Moldy Weed - Facts and Prevention

Bridge Frost

What does mold look like?

Spotting mold on cannabis is straightforward, if you know what to look for. Reading the following information and educating yourself can help you protect your health.

The most common molds form a white or light gray thin web attaching to the bud. Rarer molds can be different colours but will still form in thin webs. It’s important not to confuse trichomes for mold; the easy key here is that mold forms onto the trichomes, and is not positioned as evenly over the bud. Trichs also have a resin texture, unlike mold’s which resembles thin fur.

How did mold get on my weed? How do I keep it off my weed?

Even better than good mold detection, though, is good mold prevention. This starts with the cultivator, so purchasing from a reputable LP is a strong advantage. Health Canada’s licensing carries strict monitoring and recall policies for contaminated product. To maintain a license, let alone a reputation, LPs must avoid contaminants by all measures. Furthermore they are obliged to a timely replacement of any tainted product.

Mold comes from spores in the air, and given warmth and moisture, mold will take a huge variety of materials as food, including cannabis. Mold can take hold at any time from the growing of the plant, through processing, curing, transport, and user storage.

Weed has a particular vulnerability because the optimal moisture content of cured bud, 10-15%, approaches the 15%+ humidity mold needs. Ultimately, the key to optimal cannabis production and storage is humidity control at all stages. A reputable LP will maintain tight humidity control from seed to finished package, making it easy for you to maintain the bud once it’s in your hands.

Your own storage should follow simple guidelines. Mold grows from initial airbound spores and requires moisture. So store your bud in an airtight, dry container. Properly processed, quality assured bud arrives with optimal moisture content (10-15%), and your airtight container simply preserves it. (Of course, bud arriving without quality assurance may form mold no matter how you store it.)

Open and handle only as needed and re-seal immediately. This will all keep your trichomes happy and robust, as they degrade with air exposure and handling. Heat and light also degrade trichomes so it’s best to keep your container in the dark, at a temperature between a comfortably cool room and the fridge.

Cooler than the fridge is harmful because trichomes thicken and ultimately solidify the colder the temperature, weakening their attachment to the plant. A solid container, as opposed to bag storage, will also protect trich attachment by minimizing handling impact.

Is mold safe to smoke? Can I save the weed somehow if it is contaminated? Can I make edibles with it?

So you’re getting your purchasing and storage all dialed in, but you have this bud with just a little mold on it this once. Do you really have to throw it away or return it? Tantalus Labs’ answer is yes. The simple reason being that there’s no way to inhale or ingest the bud without at least some of the contaminant, once it’s present. You can burn the mold, but you’ll inhale the spores. You can “bake off” mold in an oven, but you won’t get rid of all or even most of it. The level of heat to eliminate contaminants will also eliminate the product.

Water pipes only moderately reduce contaminant intake. There is no mold-killing product that would be remotely healthy for you to inhale or ingest, even if you accepted its damage to the quality and taste of your bud. Vaping and edible processing don’t eliminate mold. Even handling mouldy product can contaminate the skin and transfer to food or membrane, for instance when you rub your eyes.

What if I already smoked or ate moldy weed?

So what harm can a little mold do? Aren’t we inhaling spores all the time? Well firstly, if ingesting moldy cannabis precedes a health issue that would normally lead to consulting a doctor, this is a fair cue for a doctor consultation. Otherwise, take solace that you’ve probably ingested mold before, however in trace amounts.

You’re reading this so it hasn’t killed you.

Yes, we do inhale spores regularly, given their airborne abundance in a range of environments. But we don’t place a concentration of spores against our skin and / or inhale directly from it if we don’t choose to. Furthermore some contaminants are dangerous. Beyond the specifics charted below, weed contamination to any degree fails to provide the quality your dollar deserves.

From mildly impacted respiration, digestion, and immune systems, to severe reactions, the effects of contaminants are avoidable. And so, in our view, unacceptable. It’s also nasty. Moldy bananas won’t kill you either, but we prefer fresh ones.

At Tantalus Labs we commit to associate the reading of our label with the assurance of purity. Our Quality Assurance systems are built to exceed the standards required by Health Canada, and are linked intrinsically to our #Sungrown processes.

Beyond the advantages of our greenhouse model, optimizing any cultivation environment takes rigorous systems design and implementation before the seeds even arrive, embracing the most up-to-date technology. We have been fortunate to have a development timeline that affords such rigour. We have also insisted on it.

Tantalus Labs encourages all cannabis users to demand purity, every time, ensuring it from their choice of supplier and through their own storage and handling. Users and suppliers alike can avoid mold entirely. And should outright refuse it.