[Updated on: 16 February, 2022]
The Internet is flooded with discussions about cannabis trichomes. What are Trichomes? Why do they exist, and what makes them so important? If you have any such questions in mind, this article will allow you to understand the role of marijuana trichomes in cannabis production.
We will also discuss some rare facts about Trichomes. Generally, beginners and new weed farmers have doubts about these substances and whether they cause any harm to the weed plant.
They have essential functions in preserving the leaves that enhance their growth, producing better quality weed products like cannabis oil and wax.
Let’s get into the details to understand one of our most sought plants.
What are Trichomes?
Many plants have tiny hair-like growings on their leaf surface. These glandular hairs are present on the Cannabis leaves too. Such hair is referred to as Trichomes. Not only plants, but you can also find Trichomes on algae, lichens, and protists. So, there are more than just Cannabis Trichomes.
Because they are so tiny, you can’t tell their shape, but Cannabis Trichomes are much like mushrooms. They have a round head with a supporting stalk. They are too tiny to be observed by the naked eye you may need a trichome microscope. Typically, they range between 50 to 100 microns.
In most plants, trichomes serve as defense mechanisms. Some carnivorous plants use trichomes to catch prey. So, when it comes to functions, Trichomes can be quite versatile.
When you talk about Trichomes Weed, they serve numerous purposes. The most important of them is defending the leaf and flower.
Protection from Insects and Pests
As the cannabis flowers grow during the vegetative cycle, they become an easy target for pests and insects. Also, they can prevent any fungal growth over the leaves.
Natural Environment Protection
Cannabis leaves are also vulnerable to UV light. So, the cannabis trichomes protect them by forming a protective layer over the cannabis flowers. It also helps protect from strong winds during the early stages of growth.
Animals Stay Away
You must have seen Trichomes treats. They are yummy, aren’t they? But you better stay away from raw Trichomes because they are bitter and have a yucky taste. Also, you better stay away from raw Trichomes because it’s suitable for the plant.
Different Types of Trichomes
Trichomes vary in terms of size and shape. Because they are present in many plants, there are various types based on the chemical balance and maturity of marijuana.
Generally speaking, you can find two categories of trichomes – glandular and non-glandular. For example, the non-glandular trichomes offer a defense layer all over the plants against the insects. On the other hand, glandular trichomes are responsible for producing the plant’s cannabinoids.
When we talk about glandular trichomes, there are three common types:
Bulbous Trichomes are the smallest types of Trichomes. They range from 10 to 15 microns, less than half the width of human hair. So, they are practically invisible to the naked eye.
However, they cover the entire surface of the plant. So, if you get a soft and sticky feel off the leaves’ surface, it’s probably because of these Trichomes.
One of the most significant advantages of Bulbous trichomes is to send a warning to the cannabis plant of the intruders or insects. Not only that, but these trichomes protect the cannabis plants from sunburn, which is great.
Lastly, different growers consider bulbous trichomes as an initial sign to harvest the crop.
Capitate Sessile Trichomes
As compared to the Bulbous trichomes, the Capitate Sessile Trichomes are bigger. Moreover, they are found more in numbers than Bulbous trichomes.
They have a typical head that resembles a mushroom. Furthermore, they don’t have a stalk and are attached directly to the plant, spanning roughly around 25 to 100 microns. You can easily find the Capitate Sessile trichomes under the fan leaves or sugar leaves.
The good news is that the Capitate Sessile Trichomes produce cannabinoids during the entire development stage of the cannabis plant. Hence, it makes them suitable for cannabis-infused drinks and other weed edibles.
Capitate Stalked Trichomes
These are the biggest of Cannabis Trichomes found abundantly compared to the already discussed trichomes.
The Capitate Stalked Trichomes measure around 50 to 100 microns, so they are big enough for your eyes to see them. You can find them more on the female cannabis plants compared to the male plants. These trichomes have special glands that synthesize terpenoids and cannabinoids, valuable products of the Weed plant.
Are Trichomes Useful
In addition to protecting the plant, Trichomes also perform the synthesis of multiple weed products. All types of trichomes have this capability.
When the cannabis plant enters the blooming phase, the Cannabinoid synthesis starts in the Trichomes. The Trichomes start transporting plastids and vacuoles from the newly grown cannabis flowers to their heads. The cells inside the gland head metabolize, forming the core for Cannabinoids.
The synthesis of Cannabinoids is primarily affected by two factors. Firstly, it depends on cannabis plant genetics. Secondly, it directly depends on the environmental conditions. For example, if there is an abundance of UV light and harsh winds, Trichomes’ growth directly relates to the synthesis.
Trichome Life Cycle
The proper trichome development is essential to produce premium-quality cannabis and ultimately maximize the overall yield. Not only that, but the lifecycle of the trichomes modifies the final potency of the CBD or THC balance of the cannabis plants.
For example, the growers can monitor and observe the opacity and changing color of trichomes to determine the flowering cycle and final harvest time.
As mentioned earlier, the size of the trichomes varies from 10 micrometers to 500 micrometers. That’s why you need to invest in buying a microscope to magnify the size from 30 to 120 times.
Furthermore, trichomes similar to the mushroom shape contain medicinal and psychoactive compounds. Hence, these trichomes make the cannabis plant special allowing it to outshine the rest.
The clear trichomes appear when the cannabis plant transitions from the vegetative phase to the beginning of the flowering stage. You can use a magnifying glass to see the appearance of the trichomes as clear or opaque.
The formation of the clear trichomes indicates the healthy growth of the plants. As the cannabis plant keeps on producing more trichomes, it also forms more chemical compounds, which is excellent news for the cannabis community.
At this stage, the cannabis plant forms THC; hence, you don’t need to harvest the crops. However, if you harvest the buds during this stage, the cannabis can create an uncomfortable and mild effect, degrading the user experience.
Once you observe the trichomes changing their color from clear to milky, the THC levels of the cannabis plant are about to achieve the desired flavor and, most importantly, potency.
However, the plant isn’t completely matured as the cannabis buds are still smaller in size and don’t have the required intense aroma that users demand.
Once you see the milky trichomes uniformly covering the plants, it’s a visible indication that the THC levels are more significant compared to the CBD levels. Hence, it means the psychoactive effect of the cannabis plant is undoubtedly dominant at this stage.
If growers harvest the cannabis crops at this stage with milky trichomes, the users can enjoy an uplifting weed smoking experience. Furthermore, cannabis growers can combine or pair the harvested cannabis strains with CBD oil.
Lastly, you should know that the trichomes remain milky for two weeks during the entire development stage of the cannabis plants.
Amber Trichomes are a sign for farmers that they are ready for harvesting. So, if you’re growing weed in your backyard, you can use this as a milestone. A trichomes color chart becomes a handful to predict the amount of growth.
Generally, when the trichomes turn purple, it’s a sign of their peak growth with enhanced levels of CBD compared to THC. It’s because the THC present in the cannabis plant has transformed naturally into cannabinol (CBN).
Hence, the psychoactive effect naturally decreases once the trichomes appear brown or dark orange colored. That’s why if you want to grow marijuana for medical use, you should harvest the crops at this stage.
However, if you let them grow beyond that point, the Trichomes will start degrading. Therefore, they require careful monitoring to make the most of their products.
You can also look for a combination of cloudy and amber trichomes. Most cannabis growers think that the perfect time to harvest cannabis plants is when the cloud trichomes are 70 percent while the amber ones are 30 percent. These harvested cannabis buds are ideal for recreational use.
To summarize, keep the following rules in check to determine the right harvesting time of your Trichomes:
- Fully developed bulbous and translucent heads will have high stimulating but fewer sedative effects.
- Milky bulbous trichomes head produce most hybrids available.
- A 70-30 ratio of milky-amber heads indicate the time to harvest Sativa.
Color Trichomes Chart
Improving Trichome Production on Cannabis Plants
Since Trichomes are vital for Cannabinoids, you can enhance their growth by carefully choosing the right Cannabis seeds. So, here are some suggestions:
- Choose auto-flowering seeds
- Use feminized seeds of Cannabis
- You can use regular sources too, but they aren’t the most preferred
Apart from the seeds, you can use some additional tools for better growth, such as:
- Use artificial ways to grow high-grade Cannabis, such as LED grow lights
- Use UVB lights during the cannabis cultivation cycle
- Trichomes color charts are helpful in knowing your plants’ right age, so make their best use.
Do Trichomes Always Grow in Abundance?
Although trichomes grow naturally on Cannabis, certain factors can diminish their growth altogether. Some of the main factors are:
Poor Genetics and Low-Quality Breeding
If your Cannabis seeds have low-quality genetics, you can’t expect the Trichomes to turn out fine. So, proper seed selection is essential.
Too much humidity and waterlogging can reduce the growth rate for Trichomes. Extreme temperatures also affect the growth rate.
Extracting Trichomes From Cannabis Plant
As a growth, you can opt for the physical or mechanical separation to remove or break the trichomes for the plants. As a result, you end up using the different fine screens to extract the trichome glands as the final product.
On the other hand, you can use the solvent-based extraction technique to dissolve the trichomes in a solvent to remove them from the cannabis plants.
How to Make Profit from Trichomes?
Using improper light, heat, air, and solvents produce damaging effects on the cannabis trichomes. Therefore, you should opt for a solventless extraction machine or keif makers regardless of the final product. This way, you can keep the maximum trichomes during harvesting.
Furthermore, the dry sift tumblers made of stainless steel minimize the chances of microbial growth in the final harvest. Not only that, but it also reduces the processing time and allows the buds to dry out on the processing floor before final distribution or shipment.
Wrapping Up with the Cannabis Trichomes
In addition to different synthesized products, cannabis trichomes are also used for preparing delicious treats. So. If you are a bit of a sweet tooth with a love for edible weed, you can enjoy different trichome gummies too.
Trichomes hold a precious reputation because they bring several Cannabis byproducts to the table. These products have a remarkable market value, so if you’re growing weed at home, you can make a fortune if you do things in the right way.
With simple do’s and don’ts, you can make the best trichomes for commercial and health purposes. Now that you know the answers to the commonly asked questions about cannabis trichomes, you can confidently experiment with these tiny creatures on a larger scale.