Officials in Nevada flagged a cannabis product being sold at a dispensary in the Reno, Nevada area, after lab testing data revealed fungus contamination. Consumers are advised to stay on the safe side and dispose of any flagged cannabis products that could be potentially harmful.
The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) issued a Public Health and Safety Bulletin on Friday advising people who buy cannabis to avoid or take caution when consuming a particular product that tested positive for traces of fungus. Nevada requires that all cannabis is tested for contaminants including both fungus and unapproved fungicides. Smoking certain species of fungi can lead to deadly infections in the lungs and the brain.
The contaminated cannabis was sold during the month of May, and some consumers could be affected. There are no known reports, however, of any illness at the time of writing.
“The following cannabis package tested positive for Aspergillus fumigatus and was sold between May 9 and May 21, 2023,” the board wrote, identifying a half ounce bag of flower from Phantom Farms, the strain Dancing Monkey.
The batch of cannabis initially passed testing, however, lab technicians re-analyzed the sample and determined it was contaminated with fungus.
“There is no reason to believe the laboratory was aware the cannabis was actually positive for the presence of Aspergillus fumigatus at the time they reported the negative results,” the report continues. “There is also no reason to believe the cannabis sales facility had any knowledge of the presence of A. fumigatus in the affected cannabis package.”
The bulletin then identified a dispensary near Reno that was selling the product. The affected cannabis was sold at Silver State Relief Fernley in Fernley, Nevada, which is outside of Reno, between May 9, 2023 and May 21, 2023.
The dispensary will be forced to inform their customers about the contaminated cannabis via bulletin.
“The listed sales facility is requested to display this bulletin in a conspicuous location on their premises for 30 days to ensure their customers are aware of this information,” the bulletin continues. “There are no known reports of illness at this time. Health impacts from Aspergillus fumigatus may exist. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides general information on Aspergillosis, which is an infection that can be caused by certain Aspergillus species, including Aspergillus fumigatus.”
Not All Fungus is Bad
Many forms of fungus are bad news for plants: Root and stem rot, bud rot, and powdery mildew are three of the most common fungal diseases affecting cannabis. Growers are most likely to detect forms of gray mold.
More specifically, common fungal infections that can harm cannabis plants include the species Botrytis cinerea, powdery mildew, Aspergillus, Rhizoctonia Solani, Fusarium, and Sclerotinia Sclerotiorum.
That said, not all fungus that forms on cannabis plants are necessarily harmful. While Aspergillus fumigatus is bad and can cause health problems, a beneficial fungus—mycorrhizae—is a different story.
In 2016, High Times reported that mycorrhiza grows inside and around the roots of the plant and feeds on the sugars it provides. In turn, the mycorrhiza decomposes organic matter, solubilizes phosphates, and “delivers the nutrients it scavenges directly to the root.” This fungus behaves like an extension of the plant’s own root system. Without mycorrhiza, plants struggle to survive unless provided with all the right nutrients in soluble form, i.e. hydroponics. Plants grown in soil with mycorrhizae are far more tolerant to extreme temperatures, drought and plant diseases.
To keep informed about cannabis recalls in Nevada, check out the Nevada CCB website.