Sunday, April 27, 2008

Danger! Aspergillus in Cannabis can kill you.

This is a warning for cannabis users and growers of the dangers of burying, or incorrectly drying/curing of your buds. This post is not intended to teach you the details of how to dry or cure, it'll just point out the fungi that can grow on badly processed marijuana and the dangers of these fungal growths, especially Aspergillus. It will also offer advice on how to prevent your weed becoming a host for these nasty fungi.

Most people will have heard stories about buying moldy weed, or buried weed that is supposed to be wicked smoke. Anecdotal evidence suggests there is only one fungus that will make you higher when it grows on weed. Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, the fungus that does grow on badly cured or stored weed can not only ruin your stash or make you sick, but in some cases, it can kill you.

The reason I'm making this post is because many people use cannabis to treat a variety of diseases that lower the bodies immune systems, which makes them more vulnerable to infections from these fungi.

What Causes a 'Bad Dry/Cure?'

A 'bad dry' is when your buds haven't dried properly. That is, the optimum moisture content for correctly dried bud should be more than 10 - 15%. Fresh cannabis generally has a moisture content of around 80%, so it is extremely important to get this moisture away from the crop. If not dried properly, the excess moisture in the cannabis will encourage growth of these pathogens.


Some growers recommend leaving the plants without water until just before you would normally water them again. This lowers the moisture content of the plants to help speed the drying process. To ensure that the plants reach their full potential, leave them in the dark for around 24 hours before harvesting. Experienced growers suggest that this will ensure optimum THC content. For medicinal cannabis users, this is important.

Drying and Curing to help prevent mould.

Drying should be done in a relatively cool, dark area. Heat and light tends to break down, or oxidize THC, lowering the quality of the final product. So, it is best to allow the drying bud to hang for a day or so, then introduce gentle air circulation to assist the moisture reduction process. It may also pay to rotate the harvest to ensure an even dry. It is also important to allow air circulation between your hanging crop. This discourages uneven drying and further prevents mould infestation. The drying process can take from threee to ten days, depending on temperature and air flow. The age old test for correctly dried material is to snap a stem. If it snaps, it's dry enough. If it still bends, it's still too moist. Monitor your drying crop daily.

Curing to prevent mould.

Most long time growers will take their dried buds and store them loosely in large sealable jars. Remember, air circulation is important. The jars should be checked daily and allowed to air with the lids open to release any moisture or ammonia build-up from the chlorophyll breaking down.
Curing can take from a week to a month, so keep an eye on them and do the odd smoke and/or squeeze test. You don't want over-dry buds because they'll end up tasting too harsh.

The Dangers of Aspergillus

Aspergillus fungus is found almost everywhere; compost, soil, other plants etc. In normal circumstances, the body can compete with this fungus and people suffer no ill effects. However, if you are susceptible to, or suffer from resperatory conditions such as asthma, or you have a disease that lowers you bodies immunity like Hepatitus or HIV, the risks of contracting an Aspergoillosis affliction increase dramatically.

Cases have been reported of deaths and near deaths of people who have smoked aspergillus contaminated cannabis.

The Lycaeum website has an excellent article that goes into more detail and I recommend you check it out.

One of the reasons why Timothy Garon has had problems obtaining a Liver transplant is due to many hospitals rejecting patients based on their past drug use. Timothy was prescribed Marijuana by his GP, but it still made no difference to the advisory boards of two hospitals. One of the reasons for the rejection was:

Many doctors agree that using marijuana — smoking it, especially — is out of the question post-transplant.

The drugs patients take to help their bodies accept a new organ increase the risk of aspergillosis, a frequently fatal infection caused by a common mold found in marijuana and tobacco.

More information on Aspergillus can found at The Aspergillus/Aspergillosis web site.

I have only covered one dangerous fungus that can found on badly cured cannabis. There are many more. The sites below can offer more information on both the fungi that attacks cannabis, and more detailed information about successful drying and curing...

A Pro medical cannabis submission to the NSW Govt.

Drying Marijuana Plants

Thanks for reading folks.
Preserving Marijuana Potency