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Protecting Your Cannabis From Mold: How To Spot It And Prevent It

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Protecting Your Cannabis From Mold: How To Spot It And Prevent It

Originally published for Herb as “Here’s How To Protect Your Weed From Mold” by Christopher Teague. We are reposting because mold can be a serious problem for cannabis users (and growers), and we think you should know how it can affect you, what it looks like, and how you can prevent it.

As with any fresh produce, there are two concerns when choosing cannabis: pesticides and mold. Pesticides can be controlled simply by ensuring that you, or the source you get it from, choose not to use harmful chemicals in growing or protecting their crop. Mold, on the other hand, is a product of the environment, and can sneak into herb at any stage without proper controls. Here is a handy guide to understanding, spotting, and preventing this lecherous growth from ruining your precious plants.

Why mold is bad

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For those who live in dry climates, mold is a rare concern, but for those who live in humid parts of the world, the devastation it can cause to houses and health is well known. When mold manages to get a foothold on herb intended for smoking, it can cause serious health complications. It is far more likely than getting laced weed, and its effects will often be mistaken for that more sinister culprit. It can cause, depending on the type of mold and exposure, a number of symptoms including:

  • Coughing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Diahrrea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Pneumonitis – inflammation of the walls of the alveoli in the lungs
  • Aspergilloma – mold growth in the lungs

Luckily, mold can be easily detected and dealt with if you know what to look for.

Know thy enemy

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If it is in the early stage of growth, mold may be hard to notice with the naked eye. A discerning smoker’s best friend is a jeweler’s loop or 420 Scope. If it has spread, a blacklight will make it stand out in yellow to greenish-yellow. There are 5 main types of mold that affect cannabis: Aspergillus, Penicillium, Rhizopus, Mucor, and the devastating Botrytis.

  • Aspergillus:  A family of a few hundred molds, very common both indoors and out. You would be hard pressed not to inhale its spores on a daily basis. Their effects range from the smell in stinky shoes and food spoiling to lung diseases in animals and humans, especially those with compromised immune systems
  • Penicillium: Some species are used to create the antibiotic Penicillin and in the process of making cheese. Others can ruin fruit crops, or infect and harm animals and humans
  • Rhizopus: Widely found on fruits, jellies, bread, peanuts, and tobacco. Some species are opportunistic invaders of humans through infection including diabetic complications
  • Mucor: A fast growing mold that generally doesn’t affect warm-blooded creatures, a few species can cause rapidly spreading, necrotizing infections
  • Botrytis: Also known as bud rot or bunch rot, it is most infamously known for affecting grapes. The word literally means “grape disease”. There are two types of infection of plants. “Noble rot” or dry rot is actually used to enhance the flavor of some wines while gray rot” or wet rot is a devastating killer of crops of strawberries, tomatoes, rhubarb, and cannabis. It can infect lungs causing a condition called “winegrower’s lung” in predisposed individuals.

What to look for

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When looking for mold, whether under blacklight, a magnifying glass, or with the naked eye, there are common characteristics in the growth pattern and composition of most molds that will easily set them apart from the structure of cannabis buds. Just remember that those little hairs with shiny wet globs on them that cover the buds and upper leaves are the trichomes, where THC is produced. Those are the good guys.

Mold, on the other hand, will appear as:

  • Black spots or spores
  • White, grey, brown, or yellow fuzz
  • White, grey, or black web-like material, making it appear that bugs have made their home in the bud

The smell of mold can vary, so knowing what your herb is supposed to smell like is a plus. If it suddenly starts to smell musty, like urine, off-putting lavender, or that distinctive locker room odor, it is most likely infected with mold. There are some strains of cannabis that have odors described like lavender, cat piss, moldy cheese, or even skunks, but even on these strains, you can often tell the difference between an odor caused by the plant, and a foreign contaminant.

The causes of moldy buds


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Mold spores are all around us, and few places on earth can claim to be free of them, including most hospitals. HEPA filters, air tight rooms, and clean suits can prevent them from getting in, but are impractical. As long as you mitigate the causes of their proliferation, you can control the possibility of them hurting your herb, and you.

Molds like moisture and lack of air circulation. For grow rooms, fans act not only to strengthen stems, but to prevent insects from landing and molds from getting a foothold. Any grower worth his or her salt will make sure that they separate and discard any plants suspected of having mold before harvest.

Most mold actually starts after harvest. If moisture is too high in the drying process, mold will take hold. Some people like to use fruit peels to add moisture or flavor to buds that are too dry, inadvertently infecting them with spores from the fruit. Some less scrupulous growers or black market dealers might try to moisten weed to add weight, then store it in airtight containers, causing mold to occur. I have even known some people who would bury weed bricks in the backyard to “mature” them, intentionally causing mold in the false logic that it would increase potency.

Prevention

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The moisture window for mold with cannabis is 55% for it to start to grow and spread. Any herb in conditions of at least 15% humidity could have spores land and survive, only to begin growth later. This is why both for curing buds and keeping your stash healthy at home, it is a wise course of action to invest in a hygrometer, like those used in humidors for cigars. Plastic baggies that never get opened are not the way to go.

When curing your buds, there are silica packets for keeping moisture levels down, test strips that can sit inside jars to warn of high moisture, and digital monitors for more accurate warnings. The most vital step in mold prevention besides moisture control is “burping” your containers. Make sure to infuse fresh air into the curing process often to prevent the stale breeding ground that molds love.

It’s too late, or is it?

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If you find that your crop or stash is infected with mold, it is always better to trash it than risk your health, but for the desperate, there are some steps you can take to minimize the risk of still using it.

  1. Bongs: Water filtration will reduce spore contaminants in smoke by about 15%
  2. Baking weed: 10 minutes at 200°F will kill most mold and spores, but it still will potentially put mold particulates in your lungs, and possibly make you sick
  3. Super Critical Extraction: Extracting your cannabinoids via butane or alcohol extraction will leave behind most of the mold, and is your best bet, especially if you vacuum purge at least 200°F overnight, killing any remaining spores. The higher temps used to dab conentrates will also help eliminate any stubborn survivors. This process, while your most thorough option, is still not 100% sure

Rest assured, dispensaries are way better than dealers, as they inspect any bud before putting it on shelves with microscopes and testing for the presence of contaminants, including mold. Another reason legalization is better for our health.

Have you ever been affected by moldy cannabis? What happened? Let us know in the comments below.

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What is Cannabichromene? Learn All About the CBC Cannabis Compound

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It seems like every day, there is new information about CBD. One of the latest qualities that users are looking into is the cannabinoids. The most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD, but there are many others that are worth knowing about. Actually, there is a list of six major cannabinoids and the particular focus of this article is cannabichromene (CBC).

CBC was first discovered in 1966 and it is a substance that naturally occurs in the hemp plant. Like CBD, it does not have any psychoactive properties. Generally though, CBD is not similar to THC and CBC. The substance is created by enzymatic conversion and it is the precursor to cannabigerol.

What Makes CBC Different?

CBC, unlike THC, does not bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Rather, it interacts with other receptors, such as TRPVI and TRPA1. Upon interacting with these receptors, the substance works to active the receptors and the cannabinoids in one’s system. The interaction then may boost levels of other endocannabinoids in one’s system. This may ultimately be what promotes the therapeutic qualities that the substance offers.

CBC may provide a number of advantages. Current studies suggest that when CBC interacts with other cannabinoids in one’s system, it promotes the entourage effect. This leads to therapeutic properties, such as a reduction to pain, irritation,

The Potential Benefits of CBC

There are a number of potential benefits associated with CBC. Here are the main conditions that it may be able to combat against:

May Fight Against Cancer

First, CBC may have cancer-fighting properties due to how the substance interacts with anandamide. In addition, CBC may be able to promote uptake of bliss molecules, which work to keep anandamide in the blood stream. In a recent study published in 2012, researchers surmised that CBC may prevent the growth of beast cancer tumors.

May Lead to Chronic Pain Relief

Second, CBC may be able to promote chronic pain relief. The most recent study, from 2012, indicated that CBD could block pain caused by osteoarthritis. Further, another study indicated that when CBC was combined with THC, it promotes the entourage effect and in turn, it causes anti-inflammatory properties.

May Promote Brain Growth

Third, CBC may promote brain growth. One study analyzed the impact of stem progenitor cells in adult mice and researchers concluded that CBC improved such cells, which work to generate brain function.

May Work as an Anti-Depressant

Fourth, CDC may function as an antidepressant. The substance has been tested for its impact upon anxiety disorders. One of the most recent studies showed that CDC helped rats cope better during stress tests.

These are just a few of the main potential advantages associated with CDC. A few other likely benefits of CDC is that it may have anti-bacterial properties and it may be able to fight against acne. Keep in mind that the potential benefits associated with CDC are derived from tests exclusively conducted on animals. None of the evidence is conclusive and there still needs to be a great deal of research.

Is CDC Legal?

One of the most important considerations to take into account concerning CDC is its legality – or lack thereof. Currently, only nine states have legalized marijuana (and ones that contain CDC). However, it is still federally illegal and there are efforts to enforce federal laws.

Further, marijuana plants are not specifically bred to be high in CDC, therefore it is challenging to find products that are high in the substance.

Cannabichromene Summary

Overall, CDC is a prominent substance for its therapeutic and other beneficial qualities. There are some brands that do offer marijuana products that are high in CDC, they are just difficult to find and users need to do their research about the products.

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What is Cannabigerol? Learn All About the CBG Cannabis Compound

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What is Cannabigerol? Learn All About the CBG Cannabis Compound

What Is Cannabigerol (CBG)?

Cannabigerol (CBG) is not a well-known substance, but it is one whose reputation is certainly development. CBG is a cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC and CBD, it is often at a lower concentration, but it its effects can be just as prominent and powerful.

First discovered in Israel in 1964 by marijuana researchers Yehiel Gaoni and Raphael Mechoulam, the substance is just starting to gain prominent due to its presence in the cannabis plant and its potential benefits.

CBG influences the endocannabinoid system, a complex network of receptor cells, endocannabinoids, enzymes, and other elements. The two main receptors are C1 and C2, with the former being present in the nervous system, while the later is present in the rest of the body – particularly in the immune system. With the research that does exist, it suggests that CBG binds to the CB2 receptor cells and when it is present in high doses, it may be able to block substances from binding to CB1 receptors.

This ultimately causes the “entourage effect.” Though the full implications of this effect are still being researched, the preliminary studies suggest that it may have a beneficial impact upon one’s system.

CBG Uses

CBG is currently used for its potential ability to address physical and psychological conditions. Here are just a few of the conditions that it may be able to address:

Inflammation

Inflammation is often an underlying cause of many health conditions. CBG was used in one study concerning mice with inflammatory bowel disease. Upon being given CBG for a period of time, the mice exhibited fewer bouts of the condition. Though CBG’s potential to address inflammation is clear, there is still a great deal of research that needs to go into the product. If it can indeed help those with inflammation, it may be a prime substance due to its natural properties and positive effects.

Neuroprotective Effects

CBG may also have neuroprotective effects upon one’s system. For instance, the substance is considered to be similar to an antioxidant in that it can protect the nervous system from damage. In one study, those with motor deficits were helped by the CBG.

Antimicrobial Effects

CBG may also have antimicrobial effects. The substance was tested against a number of strains of staphylococcus bacterium. CBG was able to mitigate the abundance of CBG. However, given that such bacteria are becoming more powerful and resistant, there is no telling how CBG will be able to interact with such bacterium.

Stimulates Appetite

Those who have a weak appetite may be aided by CBG as well. In one study, rats were given CBG and researchers observed their feeding habits. Rats who were given CBG experienced an improved appetite and their food intake increased as well.

Cannabigerol Consclusion

These are just a few of the primary advantages associated with CBG. Though there still needs to be a great deal of research into the effects of CBG and its properties, what is known about the substance is already a good start.

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What are Terpenes? Ultimate Health Guide to Cannabis Terpene Oils

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What are Terpenes? Ultimate Health Guide to Cannabis Terpene Oils

Those who have turned to cannabidiol (CBD) for their health and wellness needs may have heard of the word “terpenes.” These substances are just as important as every other component in CBD and being aware of them and their qualities can help users ensure that they are making the right decisions for their needs. Here is a quick and simple guide on terpenes.

The Basics of Terpenes

First and foremost, terpenes are substances that work synergistically with the phytocannabinoids in plants. Choosing a CBD product with quality terpenes can make all of the difference because these substances have their own therapeutic qualities as well.

There are nearly over 200 terpenes and they found in nearly all plants. Concerning cannabis, there are individual terpenes found there as well. Terpenes are often what drive smell, taste, and even the color of the plant. Likewise, various cannabis plants have their own types of terpenes, which is why choosing the right plant can affect the ultimately quality of one’s experience.

The most common types of terpenes that are found in cannabis are B-caryophllene, linaloon, limonene, and B- myrcene. Perhaps the most well-known type of terpene is limonene, which is found in rosemary, caraway seeds, and citrus rinds. It has a citrusy type of aroma and a sharp taste. It works well with cannabidiol and is recognized for its anti-anxiety qualities.

The other well-known terpene is B-caryophyllene. It is present in substances such as cloves, black pepper, and hops. The substance is recognized for its spicy aroma. Those who consume this substance may benefit from its anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and anti-fungal properties.

As for linalool, it is present it is often found in vitamin E. It is often found in substances such as lavender, rosewood, and birch and its flavor is described as citrusy and spicy. This substance often properties pain-relieving and calming properties.

Finally, B-myrcene is very widespread. Whether it is in the hemp plant depends upon the variety of hemp that one is using. Its aroma is earthy and fruity and those who use it may be able to benefit from its anti-inflammatory and muscle-relaxing properties.

Terpenes are significant because they influence one’s CBD experience. For example, one type of terpene in the CBD can cause a sleepy effect, while another one can promote relaxing and pain-relieving properties. Therefore, it is best to be fully aware of what is choosing.

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