Consider yourself lucky, if you have never encountered moldy weed. Maybe you were offered some mis-cured homegrown bud or discovered a long lost (and improperly stored) stash, but no matter how you came to possess it, you were probably disappointed and most likely threw the stuff out. But what if you didn't throw it out, is there a real harm in smoking moldy weed?
Smoking Moldy Weed: You Know You Shouldn't
Like eating a powdered donut off the carpet, there’s no true way of removing the impurities; you will always consume unnecessary germs.
When it comes to smoking moldy weed, at best, you'll get a less-than-stellar hit that tastes "off" and a headache. The possible side-effects only get worse from there.
Is Smoking Moldy Weed Dangerous?
Most forms of mold are not inherently dangerous to humans in small quantities. In fact, every day we inadvertently ingest and breathe in a wide range of fungi.
Our immune systems are perfectly capable of dispatching a few spores here and there. Risks start to increase when higher concentrations of spores are ingested.
One common fungus called Aspergillus can be found anywhere from your shoes to your stash. Allergic reactions, lung infections, and other severe health problems are associated with inhaling the Aspergillus mold.
- Shortness of Breath
- Heart Palpitations
- Weight Loss
- Fever (in extreme cases)
What's the Worst that Could Happen?
Mold balls. If you find yourself smoking moldy weed, the spores you are inhaling can grow into large balls of mold in your lungs, often requiring surgery to remove.
Pneumonia is always a possibility, while other symptoms can develop if the infection spreads from the lungs to other parts of the body.
How to Spot Mold
Using a black light and a 10x magnifying lens is the most surefire way to check your bud for fungus, but there is no replacement for careful observation with the naked eye.
Some tell-tale signs of mold:
- Yellowish or white "dust"
- Brown, grey, yellow or white "fuzz"
- Black, grey, or white spider web-like strands
- Musty/Urine smell (uncharacteristic of strain)
- Dark spots or obvious spores
If you can see obvious spores on your weed it is beyond the safe, "normal" levels of contamination having little effect on people with normal immune systems. And if you’re smoking marijuana to treat your asthma you are especially at risk.
You Shouldn't, But...
While I cannot condone smoking moldy weed, there are a few steps you can take to mitigate your risks if you suspect your dime-bag of being dodgy.
Bake the contaminated cannabis in a 200-degree oven for fifteen minutes. Most molds cannot survive above 140 degrees according to an Ohio State University study.
Another estimated 15 percent of toxins can be removed by smoking through a water filtered apparatus such as a bong.? But be aware, some spores will likely survive.?
There is no good reason to smoke moldy bud; it's both gross and potentially unhealthy. Save yourself the headache and the risk of mold balls.