual indicators but instead smells off, like sweat, urine, or a musty house. Be aware of how your cannabis is supposed to smell. This will go a long way in identifying healthy and moldy bud.
- Touch your weed. Moldy weed feels moist and spongy, while healthy flower feels crisp and dry like a leaf in autumn.
- Check for recalls. When purchasing from a reputable or chain dispensary, check websites and media outlets for any possible recalls or warnings.
Is it safe to smoke moldy weed?
People who smoke cannabis are 3.5 times more likely to contract a fungal infection than individuals who do not smoke cannabis, according to the CDC.
The two main fungi found in marijuana are Botrytis cinerea (bud rot) and Aspergillus.
These types of mold may have detrimental impacts on your health, regardless of whether you are immunocompromised. Even if you’re not sensitive to mold, you may experience:
- Sinus Pain
If you are sensitive to mold or immunocompromised, you may be at risk for inflammation of your lungs and throat and more severe symptoms and infection.
So, no, it is not safe to smoke moldy weed.
How and why does marijuana get moldy?
There are several ways marijuana can get moldy. During the cultivation process, the plant is susceptible to bud rot due to humidity, lack of airflow, and failure in drying and curing the plant properly.
Too much humidity is the cause of bud rot and mold growth in marijuana plants. Controlling the humidity throughout the four stages of growth (seedling, vegetation, early flowering, late flowering) is crucial in avoiding moldy marijuana. Humidity control also ensures the plant will survive, improve potency, and improve taste, according to AtlasScientfic.
During the growing process, too little airflow in tight conditions will also put your plants at risk for mold spores to grow and thrive. This is not as much of a factor for outdoor grow operations, but if the product is being cultivated indoors, it needs a steady flow of air circulating from fans.
As we now know, mold thrives in moist environments. It’s crucial to dry and cure marijuana properly. If done improperly, there is a higher chance for moisture to be trapped in the bud. When it comes to marijuana production, quantity over quality is crucial.
Once cultivated and stored, the flower can still be exposed to Aspergillus, airborne fungi. This means where you store your weed is crucial. The best weed storage is in an internal environment away from direct sunlight.
Can you remove mold from cannabis?
Without going to great lengths, you can’t remove mold from cannabis. Even if you cut away the moldy areas of the plant, it’s impossible to tell how far the mold has spread. Plus, the cannabis won’t smell or taste good anymore anyways.
It’s better not to risk your health over some bad bud.
How to stop weed from getting moldy
Aside from purchasing from reputable growers and distributors, it is your responsibility to store your weed properly before you light up.
Use an airtight container
Once cultivated, dried, and cured, it’s okay to store your weed in a container with little airflow, like Vessel's basin. This will prevent the bud from building up moisture post-production. An ideal container would be a mason jar.
Store marijuana in a dry, dark place
Temperature control is crucial to maintain the potency of your weed and avoid a moldy situation. Don’t put your product in the fridge or freezer because it’s far too moist and cold of an environment. Instead, find a dry, dark place inside away from the elements for storage. The perfect temperature to store marijuana is around 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
If possible, try to control the humidity of the area where you store your cannabis. Or at least ensure that the area is well below 70 percent humidity. The ideal humidity level for cannabis storage is 55 percent to 62 percent.
Consider long-term storage vs. short-term storage
When purchasing your product, consider if you have the space for long-term cannabis storage. It would be a waste of money to buy in bulk if you don’t have the right environment for your weed to thrive and maintain potency. For long-term storage, invest in air-tight containers and humidity-controlled dark and dry environments. For short-term storage, if you don’t have the space, then Mylar food storage bags or stash bags will suffice.
To sum it up
Mold is everywhere, but knowing how to check for and prevent moldy weed will go a long way in your cannabis journey. Moldy weed can not only ruin your stash but also jeopardize your health. It is worth educating yourself and investing in mold prevention for your cannabis products. Vessel has the ultimate collection of dry herb accessories for your perfect smoke sesh.