Aspergillus is a group of molds with over 200 different species. Detection of aspergillus contamination in cannabis is a critical aspect of quality control and consumer safety.

Stringent testing protocols are essential to ensure that cannabis products meet safety standards and do not pose health hazards to consumers, especially those with compromised immune systems. Regular testing and adherence to proper cultivation practices are crucial for preventing the growth of Aspergillus fumigatus and other contaminants in the cannabis supply chain.

Of these various aspergillus species, 16 have been deemed as possibly dangerous to human health. With the rising popularity of medical and recreational cannabis in the United States, certain states are beginning to opt for mandatory Aspergillus testing on all cannabis products that are put onto the market. California and Alaska are two of the first to adopt this policy.

California currently tests for 4 aspergillus species, which must not be detected in 1 gram of product. These species are:

Aspergillus Fumigatus Testing 

Aspergillus fumigatus is a species that infects humans more often than any other species. Aspergillus fumigatus thrives in warm and humid conditions, which can be present in certain stages of cannabis cultivation, particularly during flowering.

People who handle or are exposed to Aspergillus Fumigatus often develop a hypersensitivity to it, which can lead to severe allergic reactions. It is usually found on decomposing organic material, and can grow in environments from 20 degrees Celsius to 55 degrees Celsius.

Aspergillus Flavus Testing

Aspergillus flavus  infects humans the second most out of all species. Aspergillus Flavus thrives in warm and humid conditions, making it conducive to cannabis cultivation settings where these environmental factors are often manipulated to enhance plant growth. The fungus can infect cannabis plants during various stages of cultivation, from growth to post-harvest storage. It is known to create the carcinogenic mycotoxin, aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is not constantly being produced, but can be triggered by factors such as stress.

Aspergillus Niger Testing

Cannabis, when improperly cultivated or stored, has the potential to harbor Aspergillus Niger, a fungus known for its ability to contaminate various organic materials. Aspergillus Niger thrives in warm and humid environments, making cannabis cultivation settings susceptible to its growth. Identified as the most common species in cannabis testing, Aspergillus Niger infects humans the third most often out of all species. It is capable of creating a fungal ball in the lungs after a small amount of growth. Health effects can include hearing problems / hearing loss.

Aspergillus Terreus Testing

Aspergillus Terreus is less commonly encountered as a pathogen, however, it can be the most deadly. It is most commonly found in soil, but can grow on decomposing plant material. A. Terreus infection causes 100% mortality in people who acquire invasive aspergillosis. 

In comparison to 20 other species, A. Terreus infection is associated with the poorest prognosis, and has been named the leading cause of death in Leukemia and Stem Cell Transplantation patients. It has almost complete resistance to Amphotericin B, the most common drug used for serious fungal infections.

How dangerous is cannabis aspergillus detection?

Symptoms of exposure to Aspergillus in cannabis testing can induce allergic reactions, including asthma attacks, and cause serious infections. People with weakened immune systems are susceptible to infection of the lungs primarily, and Aspergillus infections are categorized in the group of diseases called Aspergillosis.

Patients where the following factors apply are at the highest risk for infection:

  • Ingestion of immunosuppressive drugs (after undergoing bone or organ transplants)
  • Low white blood cell count (chemotherapy)
  • Asthma or Cystic Fibrosis
  • Long-term Corticosteroid therapy

What can I do to make sure my cannabis is clean from aspergillus testing?

Willow Industries has founded a cannabis kill-step solution specifically for the purpose of providing clean, decontaminated cannabis to your consumers. 

Our technology doesn’t just deactivate Aspergillus spores, but it eliminates them entirely. We believe every consumer should have peace of mind knowing that their cannabis is free from any possible contaminants. Furthermore, medical patients should be confident that their medicinal cannabis would not do them any harm, even if they were immune-compromised. Contact us today to explore how we can help you create the cleanest possible product.