Have you ever experienced welcoming a special someone into your life only to find out later on that they’re still stuck on their wounded past? The “mold” is so extreme that you realize you’ve invested in the wrong person. The same is true with moldy cannabis. You should learn how to tell when weed is moldy and how to keep cannabis free from mold to avoid throwing money down the drain. Check out our guide below to learn some tips and tricks on how to tell if weed is moldy.
Learning About Molds in Cannabis Plants
From bathrooms to basements, molds usually grow and spread in spaces full of moisture. They release tiny spores floating through the air and reproduce. Mold is present indoors and outdoors, so you may be exposed to it daily. There are more than 100,000 species of molds, although only a few of them are hazardous. Unlike bread and veggies in your fridge, mold in cannabis is trickier to identify and harder to remove.
Two significant kinds of mold found in cannabis plants are Botrytis or gray mold and powdery mildew. There’s also Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Rhizopus, Penicillium, and Mucor. One cause of mold in cannabis is an improper environment for cultivation. For example, excessively humid grow rooms can invite mold growth. When there’s not enough airflow, moisture will be trapped.
Improper drying and curing can also cause mold to grow in cannabis. Moisture content is supposed to be reduced during this process. If not dried well, the cannabis flower will still be susceptible to mold growth even when safely stored for later use.
Other culprits for moldy cannabis include improper storage, contaminated manufacturing equipment, and undesirable transportation conditions.
Determining Mold in Cannabis
There are several ways to spot moldy cannabis. These include a visual test, smell test, snap test, and using a microscope.
Mold in cannabis looks different depending on the species, type, and condition of mold growth. However, when the growth becomes visible to the naked eye, you can differentiate between them with a sight test.
Before consuming your flower, look closely at the bud to confirm if there’s no powdery mildew. For example, powdery mildew could be yellow, gray, or white and look like fine dust or cobwebs. You may also see dark spots and slime.
Meanwhile, Botrytis cinerea, or gray mold, is the most common fungus found in cannabis plants. This type of mold also affects over 200 varieties of plants, both indoors and outdoors. You’ll usually spot gray mold or bud rot during flowering. However, it may also grow during drying. Botrytis damages every part of cannabis plants, including leaves, flowers, stems, and roots.
You’ll notice a fuzzy gray mold that soon turns the buds brown. The leaf tips will also turn from yellow to brown. Pull the central flower or cola apart to check whether the cannabis bud contains gray mold.
Aspergillus looks like cotton. Depending on the species, Aspergillus could turn from white to yellow, brown, gray, or black. You can also tell that it’s Aspergillus by its stale smell from the volatile organic compounds released as the mold grows. Out of the 180 species of Aspergillus, four of them are particularly dangerous — namely A. fumigatus, A. flavus, A. niger, and A. terreus.
Speaking of smell, moldy cannabis will give you a clue with a pungent smell like sweat or urine. Does your cannabis flower smell like a musty basement or attic? You better throw it away. Other types of mold and mildew, however, do not have any unwanted odor. Try another test to stay on the safe side.
You’ll know when cannabis hasn’t been cured or dried well if it feels spongy or makes a sound when broken apart. Dry cannabis flower crumbles once you touch it or pull it apart. If the cannabis flower is damp and too sticky, it’s more likely not dried properly and probably contains mold.
Using a Microscope
As tiny mold spores usually look the same as cannabis trichomes, spotting the difference with just your naked eye can be a real challenge. Fortunately, you can also use an inexpensive microscope to identify annoying mold.
Checking the COA
Consider checking the certificate of analysis, or CoA, and the results. A cannabis product is more prone to mold growth if the moisture content or water activity is significantly high. The COA will also reveal if small amounts of microbes and other harmful substances were detected.
What Should You Do After Spotting Moldy Cannabis?
Once you’ve seen, touched, or smelled moldy cannabis, put it in a safe place, so no one can consume it or might think it’s good or safe for consumption. There’s not much you can do as a consumer once you find out the cannabis is moldy. Consuming it is not worth the risk. That is why you need to store cannabis properly.
If you’ve only recently discovered mold growth on the buds, return them to the dispensary. Document the mold so the batch can be recalled, and ask for a refund on the moldy cannabis.
Preventing Mold Growth in Cannabis
To maintain your cannabis freshness and help prevent mold growth:
- Ensure proper storage. You can use mason jars to help control oxygen and avoid excessive moisture exposure.
- Grab those airtight glass jars.
- Pick dark glass or cover the container from the outside to prevent light.
Make sure to keep your cannabis out of direct sunlight to avoid molds. Too much exposure to heat results in higher humidity levels, which also causes excessive moisture, especially when the container is not sealed well. Keep your cannabis fresh by storing the jar in a dark space that’s not too warm, like closets and cabinets.
At the same time, do not store your cannabis in an extremely cold area. Please don’t attempt to place it in the fridge or your freezer. Otherwise, you’re just giving the mold a perfect breeding ground. Keep the temperature below 77 degrees Fahrenheit for ideal storage conditions. You might also want to use cannabis concentrates. Their shelf life is usually longer compared to cannabis buds.
Keep the humidity level between 59% and 64% as well. Anything above this range will make your cannabis more prone to mold growth. You could also use a humidity pack to easily maintain the recommended humidity level. Humidity packs usually last for about two months.
Also, refrain from handling your cannabis flower too much. Just remove it from the jar when consuming it. More importantly, buy cannabis strains and pre-rolls from a trusted source like a weed dispensary near me. With our award-winning cannabis flower, pre-rolls, and concentrates, you can expect the highest quality products you deserve.
Once your cannabis flower has molded, there’s nothing you can do besides throw it away. That’s why you should observe proper storage, temperature, and humidity levels. Learning to tell if weed is moldy includes some visual, smell, and snap tests and other means like a microscope. To purchase mold-free cannabis, shop for good weed at your local dispensary!