Marijuana, like any plant, is susceptible to going bad. Moldy weed is an unpleasant situation, because perfectly good and delicious cannabis is transformed into a fungus playground-destroying everything that makes it top-shelf cannabis.
What's worse, though, than moldy marijuana is accidentally smoking moldy marijuana and getting moldy weed symptoms. Smoking the decrepit cannabis can lead to a slew of problems, none of which are pleasant to deal with.
Sometimes it’s caused by a mis-cured batch of homegrown bud. Other times, the stash has just gotten very, very old and was not properly stored. Either way, you’ve got a problem on your hands if you don’t spot the mold, and only realize when it's too late.
Fun fact: most types of mold are not extremely dangerous to humans in small quantities. Every day, humans come into contact with fungi in the air we breathe and the bacteria we consume, and our immune systems can handle a rouge spore or two every once in a while. Our bodies cannot, however, easily deal with larger concentrations, especially straight into our lungs. When moldy weed is so potently ingested, it comes with greater risks.
If you have any of the following moldy weed symptoms, just know that you might've just ingested bad weed that needs to be thrown out, and other means of prevention should be considered.
Moldy Weed Symptoms
When you take a hit of moldy weed, something will feel off and like the experience was pretty rough. If you’ve taken a deep breath of a bad batch of moldy weed, now fresh in your lungs, you will hopefully realize quite quickly that something is wrong, when a headache starts to form.
From there, common symptoms include vomiting and nausea, coughing, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, diarrhea, wheezing, runny rose, stuffiness, bloody nose, dizziness, restricted ability to smell, and, in extreme cases, fever and chest pains. In many of these more intense situations, it is highly recommended for the consumer to go get medical help, as soon as possible.
Some people have serious allergic reactions to the mold in the weed, followed by lung infections (like the dangerous illness pneumonia) and other various health problems that are long-term and painful, if the infection spreads from the lungs to different parts of the body. People with asthma are put at an especially greater risk. These are worst-case scenarios, and vary from person to person, depending on their relationship with the key fungus in question, called Aspergillus.
Other worst-of-the-worst moldy weed symptoms is mold balls. Mold balls, which are aptly named, occur when people smoke moldy weed and then discover that the inhaled spores grow into large balls of mold in the lungs. Mold balls require surgery to be removed, and are 10/10 not recommended.
The Signs of Moldy Weed
There are surefire signs of moldy weed, if you look close enough. Though sometimes spotted with the naked eye, the most effective means of surveying are with a black light and a magnifying lens.
Fungusy weed will have mildew, which looks like yellow or white-looking dust; brown, yellow, white, or grey fuzz (like you'd see on an expired piece of fruit); black, white, or grey strands that look like a spider web; a urine or musty smell (that is not usually associated with that strain); and obvious spores or dark spots.
If there are obvious spores sticking out like a sore thumb on your flower, it’s not safe to consume. While there are normal amounts of contamination that come with smoking weed (it is a plant, after all), that goes beyond the threshold of acceptable levels of bacteria.
Moldy Weed Prevention
Moldy marijuana is caused by having too much moisture where the weed is stored. Often, it happens because post-harvesting, the cultivator stored the cannabis when it was still wet, instead of drying it thoroughly. It can also happen after the weed has been bought, and moisture is able to leak into the stash. When the storage container is moist, fungus thrives and is able to grow easily.
Picking out the right type of containers is one of the most effective ways to keep moldy weed and moldy weed symptoms far away from you and your lungs. The best options include glass jars, a CVault, or a vacuum seal. Glass jars, which can be as affordable and accessible as a mason jar, can be easily found at most retailers or grocery stores, and they can be sealed airtight (keeping fungus out).
The CVault is a more expensive option that is made from food-grade stainless steel, and requires replacing humidity packs every 60 days or so. But they're airtight, dark, and keep things sealed up nice and tight. Vacuum seals suck out the oxygen from a container, keeping bud free of moisture-linked fungus.
Moldy weed is also best prevented via the means of storage, and the environment the marijuana is stored in. There are four key factors for best keeping weed fresh and clean: temperature, humidity, oxygen, and darkness. Keep the temperature cool, humidity low, oxygen out, and darkness prevalent, and there shouldn't be any issues.
When in Doubt, Buy New
If you're concerned about the status of your weed, and whether or not you'll be showing moldy weed symptoms after smoking it, worry not. Throw it out, head to a trusted dispensary near you, and ingest a product you know is not contaminated with any fungus.