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What to Do With Moldy Weed

Cannabis flower can grow mold, rendering it unsafe to smoke.

Article By
Daily CBD , last updated on April 5, 2022

Cannabis flower contains moisture, which can lead to mold. Mold on hemp and marijuana flower looks like white dust.

Smoking cannabis flower isn’t advisable, especially for anyone with an autoimmune disorder, respiratory issues, or an allergy to mold. Moldy cannabis flower should be thrown out. However, there are plenty of steps to take to keep it from happening in the first place.

Here’s everything you need to know about what to do to prevent moldy cannabis flower.

What is Moldy Cannabis Flower?

The cannabis flower is the bud of the cannabis plant. It’s what you probably have in your mind’s eye when you think of weed — a green, somewhat conical nugget that can be ground up and smoked. 

If it’s fresh, it’s usually covered in sticky dust made up of trichomes, which are hair-like fibers that make hemp and marijuana flowers taste and smell great (and contribute to their effectiveness).

However, there’s another type of dusty coating that can appear similar but has negative implications: Mold. Because cannabis flower is moist when it’s harvested, mold can grow on the inside and outside of the bud.

Here are a few ways to spot mold on your weed.

  • It has a white-ish coating, as opposed to a purple, gold, or green color.
  • It looks dull as opposed to sparkly.
  • It smells of mildew.

Luckily, moldy cannabis flower usually isn’t deadly and is preventable if you use proper storage techniques.

Why Mold Happens on Weed

Mold can occur on anything with moisture, including plants before and after they’re harvested. Just like eggplants or tomatoes from the grocery store, cannabis flower contains moisture, which can turn into mold if stored poorly.

When moist organic matter lives in a warm place with very little airflow, mold can easily grow, using the organic matter as nutrients.

Mold is more likely to occur on hemp or marijuana flower that hasn’t been dried well enough. After the weed is harvested from the plant, it’s dried for several days with plenty of air flow to allow most of the moisture to leave the buds.

If it isn’t dried enough, the flower will start to grow mold once it’s packaged and shipped, especially if it’s exposed to heat.

Even when cannabis is dried long enough, mold can grow if it stays in the container for too long. This is why it’s important to check expiry dates for cannabis, especially if you’re buying it at a discount.

Is It Dangerous to Smoke Moldy Weed?

Although there aren’t many studies about the exact effects of smoking moldy weed, it is generally not advisable to smoke any sort of mold.

While moldy weed probably won’t hurt you badly, mold spores could give you an infection in your lungs. It’s especially inadvisable to smoke moldy weed if you’re immunocompromised.

There are some online resources that advise cutting parts of moldy weed away and smoking the rest, but we don’t recommend it.

That’s because the moistest part of the bud is close to the stem and where the flower is densest. Even if you think you’ve cut off the mold, it might go deeper than you think.

Again, most people will probably be fine if they smoke moldy weed by accident once or twice. But if you know how to spot it, check your weed, especially if it’s been sitting for a while.

What Happens If I Smoke Moldy Cannabis Flower?

As we’ve mentioned, it’s unlikely that you’ll be seriously harmed by moldy cannabis flowers. However, even if you don’t have an autoimmune disorder, it can make you cough, wheeze, and even vomit. Of course, if you’re allergic to mold, the impacts will be greater and could last longer.

How to Store Weed So It Doesn’t Get Moldy

Lucky for you, the weed container market has never been better. There are thousands of products out there to help you store your cannabis flower so it doesn’t get moldy.

When you’re shopping for weed storage options, always keep these three things in mind:

1. Always store flowers in a cool, dry place

Keep your weed container in a dark cabinet that doesn’t fluctuate in temperature throughout the day. Using a glass or plastic container keeps your cannabis flower dry and cool, assuming it isn’t exposed to the sun.

Although the eggplant and tomatoes we talked about would last longer in the freezer, it isn’t the same for weed. Your freezer has lots of moisture in it, and weed can still grow mold in that environment. Plus, the freezer can break off all the trichomes that make smoking and vaping flowers so pleasant.

2. Store flowers out of the sunlight

UV rays can dry out your flower if it’s stored in the sun without an airtight container. On the other hand, if your airtight container heats up from the sun, condensation will form inside from the moisture in the buds, making an ideal environment for mold.

Dark glass and plastic containers may help with this by not allowing the heat to pass through the container, but it’s always best to store your weed out of the sunlight, even if it’s in a container.

3. Control the amount of moisture

Too much moisture leads to mold, but if there isn’t any moisture in your container, you’ll notice that your flower will get dry and brittle pretty quickly. The easiest fix to this is using an airtight container in conjunction with a moisture packet.

Moisture packets feed off of the natural moisture in the container, as well as the moisture in the packet, to keep the environment from drying out. It’s the same concept as a silica packet for clothing or cured meats but made especially to keep trichomes on the bud as long as possible.

What to Do With Moldy Cannabis Flower

This is the bummer part of the article. The unfortunate reality is if you can see and smell the mold on your flower, you definitely need to throw it out.

As we mentioned earlier, some people say you can cut out the moldy bits, but we honestly don’t recommend it. You can’t cook or bake mold off of weed, and there’s always a chance that there’s more you can’t see.

Mold is super prolific once it starts growing, so if there’s more than a small trace, it’s best to trash the moldy flower.

The best way to deal with moldy weed is to prevent it. Unfortunately, it’s possible that you buy weed from the dispensary that comes with mold on it.

If you notice mold on your weed within a few days of buying it from a dispensary, contact the dispensary and ask for a replacement item. If it’s been more than a few days, it’s possible the mold started growing after you took it home.

With that in mind, it’s best to get in the practice of unpackaging, inspecting, and transferring your weed right after bringing it home from the dispensary. If you buy black-market marijuana, always take it out of the bag and transfer it to an airtight glass or thick plastic container right away.

Final Thoughts: What Should I Do With My Moldy Cannabis Flower?

Mold can occur on cannabis flowers if it’s stored in a warm place with limited airflow or if it’s stored for too long. 

It’s generally not safe to smoke moldy weed, although it won’t seriously harm healthy individuals besides nausea, vomiting, and/or coughing. If you have asthma or a respiratory issue, an allergy to mold, or an autoimmune disorder, a fungus infection resulting from moldy weed could have serious impacts on your health.

Even if you’re healthy, we don’t recommend hanging onto the moldy weed. It’s best to prevent moldy weed with proper storage in the first place. Store weed in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight and use moisture control packets to keep the right amount of moisture in the container.

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