A frightening, new report emerged last week out of the UC Davis Department of Medical Microbiology, claiming that scientists had discovered the presence of a dangerous fungus on the medical marijuana being sold in dispensaries throughout the northern portion of California that is, so far, suspected to have killed at least two patients.
It seems that after a number of leukemia and lymphoma patients showed up at the UC Davis medical center with a rare, severe lung infection, researchers launched a full-scale investigation into the matter in hopes of determining a cause. What they discovered was these people had been smoking medical marijuana tainted with a dangerous mold – something that has little to no impact on the body of a healthily individual but it is potentially life threatening for those patients with weakened immune systems.
The report prompted a certain level of panic within the cannabis community, especially in those states, like California, which do not yet require dispensaries to test their marijuana before making it available to the public, raising all sorts of questions over how to determine whether medical marijuana was infected with a fungus.
So, how can you tell if you have moldy weed?
For starters, it is important for a person to use their basic senses when examining cannabis that is suspected of having mold. If the product has a musty smell and some discoloration (black, light blue or green dots), it should be discarded immediately.
The mold itself (Aspergillus) may appear to be a cluster of white crystals known as Trichomes. But upon closer inspection, the growth will not look or feel much differently than what might appear on bread once it starts to deteriorate. Some people mistake cannabis crystals for mold, but the dangerous fungus will actually grow on top of these formations – making it simple for the consumer to locate. However, not all infected weed is easy to spot. If the dispensary happens to trim the mold from the product, it may look healthy but it will still contain spores that will make it unsafe for consumption.
And according to The 420 Shack, no amount of fire or even a nuclear blast can kill the spores.
“The spores can survive pretty much anything this side of hard radiation. So, NO, you cannot kill the spores with fire,” the report reads. “If by chance you have a very weak immune system or you’re immune compromised, when you smoke moldy weed the spores can settle into your lungs and grow large mold balls, which are hard to get rid of and sometimes have to be removed surgically.”
It is important to remember that moldy marijuana cannot be made fit for consumption. Infected products should always be thrown out- even if the consumer is relatively healthy and at little risk for a lung infection.