There are two different times when moldy weed can strike: when you are smoking it and when you are growing it. Whether you are growing it or smoking it, mold in your pot can have some serious ramifications. Obviously, one moldy plant may destroy your entire harvest, and one moldy joint can have damaging effects on your lungs.
Rest easy; we have your back covered for both scenarios. We’ll walk you through the tell-tale signs of moldy weed, both in the grow room and in your bong. On top of laying out how to correct the mold growth, we’ll explain in detail why it’s never a good idea to continue growing or consuming mold infested cannabis.
Mold in Your Joint
A dense, juicy bud is the perfect little environment for mold to form. Mold loves damp, dark places and access to plant matter which it can consume. There are millions of different sorts of mold, mildew, yeast, and fungus found all over the world. While some are incredibly beneficial for humans, like some antibiotics, others are incredibly harmful like mycotoxins.
Not all molds will grow on plant matter (like weed), but many can and do. Not all processing facilities were created equal, and there is always a chance that the marijuana was harvested already infected, or not allowed to cure properly afterward. Dispensaries could also be the culprit, maybe they did not handle and package in a completely dry environment.
Another potential area of contamination is your own handling of the product. When was the last time you cleaned out your secret weed smoking box? Is your house warm, and dry all the time? How old is your weed? There are many areas where your pot could come into contact with mold spores.
Why is Mold Unhealthy to Inhale?
Unfortunately for us, the healthy versions of mold that are so essential for the creation of cheese, beer, and other delicious concoctions do not grow on cannabis. Instead, potentially harmful fungus tends to find its home there, which is terrible news for our health.
Mold, fungus, and mildew are found all over the globe, even in the harshest environments. That means some spores will survive after blazing up a moldy joint. They will live long enough to enter into your body and take residence in your lungs. Some may even enter your bloodstream.
Once instead, molds can wreak havoc throughout your body, especially if your immune system isn’t up to snuff. Eventually, they may start to cause flu-like symptoms like coughing, running nose and sneezing. If left untreated, mold triggered illnesses can even put you in the hospital.
The craziest part about moldy weed is that we’ve all probably smoked some. Almost all plant matter will have some remnants of microscopic mold spores present. This translates to probably all bud containing a little bit of mold. Thankfully, the majority of the time, the spores will not survive the journey into our lungs, or our immune system quickly kills them off.
How to Tell if You are Smoking Moldy Weed
Take a good long look at that flower in your hand. Do you know how to tell if it’s moldy or not? Don’t worry if you’ve never asked yourself this question before, because we are here to help with a few critical indicators for moldy marijuana.
- Smell: You know exactly how weed is supposed to smell, potent, skunky, maybe a little hint of flavor. Each strain has a unique aroma, but it should always smell good. Just like you can open up the container of orange juice in the fridge, take a whiff and immediately smell its gone off, weed should have the same reaction. If you smell your bud and it smells rotten, sour, or otherwise off, the best bet is to throw it out. Don’t put your health at risk.
- Color: Color is another key indicator, have you taken the time to examine the color of your gram of weed? Mold isn’t always detectable by color, as sometimes the spores haven’t developed enough. However, if you see any white spots or white powder it could indicate a big problem. Another visible sign is a grey, white, or black furry substance on the outside of your weed. Dump it if you see any of these signs.
- Reactions: If you decided to smoke up after carefully checking the color, and taking a whiff, there is one final way to check if your weed is moldy. Always pay attention to your physical reaction.
As mentioned, moldy smoking weed can trigger flu-like symptoms like coughing and the sniffles. Other people might experience an allergic reaction when they never had before. In extreme circumstance, perhaps after a few days of smoking the same bad batch of weed, people might even experience chest pains. If you have any of these symptoms, throw out the weed immediately! Always seek medical attention for chest pains or serious flu symptoms.
Mold in the Grow Room
Every grower’s nightmare is walking into the grow room and finding mold on a plant. This is because mold on one plant is a good indication that the problem goes far beyond that one plant.
If you are just getting into growing marijuana, but aren’t sure what to look out for regarding mold infestation – there are three common types of mold may attack:
- White Powdery Mildew
- Bud Rot
- Fuzzy White Mold
According to the experts, even though mold and mildew might attack during any phase of the cannabis growth, it’s most likely to hit right before harvest. If not immediately dealt with the entire harvest could be in jeopardy. Check your marijuana leaves regularly for signs of mold!
Tips to Prevent Mold for Indoor Grow Setups
Even if you have never had a mold outbreak before, it does not mean your harvest is immune. Mildews and molds literally only need one spore to find the right conditions to flourish. An indoor grow operation, while carefully crafted, has its own set of issues which lend themselves to mold growth.
- Humidity: Fungus loves moisture, there is no getting around it. Unfortunately, humidity is pretty important for producing juicy buds as well. Installing a temperature and humidity monitor in your grow room is a perfect way to capture the environment, just remember to check it regularly. Another way to control humidity is to monitor and control leaf proliferation. Practice careful trimming to remove excess leaves throughout the vegetation stage. Leaves each release more moisture into the air, therefore more leaves mean higher humidity rates.
- Air Flow: Some molds love stagnant air, especially the white powdery mildew variety. You may first notice it on the stems and bases of leaves, but it will quickly spread throughout the grow room. It loves hot, humid, sticky environments without much air flow. The first rule to avoid this problem is to install a professional exhaust system. If a proper system is out of financial reach, at the very least set up a series of fans blowing under and over the tops of your plants.
- Cannabis Strain Selection: Some strains are naturally more susceptible to mold than others. It’s extremely important to do your homework before even buying the clones (or seeds). A reputable seller can give you the lowdown on their own strains, but typically strains with shorter flower windows are best. The shorter flower window means less time for the mold to percolate within the bud.
Tips to Prevent Mold for Outdoor Grow Setups
The outdoor environment is a lot more unregulated, and perhaps more susceptible to mold growth. Depending on location and natural environment of course. Weed growing in the jungle versus growing in the arid California mountains will have widely differing mold issues. With that in mind, there are a few general guidelines for outdoor growers to follow to avoid harvest damage from mold.
- Plant Location: Does your outdoor grow operation receive the morning sun? Is it sheltered from the wind? These are all important considerations before planting. Placing the plants in a sunny location, in an area that gets a crosswind is important for reducing the risk of mold. Morning sun is especially important because it will help dry out the morning dew that appears on the plants every morning.
- The Dew Dilemma: While dew is arguably important as a secondary watering system for your outdoor plants, if left too long it can also foster a perfect moldy environment. Some farmers do the morning rounds to gently shake off the excess dew from their plants. This also applies for immediately after rainfall. Take the time to give your plants from love, and shake off that excess moisture.
- Cannabis Strain: It shouldn’t be surprising that as with the indoor grow operations, outdoor operations can also benefit from strain selection. Talk to your clone supplier for their suggestions on what strains work in your area, and what strains are specifically mold resistant. Some suggestions include Jamaican Pearl and Frisian Dew.
The moral of the mold story is that all mold is bad news when it comes to weed. Whether you find it before harvest, or before smoking it, the best course of action is simply to throw it out. Don’t endanger your health or your customer’s health by ignoring it.