Cannabis and mold: Why you should worry about it

Imagine that your cannabis or hash is moldy, and that urge to smoke hit. Even though this is extremely sad, in this post we will tell you why you should avoid this as much as possible! Moldy cannabis, throw it away!

Perhaps you have already been through a situation like this: when picking up your cannabis to make that beautiful joint, you noticed a different smell from hmmm… mold. Did you get tempted to smoke it anyway? We understand you, but we are here to tell you why you MUST NOT do this.

Especially at this time of the year, which is more humid and rainy, it’s time to worry about mold, mildew and other very common problems in cannabis. And there are ways to avoid them!

In this post, we will tell you more about it, explain the dangers of consuming moldy cannabis and, of course, give all the necessary tips to not have this problem. Let’s do this!

Moldy cannabis

What is mold?

In our daily lives, we inhale and ingest various types of microorganisms: bacteria, microbes, fungal spores… In small quantities, like what is in the air, these microorganisms hardly cause any problems. But ingesting or inhaling something directly taken by these organisms can be dangerous and can lead to numerous diseases.

Mold is caused by filamentous fungi, which do not form mushroom-like structures. They live mainly in humid and dark places. They appear with whitish, greenish, orange colors, among many others. Although this fungus can help us a lot in some processes, like in the maturation of some cheeses, it can also be responsible for a huge range of problems – from allergies to fatal contaminations, such as aspergillosis.

Cannabis with mold everywhere Photo: @kandidkush

Most common types of mold in cannabis

  • The famous powdery mildew, or PM

Powdery mildew looks like a white powder that can cover cannabis leaves and buds. Many people confuse them with small trichomes arising. But don’t be fooled: just look with a magnifying glass to realize that this naughty thing has nothing to do with trichome (hint: it doesn’t shine like a trichome, it’s an opaque powder). When it appears, it can be very easy to spread through spores. So, as soon as you notice your presence, get rid of everything that is affected. You don’t want to ingest it or let it contaminate other healthy plants.

  • Botrytis Cinerea (gray rot)

Gray mold is common within buds, and develops when there is a lot of moisture trapped in it. The telltale signs of mold on your buds are dead leaves on the outside, softening and looking rotten. If you detect it, remove the affected parts. As it is caused by the accumulation of moisture, it does not necessarily spread like powdery mildew, so you can save the rest of the plant. But be sure to look at everything very calmly!

Mold usually occurs in outdoor gardens after heavy rain, especially at the end of the season, when buds are large and dense. To identify mold in the cured product, keep an eye out while separating the buds. It is easily identifiable, and you should discard it.

Always watch out for rain and very high temperatures afterwards, pay attention if you grow outdoors!

“Yes, folks: cannabis gets moldy and has no salvation when it has already happened. But, fortunately, we can prevent it!”

How does mold develop?

Mold is caused by fungi that develop in hot, humid conditions. It multiplies and reproduces through spores, which travel through the air, invisible to the naked eye. Mold is really important in the ecosystem because it decomposes dead plant material, and works as a source of very important nutrients for the soil and the development of your plants, but your buds don’t deserve that sad kind of end!

Any one or a combination of these factors can create a suitable environment for the development of mold in your herb, regardless of its state: planted or harvested and stored.


Prevention of mold in planting

If your grow is indoor, it is easier to prevent. In addition to keeping the room temperature constant, you need to ensure ventilation and dehumidification of the environment. In addition, pruning your plants, separating them correctly and watering and feeding your plants properly are attitudes that help to ensure that the mold stays away.

  • Pruning and spacing increase the airflow through the plants, which helps to reduce humidity.

  • If you water the plants too much, this will increase the humidity level, as the plants will not be able to absorb the water, causing it to evaporate in the air and stay in the room.

  • Feeding your plants little or more will weaken your immune system and make them more prone to fungal attacks.

In an outdoor grow, however, you are more limited in how to protect your garden from mold, without the ability to control the climate. Adequate spacing, pruning and feeding are essential to protect your crop in addition to the possibility of choosing strains that are more resistant to mold. Here in California, for many farmers this is a big problem, and we’ve seen people lose whole crops from mold! So, you should take a lot of care!

After heavy rains, you can shake your plants to draw still water from them. It is also common to check for broken branches and remove any dead leaves that may be saturated with moisture, which is the ideal habitat for the development of fungi.

Prevention of mold in the final product

Botrytis (gray or brown mold) germinates only in the moist tissue of the plant when the temperature is between 13 and 21°C, and can attack live or dry buds. It grows when your cannabis is grown or dried in a very humid environment, or when wet buds are sealed in airtight containers. Therefore, take care! While drying your cannabis, it needs to be in a well-ventilated environment.

  • A clear sign of anaerobic bacterial activity is a strong odor of ammonia.

When buds are dried and cured properly, they are rarely infected with mold. As we said before, the best way to deal with the infection is prevention!

Where to store your cannabis

The best ways to store cannabis already dry to avoid its compromise are:

  • In glass: glass containers are great for storage, as they are inert, hard and non-biodegradable. The downside is that most glass jars are clear and light degrades trichomes – which does not matter, if buds or dry cannabis are stored in the dark. To store buds exposed to light, it is best to use an opaque glass.

  • Stainless steel: stainless steel pots, with plastic seals and top lid locking mechanisms, are popular because they are strong and can be stacked. Metal does not interact with cannabis and is impervious to outside air.

  • Plastics: cannabis is slightly acidic and lipophilic, so it degrades some plastics. Ziploc bags are popular because they contain odors and are inexpensive. However, they are easily pierced by rods and do not provide protection against agitation and movement, which leads to further damage.

  • Desiccants: A desiccant is a substance that removes moisture from the surrounding air. Packets of silicone, newspaper or anything extra-dry acts as a desiccant and absorbs moisture in a storage container.

  • Vacuum packaging: vacuum packaging is popular because it decreases the amount of oxygen present in a storage container. Oxygen is corrosive and degrades the color of cannabis. The diminished presence of oxygen also discourages the growth of decayed bacteria, but not anaerobic bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria thrive in environments with little oxygen and no oxygen, moist and with food. So never close and store wet cannabis!

Weed and extractions

What about hashish?

Especially in the production of Bubble Hash, also known as Ice-o-Lator, many people make mistakes when drying and end up allowing mold to develop in its extraction. To prevent this from happening know how to dry or ice properly. The idea is the same as the flowers, of the hash molding, unfortunately, throw it away.

Dry and cured hash can be stored in the same way as cannabis, but they have lower temperature tolerances. The extracts can start to deteriorate at just over 18°C (65F). Prevent the bubble hash from molding, sealing and storing it in a refrigerator or freezer

Remember that:

  • Mildew-infected buds and hash or other fungi and fungi are unfit for smoking.

  • Moldy buds are also not suitable for use in extracts. Concentrating contaminated marijuana using ice water transfers toxins and spores to the final extract, making it unfit for smoking. Moist extracts also mold when stored at room temperature.

  • Extractions of butane and carbon dioxide kill mold and mildew, but leave toxins behind.

Take good care of your herb! Whether dry or planted, it is necessary to take these precautions to not end up facing the worst. And in no case, use moldy cannabis! This can pose numerous risks to your health. Preventing mold is also reducing damage, okay?

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Juan Fran
Juan Fran
3 years ago

Conteúdo muito bom, parabéns! Queria tirar uma dúvida.. tenho 20g de hash guardado em um slick e quando fui pegar esses dias vi que estava com mofo, mais especificamente powdery mildew em seu envolto.. Além de estar muito chateado, já pensei em vários planos pra tentar salvar o rolê e pensei em retirar a camada externa e deixar a parte mais interna no freezer por um dia e, depois de ‘seco’, pretendo misturar com tabaco e guardar em um pote bem selado.. vocês acham que funciona? Muito obrigado e continuem com os posts. 🙂