How to avoid and spot weed mold?

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Checking for marijuana mold
April 01, 2021
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It’s perfectly normal to see critters crawling around on plants, but these tiny little bad boys aren’t the only living organism that like to take a bite out of your marijuana plants. Yes, we’re talking about moldly marijuana. In this article, we will explain how to avoid and spot marijuana mold on weed. So, let’s take a look!

Okay, so you might be used to spotting the odd bit of mold on a piece of bread or the corner of your cheese! But, what does mold look like on a marijuana? Can weed get moldy? And what might happen if we smoked moldy weed? 

Fear not! Marijuana mold is common and you’re likely to encounter it at some stage during your growing endeavors. We’re here to answer all your questions and give you the lowdown on three types of fungus you might encounter as you grow and learn about weed.

If you are ready to attack moldy weed and maintain healthier cannabis plants, read on!

What is marijuana mold?

When you think of ‘mold,’ your’e likely conjure up images of fluffy rotten food left at the back of the fridge. Not nice, right? Mold on marijuana plants is a bit harder to spot, as these little critters nibble away at your pretty weed leaves you might need to get in the habit of lifting the plant leaves up from time to time, just to check that these bad boys aren’t munching away underneath spreading mold, unknown to you. 

Avoiding and spotting marijuana mold is easy if you know what to look for. Fungus works by forming a dense mass of fibers called mycelium, and mold doesn’t have a digestive system so instead, mold releases enzymes to break down substances, including plant matter and wood. They’re known as nature’s great decomposers as they destroy waste, dead animals, and plant matter into tiny particles to return to the soil, which we know as the circle of life. As beautiful as the life cycle is, mold just isn’t cool on our marijuana crop.

So, what does moldy marijuana look like? Well, fungus on your plants isn’t as obvious as it is on food, but it’s fairly easy to spot, if you look out for it. The mold tends to have a grayish-white coating and it has a slight aroma which you should notice if you sniff it closely. 

Cannabis mold

If you’re not an experienced consumer or grower, it can be confusing. You’ll need to understand if you’re dealing with trichomes vs. mold.

Trichomes

When you look closely, you’ll notice that trichomes appear like tiny hairs that glitter, it is the shiny, sticky crystals on leaves and buds and gives marijuana that delightful, infamous aroma. You can avoid and spot cannabis mold if you understand the three types of weed mold;

Weed mold

Whereas, white mold on weed looks powdery and it (fungus) tends to give off a musty or mildew smell, which is the give away if you are unsure. 

Spot and avoid the three different types of mold on weed

If you’re unsure of what you’re dealing with and you still have concerns about, ‘what does mold on weed look like?’, then we’ve put together a little description of the three different varieties you might experience with your weed plants or weed in storage. 

Understanding basic knowledge about each type of moldy weed will help you keep your cannabis clean and safe. Here, we will help you get familiar with the traits, signs, and symptoms so you can treat and prevent mold forming on your weed in the future. After all, the only one consuming your marijuana should be you!

To avoid and spot cannabis mold you need to be extra careful if your indoor cannabis humidity levels are high, as this provides the perfect environment for any mold.

Spot and avoid cannabis bud rot

This gray mold, AKA (also known as) botrytis, usually attacks your plants through openings and wounds. Nothing is safe from bud rot and even healthy plants are at risk. Fungus is difficult to avoid as it spreads through airborne transmission and is almost always existent in the air. 

When bud rot enters an opening, its spores tend to spread rapidly, which has the potential to infect a whole plant and even its neighbors. 

Bud rot cannabis
An example of cannabis bud rot

Check on your weed crop and weed stock and understand what you are looking out for! If you are concerned about marijuana root rot dig deeper and learn more in this article.

  • Small, black mold on weed in dot formations
  • Large, fuzzy gray areas
  • Buds and leaves shrivel, turn brown and die
  • Leaf tips go from green to yellow to brown

Spot and avoid white powdery mildew

Despite there being one collective name, a variety of powdery mildew exist. It doesn’t matter the species as they all create a fine dust-like layer on the foliage. Your knowledge of powdery mildew vs. trichomes is crucial when growing weed, so, let’s understand whether you have an issue or not. 

Okay, so the infection (the spread of weed mold) begins as a small patch of tiny critters and they spread into larger areas on lower leaves. Over time, the mold (fungus) expands to your weed branches, weed stems and flowers. If an infection reaches advanced stages, the weed mold produces spores on the most compromised leaves.

Avoid and spot your weed stock and crop: understand what to look for!

  • White, powdery patches on fan leaves
  • Stunted growth and distorted weed leaves
  • Discolored plant tissue
  • New weed leaves and flowers look infected

Spot and avoid sooty marijuana mold

If you spot black mold on weed, it could be the sooty variety. This type of fungus creates a dark, flaky powder on the leaves and it looks like it belongs to a chimney sweep, hence the name. The black dust is super easy to spot so you can treat it quickly

The small black patches begin to spread until they cover the surface of fan leaves. Sooty mold on weed disrupts photosynthesis, impeding your plant’s growth

Avoid and spot your crop and stock: what to look for!

  • ‘Black soot’ on the weed leaves
  • Aphids, leafhoppers and whiteflies on your weed plant

Spotting and avoiding marijuana mold at different grow stages

Throughout the life of your marijuana plant’s, there is always the chance that marijuana mold will come creeping along out of the blue. Even, if you make it through every stage’s, you’re most likely to get a mold attack in the last two weeks before harvest, so keep your’e eye’s peeled more often around this time otherwise it can damage your entire weed crop.  

A last-minute invasion of marijuana mold is so frustrating, especially when you know that being around mold and or smoking moldy weed can be really harmful to you. Basically, never roll a joint with buds that look fuzzy white, brown, black, or gray. Ask yourself, would you eat a moldy, fuzzy tomato? No, of course you wouldn’t. If you smoke or cook moldy weed you are risking the following health issues (symptoms);

  • Coughing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sinus pain
  • Congestion
  • Wheezing

The above symptoms will intensify if you have asthma, allergies or any related respiratory conditions. The most sensible approach, when growing and storing your own weed is to keep checking on your crop and fully understand what you are looking throughout different stages of weed growth and the possible spread of mold

Vegetative stage

During the vegetative stage of your weed plant’s life, white powdery mildew is the most likely to appear. Your cannabis will be enjoying spreading its leaves that create a hot and humid environment. These conditions pave the way to white mold on weed. This fungus finds its way to your leaves, buds, and stems

Your leaves will look like someone threw flour on them, which is a bad sign and if you allow it to get out of control, then these pesky mold critters will destroy buds and possibly the entire plant

Keep your eye on your marijuana during this stage, we need to avoid it and spot it, especially if you’re growing indoors. When weed plants get big in small spaces, there’s less airflow, which can form pockets of stagnant air, which may lead to mold on weed.

Cannabis Vegetative Stage
Cannabis vegetative stage

Flowering stage

Can cannabis become moldly during the flowering stage? Yes. The flowering period is a very susceptible time for your weed so and your plant is prone to the white fuzzy mold and the dark brown or dusty gray kind. Sadly, the bigger and denser your buds are, the easier it is for an invasion of mold to occur. 

Whatever type of mold infects your weed buds, the buds all have the same effect; bud rot takes hold inside the flower without you knowing. You’ll think everything is going well until the leaves suddenly die on you. Soon after, the bud will discolor and you’ll know mold is taking over. Not cool!

When bud rot strikes, you need to act fast and cut down all affected flowers and trash them. Your best bet is to harvest the plant immediately because an infection can spread rapidly and damage your entire marijuana crop overnight. 

Flowering Cannabis Plant
A cannabis plant at flowering stage

Understand the difference between trichomes and mold

If you notice white mold on marijuana buds, you’ll have to understand whether it’s trichomes or mold. Trichomes should be there and are what gives your marijuana its delightful smell. Whereas, marijuana mold needs to be removed. Remind yourself, mold on weed is bacteria and smoking moldy weed is not cool!

Remember that trichomes look like tiny hairs or crystals, whereas mold tends to look powdery. To make sure you don’t make any mistakes, a magnifying glass works well. Imagine if in error, you harvested early just because you thought there was marijuana mold on your pot plant, but in fact it was harmless trichomes!

Avoid and spot weed mold during drying and curing marijuana stages

If you’re at the drying and curing stage, well done you! This means you’ve worked extremely hard up until now and you’ll be harvesting some beautiful-looking weed buds. At this stage, it’s important not to let your guard down. Mold can still occur at the drying and curing stages. During drying and curing, this method plays a massive role in your weed’s potency, appearance, and taste. Turning a blind eye to moldy weed at this stage could be fatal.

When you dry and cure weed properly, you can prevent mold. The thing is, without knowing it, you can easily create an environment that is ideal for fungus to form, so don’t skip any corners. Make sure you check your buds frequently and react quickly if you spot, even the smallest signs of weed mold.  

How to treat and prevent mold on pot plants

Ideally, you will avoid and spot marijuana mold before you have to deal with it. Depending upon, if you’re growing marijuana indoors or outdoors, there are a few grow techniques you can apply to ensure your marijuana plant has the healthiest life possible. Definitely consider investing in a marijuana nutrient plant protectant. A good bug spray is an essential growing toolkit to prevent mold and to boost roots and add supplements.

Bug Blaster 20ml by Homegrown Cannabis Co.
Bug Blaster 20ml by Homegrown Cannabis Co.

Indoor mold prevention

If you’re an indoor weed grower, you’ll need to create the perfect environment from the get-go. Keep humidity relatively low and set up an exhaust system. Consider these tips to prevent cannabis mold inside.

  • Place fans around the growing space so your plants get air from above and below to prevent stagnant air.
  • Stay on top of pruning and trimming by being aware of overall plant mass. The more leaves there is, the more moisture.
  • Invest in a quality humidity monitor and check it regularly.
  • Do a quality check often to inspect buds and act quickly if you see any signs of moldy weed.
  • Don’t let the environment get too hot or cold.
  • Grow strains renowned for withstanding mold. Great indoor options include Moby Dick and Sweet Tooth.
  • If you get mold on weed, it’s best to harvest the plant as soon as possible. The longer your infected cannabis stays among the crop, the more mold spores will be in the air meaning other plants will get infected.

Outdoor Mold Prevention

Growing weed outdoors makes it a little easier to prevent mold on pot plants as they’ll have more access to natural airflow. Discover more, about keeping pests off your plants and avoid and spot mold by following our grow techniques below;

  • Shake your plants every morning to get rid of dew and after every rainfall. Wet buds are a breeding ground for fungus, so you need to avoid them as much as possible. 
  • Plant in a spot where there’s lots of breeze and sunlight to help keep leaves dry. 
  • Protect your weed as much as possible from wet and cold climates. 
  • Plant cannabis in portable containers so you can move during bad weather. 
  • Space your weed out, so no plants are touching.
  • Grow resistant strains for the outdoors, which could be Frisian Dew or Jamaican Pearl.
  • If the weather is too cool or wet, harvest immediately. These conditions are prime for cannabis mold and bud rot, and once one plant gets infected, it can spread rapidly. 

Prevent moldy weed and keep your marijuana plants healthy

If you do experience marijuana mold, it will look off and smell off, in fact, it will probably make you sneeze or cough when you get really close to it. This human reaction makes it easy to identify!

If you grow you own weed at home, we strongly suggest that you get in the habit of checking on your weed plants and weed stock often and ensure you create the correct environment. It’s important for you to fully enjoy the benefits from growing cannabis at home and ‘how to’, so you can prevent the majority of fungus from attacking your cannabis in the future. 


Now know, how to avoid and spot mold on weed, if or when it happens again, you now know how to act fast and you know what to look out for. Stay informed and join our community and discover more and learn how grow your own weed.

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