Did you know that your dry cannabis can get moldy? It’s true. The only ingredient needed for mold is water. Cannabis is a natural plant like a rose or thyme and we know these products even when dried, do not last forever. Cannabis curators have an even more difficult task due to the fact that cannabis should not be dried to more than 10-15% moisture content to ensure freshness. Cannabis below a 10% moisture content is usually referred to as “harsh” because of its fast burning properties which can make one cough. Moldy cannabis (also mentioned here as “contaminated cannabis”) can cause illnesses in those who smoke or ingest the affected buds.

While illnesses caused by cannabis are generally rare, it’s important to stay informed. Here are some of the key details you should understand about cannabis contamination and cannabis-related illnesses.

The causes of cannabis-related illness can include:

  • Contamination in cultivation Whereby chemicals have been added to enhance the growth of the cannabis plant or control pests/disease. Chemicals like pesticides, nitrogen, potassium, and common cleaning products have the potential to harm users when added to cannabis.
  • Contamination in storage Here, molds and fungi can grow on a plant if not properly stored in airtight containers.
  • Exposure to unclean surfaces and allergens In the instance that cannabis comes in contact with contaminants and allergens from improper handling.

Signs your cannabis may be contaminated or moldy:

  • It’s an unusual colour Including grey or light green powdery substances around the bud. In this instance, your cannabis may be infected with mold.
  • It’s damp and has a spongy texture This may also be from mold.
  • It smells off If your cannabis smells damp or very sweet, it may be contaminated.

The symptoms of such cannabis contamination can range from the following, depending on the method of consumption:

  • Stomach aches
  • Sore lungs or chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea
  • High fever
  • Eye inflammation
  • Itchy throat
  • Excessive mucus production

Next time you or a friend experience any or all of the following after having consumed cannabis, make sure to inspect any remaining product you might have or discontinue using it.

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