Mildew, Mold and Fungus in Cannabis – How bad is it?

This is a continuation of my post in April about mycotoxins. Before going on to the health conditions that can be brought on or exacerbated by mildew, mold and fungus, I really feel I must share with you some information I got from a lab owner who is in touch with companies all over America that test cannabis. So far there have been no occurrences of the more dangerous molds, like (Aspergillus niger, black mold), in cannabis tested throughout America. Non-toxic molds can show up but rarely cause illness because they are plant, not human, pathogens. It is even more rare for these molds and fungus to hit the legal market in places where they are tested for.  You are more likely to see molds and fungus in outdoor grown cannabis than indoors because spores are always present outdoors, and an indoor grow enables more control.  That’s not to say that a bad cure won’t produce mold, because it can easily happen. You are also more likely to see molds and fungus in black market products than from dispensaries that have their cannabis tested before it hits the shelves. Also important to know, if there isn’t any kind of mold or fungus to begin with, there won’t be any mycotoxins. Period. These dangerous mycotoxins are a by-product of fungus, and these specific kinds of fungi not commonly associated with cannabis. Also – cannabinoids as well as many terpenes associated with cannabis, are anti-fungal, making it even harder for these things to exist in cannabis that is terpene rich. Some of you may remember the smelly, moldy brick weed/schwag that came up from the south, (and still does). Yeah, we smoked it, nobody tested it, and we are still here remembering those days.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms shown in the list below it may not even be because of contaminated cannabis, and this is extremely important. There are many sources of spores, and even in our dry climate many homes are contaminated with mold. Spores are in the air we breath. But it is still very important that we test the cannabis anyway so to eliminate that as a suspect. Also understand that the requirements for maximum contamination are very low in NM, (1,000 CFU/g*). WHO, (the World Health Organization), as well as AHP, (American Herbal Pharmacopoeia) find that the threshold of 10,000 CFU/g is not only acceptable, but also safe and more practical. It is kind of silly that our state has chosen such a high standard for cannabis, because cigarettes/cigars/pipe tobacco smoked, and herbal supplements ingested are not held to the same standard. What is even stranger in my opinion, is that IF mycotoxin testing of cannabis is so important why has the testing been put off yet again here in NM? Why are they only testing for mold and fungus? Mycotoxin testing is required. It’s either very important or not important at all, right? Well, it IS important, and really more important than the fungal testing since many fungi and mold do not even produce the dangerous mycotoxins, and the tests performed in NM don’t even tell what kind of fungus or mold is found, but only if there is ANY present, good or bad. This is ridiculous.

Please consider all that I have mentioned before jumping to any conclusions with this list. Being patients with multiple health issues, we all have probably seen many things on this list that we have encountered or are presently dealing with.  I see a bunch of conditions I have dealt with. I have no clue what I have been exposed to in my life. Few of us do.

In all likelihood, if you have been poisoned from a dangerous mold, it probably came from another source, like your heating/cooling ducts/ leaks in roof and walls, moldy produce, mold in your yard/garden/neighborhood, and on and on. And then there’s pesticides. Moldy cannabis may taste yucky, but pesticides, which NM is yet to require testing of, are more dangerous and more likely to cause illness when used improperly. News reports from many states show that more dangerous pesticides are found in the Cannabis Industry than dangerous mycotoxins.

Where does that leave us? It leaves us guessing. Hell, many of us may have been exposed to these dangerous substances before we ever tried cannabis. Or we may be ill because of the black market cannabis in our past. Or a moldy rental. It’s a mystery not easily solved, if at all. Also keep in mind that this list represents pesticide contamination symptoms too, (chemical poisoning), and there is no testing required for pesticides on cannabis in New Mexico.

*colony-forming unit (CFU or cfu) – a measure of viable bacterial or fungal cells. CFU measures only viable cells. For convenience the results are given as CFU/mL (colony-forming units per milliliter) for liquids, and CFU/g (colony-forming units per gram) for solids.

Mycotosis (mycotoxin poisoning) Symptoms

•    Anaphylaxis upon re-exposure to mycotoxin producing molds
•    Anemia, leukopenia, neutropenia, frequent infections
•    Anxiety, depression
•    Asthma, wheezing, shortness in breath, coughing, chronic bronchitis
•    Balance problems, dizziness, vertigo
•    Bladder, liver, spleen, and/or kidney pain and problems
•    Boils on neck
•    Burning after urination, frequent urination, dark urine
•    Burning in the throat and lungs
•    Cancer
•    Chemical Sensitivity
•    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
•    Chronic allergies, congestion, sneezing, sinusitis
•    Cognitive dysfunction; memory loss, slurred speech, confusion, dementia
•    Coughing up blood, brown or black looking debris
•    Difficulty swallowing, choking, spitting up
•    Dirt-like taste in mouth, coated tongue
•    Extreme blood pressure, cholesterol, or triglycerides irregularities
•    Fibromyalgia
•    Hair loss, premature graying of hair
•    Hallucinations
•    Headaches, migraines
•    Heart palpitations, irregular heart beat, tachycardia, heart attack
•    Hypersensitivity
•    Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
•    Intermittent face flushing
•    Insensitivity to heat and alcohol
•    Irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, sharp abdominal pains, stomach lesions
•    Joint and muscle stiffness and pain
•    Low grade fevers
•    Multiple food allergies/leaky gut syndrome/altered immunity
•    Neuropsychiatric manifestations; mood disorder, irritability, rage, aggression, OCD, addiction
•    Night sweats, head sweats, profuse and/or excessive sweating, excessive salvia
•    Nose bleeds
•    Numbness, paresthesia, peripheral neuropathy, Bell’s palsy
•    Rashes and/or hives, bruising/scarring easily, bloody lesions all over the skin
•    Reproductive system complications; irregular menstrual cycles, miscarriage, infertility
•    Ringing in ears, loss of hearing
•    Seizures
•    Swollen lymph nodes
•    Thyroid irregularities, adrenal problems
•    Tremors, muscle spasms, inadvertent facial movements,
•    Vision problems
•    Weight loss or weight gain, sudden and severe
•    Yellowing of nails, ridges, or white marks under nails

Once again, while you may be experiencing these symptoms, it may not be from your cannabis, and it may not be mycotosis. Further testing is required to determine cause of your symptoms, and these days, when the cancer rate is up, pesticides are used regularly, soils are depleted of minerals, and more GMO foods are showing up everyday, we are all up a creek. Know what you are ingesting!


One Comment

  1. i’m afraid you have been grossly mislead.

    mold is a huge issue (and all forms are bad, inhaling mold spores are bad for the lungs), and it’s more obvious than ever before, now that the industry is becoming legalized. I spoke to one grower, who’s had 75% of his crop destroyed because it was mold infested. he’s not alone.

    even regulated government growers are using banned pesticides (that are also poisonous) to avoid mold growth (and getting caught). and that’s yet another massive issue in the industry.

    cyanide (byproduct from toking up with cannabis treated with banned fungicidal pesticide) or mycotoxin?

    but you are correct, mold is elsewhere in the food chain, but since we don’t generally “smoke food”, it tends to be safer.

    pick your poison.

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