As one stoner put it, “cannabis trichomes are the best thing to ever happen to humanity.”
There are many things to know and love about these little crystal friends. This article describes ten facts about trichomes and its functions that marijuana enthusiasts will appreciate.
What Are Trichomes?
The blanket of tiny crystals covering your bud and leaves? Those are trichomes.
- Etymology: The word trichome comes from the Greek word Tríchōma which means “growth of hair”. Though trichomes look like tiny crystals to the naked eye through a microscope they look like long-stemmed mushrooms protruding from an alien landscape.
- Trichomes make resin: The blanket of crystals covering the buds and leaves are resin producing factories. Trichomes are cannabis resin glands. Resin glands produce resin which contains large amounts of cannabinoids. THC and CBD are two of the many cannabinoids produced in the tricome and found in the resin. For more on resin click here to see the article “What’s Up With Hash.”
- Trichomes on weed are defenders. Cannabis trichomes defend the plant against destruction by:
- UV rays
- Deterrent for animals due to bitter taste and strong aroma
- Fungus and plant disease
- Trichomes are not unique to cannabis. They develop on other plant species including mint, roses, rosemary, lavender, tomato, and pineapple.
- Three Main Marijuana Trichomes. The cannabis plant has several different trichome shapes, but there are three common shapes.
- Bulbous. This shape is the smallest of the three main trichomes, 10-15 micrometers, and small enough to only have a few cells. Bulbous trichomes cover the surface of the entire plant
- Capitate sessile trichomes. These trichomes are a little larger than blubous trichomes and have a head and stalk. Capitate sessile are more abundant than bulbous trichomes but less nmumerous than Capitate stalked trichomes.
- Capitate stalked. The most abundant of all three common trichomes. With a size of 50-100 micrometers, capitate stalked trichomes are large enough to see with the naked eye. Their structure is like a mushroom, a stalk and a large gland head. It is here, in the gland head, where the cannabinoid and terpene synthesis takes place.
- Trichomes change color during the plant’s life cycle. When the plant’s life cycle begins, trichomes are translucent. They change from translucent to milky white to solid white then take on an amber hue in a few weeks of the plant’s life cycle.
- Colour of trichomes tells farmers when to harvest weed. Looking at trichome colour as an indicator is a standard practice used by farmers. The transition of colour represents peak ripeness.
- Different hue different potency. Experts have reason to think “Cloudy white trichomes give off the most potent cannabinoids and terpenes, while amber-colored trichomes will provide the most abundant yield (with just a small decline in potency).”
- It’s easy to damage trichomes. Any one of the following can cause damage.
- Contact or agitation
- Sifting trichomes produces kief.
And so you see what a wonderful little thing these trichomes are.