First Things First: What is Mold?
Mold is a group of microorganisms that grow in humid and damp surroundings with poor air ventilation, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It reproduces by generating small, light, fungal spores. It can be black, white, orange, green or purple.
Outside, mold performs a significant role in nature by breaking down dead leaves, trees and plants. People inhale or eat small quantities of mold every day, most of it is not harmful to a healthy immune system at all, according to WebMD.
Mold on Cannabis
Once mold spores developed on cannabis, they are exceedingly hard to get rid of. They can withstand combustion when heated with a lighter, as well as the decarboxylation process in an oven. Some mold that grows on cannabis can generate mycotoxins, harmful compounds which cause severe disease in humans, according to the state-certified testing lab, PureLabs.
“Mold is not very common in cannabis products, but they can be introduced through growing and storage conditions that allow for mold proliferation. Cured flower products are more at risk for mold contamination since they are agricultural products that are stored in dark conditions under certain humidity requirements in which mold prefers,” says Ini Afia, chief science officer at CannaSafe, a cannabis testing lab.
The two most common types of mold found on cannabis plants are grey mold, also known as botrytis, and white powdery mildew.