Cannabis Trichomes – Why Are They Important?
26 Oct 2020
While many of us have an excellent time enjoying the benefits of our favourite icky sticky, we may not be entirely familiar with its various components, such as cannabis trichomes, and how they play into the overall weed experience.
Don’t worry. We aren’t going to get too technical with our explanation, but it’s important to understand just what cannabis trichomes are and why they are significant.
You likely already recognize them just from staring at your bud with the naked eye, but you probably aren’t aware of their technical name and actual purpose.
Cannabis trichomes are the beautiful tiny crystals that you see on the surface of your weed that make it smell and taste all kinds of fantastic. These small wonders contain the righteous resin, cannabinoids and terpenes and flavonoids that contribute to your favourite strains’ aroma and flavour.
They also serve as the building blocks for your favourite cannabis concentrates, including cannabis oil, hash, and shatter.
This article will break down just what cannabis trichomes are and why they are crucial in your overall weed experience.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
What are Cannabis Trichomes?
In short, cannabis trichomes are small, hair-like resin glands that make your bud look like it’s been delightfully dipped in sugar.
And let us tell you, they are pretty sweet in more ways than one.
Like people, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with the three most common types of trichomes being: bulbous trichomes, capitate sessile trichomes, and capitate-stalked trichomes.
The consistency of trichomes is shiny yet sticky, and they are the main sites of cannabinoid and essential oil production in the buds of the cannabis or medical marijuana plant.
But don’t let their size fool you. These tiny crystals have a big job. They are responsible for the variation in potency, effectiveness, and flavour in your favourite strains of weed.
Trichomes are not unique to just cannabis plants, however. They are present on many different plant species throughout nature, and they take on multiple physical forms while serving a variety of different purposes.
What do Cannabis Trichomes do?
Cannabis trichomes, specifically, operate as a defence mechanism for marijuana plants. In the wild, when lady cannabis plants are at the flowering stage, they are especially vulnerable to all sorts of bugs and animals as well as other environmental factors like UV rays.
Female cannabis plants are ladies. They don’t want anyone stealing their flower. You know how it is.
In this way, trichomes serve to fend off animals because they taste bitter and smell very strongly.
But their loss is our gain!
As we said before, trichomes are where all the tasty, amazing-smelling goodness comes in the form of cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, resin and terpenes and flavonoids that make your favourite weed strains and their effects unique.
They also operate as the primary component of cannabis concentrates, such as hash, shatter, and cannabis oil.
Cannabinoids and terpenes gather between the outer portion of trichomes as the cannabis plant grows. Since they’re filled with resin, when trichomes break, the ooey-gooey stuff on the inside comes out, which is what makes your bud sticky.
Eventually, the trichome will grow thicker, and the head of the gland will eventually mature and fall off as the cannabis buds finish growing.
This fact is crucial if you plan on growing your own weed. If you want to ensure that your buds have the most THC or CBD possible, you do not want to wait for the trichomes to fall off. If this ends up happening, you’ve let the plant grow for too long.
You can tell it’s time to harvest by what colour the trichomes are in the growing process. At the beginning of the process, you will likely see amber trichomes. However, they will turn cloudy or opaque before harvest.
Many growers opt to harvest their weed when just half of the trichomes are opaque to get the highest possible concentration of THC.
In this sense, the potency of the trichomes is directly correlated to when they are harvested. Trichomes also serve as a method of measuring the overall maturity of your cannabis flowers.
Which Strains Have the Most Trichomes?
Two main factors impact the number of cannabis trichomes a plant will have: the genetics of the particular strain and environmental factors, which exposure to UV light being one of the most critical.
If you’re looking for specific strains with an exceptionally high concentration of cannabis trichomes, and therefore terpenes and flavonoids, there are a few to consider.
Among one of the most famous hybrid strains globally known for its intense euphoric effects and bursts of energy is White Widow.
This strain’s buds are blanketed with white crystal resin and trichomes that hint at just how potent it is. If you’re looking for a powerful high that makes you feel relaxed and uplifted while also stimulating creativity and conversation, we would highly recommend giving it a try.
Noted for its distinct, diesel-like aroma, another trichome-covered strain you can smell from a mile away is Chemdawg. Depending on the growing conditions, this strain can have anywhere between 15-20% THC concentrations, which is essential to note, particularly for first-time or relatively novice tokers.
This strain packs a punch, to say the least. Users can expect a very psychoactive high complemented by a strong heavy-bodied feeling. As such, you should probably save trying this strain out for a day where there isn’t much else on the agenda besides sparking up and vegging out.
Finally, with one of the highest THC concentrations on the market, Quantum Kush is another example of a cannabis strain coated with fine white crystal trichomes to produce a relaxing, albeit potent and robust effect. With THC levels reaching as high as 24%, users can expect a clear-headed yet relaxing high.
Cannabis Trichomes – A Crucial Component
The next time you partake in your favourite wacky tobacky, take a look at the delicate, sticky white coating that decorates the surface of your bud. Have a moment to appreciate all that these little glands contribute to the effects and benefits you love so much.
Cannabis trichomes are some of the most critical factors in determining your overall weed experience. Containing a majority of the terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids that we all know and love, trichomes are what make your bud smell so wonderfully strong and taste so ridiculously good.
Suppose you are debating starting to grow your own weed. In that case, trichomes are a significant indicator that you should pay close attention to a further understanding of your flower’s growing process and maturity.
If growing isn’t your thing, that’s cool too.
As always, ensure that the bud you are purchasing is from a reputable and trustworthy dispensary to ensure that you are receiving the best quality product.