After harvest, my buds were dried and put into paper bags in large plastic containers. After a few weeks the containers were opened. The buds had a stringy looking mold on them! They were dried out but look dark now, not like the usual bud mold. Is this mold harmful if smoked?
A Friend,
Mendocino, California

The reason the buds look so dark is that they suffer from bacterial rot. The rot destroys the green chlorophyll and turns the tissue darker. They produce ammonia so they may have an acrid smell, especially when the bag is first opened. This will fade as the gas evaporates or the weed dries out. Bacterial rot is the process that turns bricked cannabis brown. The slightest amount of moisture in the buds is enough to support bacterial action.

The bacteria that feed on the dead plant tissue do not seem to be harmful since brown marijuana has been consumed in the US for more than 40 years with few health crises as a result.

The fungal webs are another story. Fungi and mold often produce toxins that kill or repel their enemies. These chemicals may also be harmful to humans. So it is foolish to risk your health by consuming fungal-infected herbs or food. Don’t use these buds.

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