While all dispensaries and caregivers should be keeping an eye out for mold, mildew and pests on their cannabis, the sad truth is that there is dirty medicine out there no matter if it's coming from a huge warehouse or a tiny basement grow.
The guys over at The Releaf Center in the Highlands notice it as well, mostly from vendors bringing in extra herb hoping to sell it off. Manager Jake Browne says that Releaf Center puts the herb through a rigorous process before buying it and often turn people away for having mold, mites or mildew in the buds. But, he says, those people likely sell it elsewhere -- like less observant dispensaries or through Craigslist.
Browne and the growers at The Releaf Center put together a patient guide on what nasty stuff to look for in meds patients suspect of having issues, along with some rather gross pics of dirty meds. It's one of the first comprehensive guides I've seen detailing what each problem is and what each of the big three looks like from a consumer's point of view instead of a grower's. Because it gives patients an idea of what to look for and avoid, it's not a bad thing for every MMJ users to peruse.
You can spot the problems with your naked eye or a regular magnifying glass most of the time, but having a good digital scope or jeweler's glass around will be helpful. Browne says that when possible, look at larger buds with more leaves on them, as mite and mildew damage is easier to spot on fan leaves.
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Mile Highs and Lows advice: If you find anything questionable in your herb or smell what you think is mildew or mold (not unlike a bag of bread gone south), bring it up with your budtender or caregiver. If they are unresponsive and the problems persists, find somewhere/someone new to supply your herb. There's too much good stuff in Colorado to settle.
You can find the "Patient Guide to Recognizing Mold, Mildew and Mites" on The Releaf Center's blog or check it out below (clicking "Fullscreen" will make it easier to read):