Wonder why most fungi cause so many health issues? Some of those issues are from certain productions of fungus, known as mycotoxins.
Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites created by a fungus (molds). In basic terms, they are fungal poisons. The molds often grow on various types of crops (including cannabis/hemp) and foods under warm and humid conditions.
Types of Mycotoxins
Mycotoxins consist of four aflatoxins (O1, O2, G1, G2) and ochratoxin A. Ochratoxin A is a known carcinogen and can be dangerous. Aflatoxins are toxic, potentially causing immunotoxicity, teratogenicity, and hepatotoxicity.
Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is one of the most potent, naturally-occurring carcinogens. The most toxic member of the mycotoxins group.
What’s the Problem with Mycotoxins?
Mycotoxins are poisonous to both humans and animals. They cause various adverse effects, including acute poisoning. Long-term chronic exposure to mycotoxins may result in immune deficiencies and cancer. You can absorb mycotoxins by inhalation— for example, breathing in toxic mold in the environment, and through your skin or the intestinal lining if you eat foods contaminated with mycotoxins.
Symptoms of Possible Mold and Mycotoxin Exposure
Many symptoms and illnesses are associated with mold exposure:
- runny stuffy nose
- rapid weight gain or loss
- hair loss
- dry skin
- hypersensitivity pneumonitis
- chronic pain
- leaky gut
- blurred vision
- behavioral changes
- teeth conditions
- insulin resistance
- chemical sensitivity (Toxic Encephalopathy)
- constipation and or diarrhea
- abdominal cramps
- heart failure
Inflammatory conditions can occur due to mycotoxins’ ability to push the immune system into overdrive. It’s important to always check lab reports before using any cannabis product to ensure it is free of molds.
If mold or mycotoxin is a concern, please seek a licensed, knowledgeable practitioner to confirm a diagnosis and oversee treatment.
** Image courtesy of Quantum Analytics- Webinar: Mycotoxin Screening and Regulations in Cannabis Testing.