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CONTAMINATED MEDICAL MARIJUANA
Nobody wants to wonder if their next hit will be their last. We all just want to get high and not die, right? Contaminated medical cannabis has been frequent on the news over the past couple years. Just recently, a young man fighting a curable cancer died from mold that was found on contaminated medical cannabis. Scientists discovered cannabis covered in mold and deadly bacteria in at least 20 different dispensaries in Northern California. Usually 20 to 30 percent of marijuana samples contain some type of mold, but this time they found that 90% of the cannabis was smothered in deadly pathogens. The risk of infection is pretty low for the majority of medical cannabis users. But patients with weakened immune systems, specifically those who suffer from leukemia, lymphoma, AIDS, and cancer, are at a higher risk. Medical Marijuana users are already fighting death, or are in an unbearable amount of pain, the last thing that they need to worry about are life threatening molds that aren’t supposed to be on their cannabis in the first place.
How dangerous are these commonly found molds?
Consuming toxic molds can cause fever, chills, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea, trouble breathing and coughing, heart palpitations, aspergilloma, and sometimes worse if untreated. There are five primary molds that effect marijuana plants. Aspergillus is a very common mold found on dead leaves and rotting vegetation. Penicillium which contains a wide range of species, can be found on organic and non-organic and is the main cause of spoiled food. Rhizopus is commonly found on spoiled fruit, tobacco, bread, jellies, and peanuts. Mucor is usually found on plants, in soil and manure, on spoiled fruits and vegetables, and processed foods. Botrytis, is found on grapes and is the cause of “winegrower’s lung”, which can cause permanent damage to your longs after long-term exposure.
How do we avoid it?
Whether it be for recreational or medicinal use, we all want clean weed, and there’s only so much we can do to make sure we’re smoking pure green. One thing you definitely shouldn’t do is buy weed from your neighborhood drug dealer. We never know what is actually put on the cannabis when we buy from unknown sources. With more and more states legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana there’s no way you shouldn’t be able to find a reliable grower. Become familiar with what your herb should look like and inspect it for mold. You can easily find mold with the naked eye, a black light, or a magnifying glass. Mold should appear as either a yellow, white, brown, or grey fuzz, as black spots, or spores. Some molds give off a distinct scent; it is usually a musty, cheesy, and sometimes urine-like smell.
Oh, but of course there’s more…
Another issue we have to worry about are the chemicals used to prevent certain molds from growing on cannabis. Bifenthrin is just one of many chemicals used on marijuana plants, and currently the most popular used to keep rid of spider mites. Bifenthrin can actually linger and contaminate non-organic items. Excessive exposure to Bifenthrin cause headaches, skin and eye irritation, nausea, and touch or sound hypersensitivity. Exposure to Bifenthrin has also shown an increase in development of tumors in scientific studies. The only way to avoid chemicals like Bifenthrin is to only smoke organically grown marijuana. So, ask your grower/dealer what chemical products have been used on the bud before you buy it.