For first-time cannabis growers, there is quite a lot to cope with. From cannabis culture to learning about cannabis trichomes, what are they, how they function, their purpose, and other concerns. Learning all of these at once can be too much to handle and confusing.
Simply put, take a closer look at a cannabis plant. You will notice strange-looking white tips that cover the plant. These are called trichomes which also serve as the plant’s defense mechanism.
As cannabis plants enter their flowering phase, these trichomes protect the plant by emitting a bitter taste and sticky smell to keep away insects and animals. Trichomes also protect the cannabis plant by shielding it from harmful UV rays.
For novice growers, trichomes are also helpful indicators to know when to harvest. Its color changes and those colors signal when cannabis plants are fully matured and ready to harvest.
Continue reading this article to get to know more about Cannabis trichomes, their types, their functions, and more.
What are Cannabis Trichomes?
Trichomes are resin glands of the cannabis plant that also serves as one of the many indications to physically determine whether a certain cannabis plant is highly potent or not. Those trichomes appear as tiny hair-like in gray or crystal clear appearance that makes the plant appear more stellar.
Those tiny hair-like glands are the basis of the breakthrough in the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. The well-known case study of Charlotte Figi who was cured of seizures with a tincture of trichomes from a CBD-rich cannabis strain which is now called Charlotte’s Web was named after the girl.
In cannabis plants, trichomes start to develop when the plant enters its flowering phase. When cannabis buds start to develop, trichomes begin to form in their flowers, leaves, and stalks. It helps cannabis growers timely determine the perfect time to harvest.
Aside from being an aesthetic addition to its overall appearance, trichomes also serve to the protection of the plant from many environmental risks. The more trichomes there are in a cannabis plant, the more resilient and adaptable that strain is.
Different Types of Cannabis Trichomes
Trichomes differ in type, structure, and size. In cannabis plants, there are three main types of trichomes that can be found. These categories can be divided into two parts.
- Non-glandular Trichomes
Non-glandular trichomes are a type of plant trichomes that does not have glandular heads. It can be unicellular or multi-cellular. It can be branched or unbranched. Most of the non-glandular trichomes are simple, branched essential, and star-shaped.
- Glandular Trichomes
The main thing that distinguishes between these two types of trichomes is their ability to produce cannabinoids and terpenes. Cannabis plants with glandular trichomes are often used as components in making essential oils, beauty cosmetics, and even in alternative health.
- Bulbous Trichomes
Bulbous trichomes are hard to spot using our eyes only. Despite them being located on almost the entire surface of your cannabis plant, it takes the help of an advanced tool like a microscope to fully appreciate their appearance.
- Capitate-Sessile Trichomes
Compared with the Bulbous trichomes, this type has a larger size, however, you will still be needing at least a magnifying glass to fully apprehend its appearance. Just like the Bulbous trichomes, capitate-sessile trichomes are abundant in the cannabis plant’s surface but the only difference is that it contains cannabinoids.
- Capitate-Stalked Trichomes
Just like the capitate-sessile trichomes, this type contains cannabinoids but more than what the first can offer. Furthermore, unlike the first two types which need tools to spot their appearance, capitate-stalked trichomes can be visibly seen without using any microscope or magnifying glass.
What is the purpose of Cannabis Trichomes?
Cannabis trichomes offer various functions. It protects the cannabis plant from harmful UV rays, strong weather conditions, and fungal spores.
The number of capitate-stalked trichomes on the surface of cannabis plants grows in number during its flowering stage. Before this, cannabis plants are mostly covered with bulbous trichomes and capitate-sessile trichomes.
As soon as your cannabis plant starts to mature, trichomes will start to be more visible on its surface. While other types of trichomes are more likely to develop earlier than capitate-stalked trichomes, they are not easy to spot without the use of tools like microscopes or magnifying glasses.
In other cases, trichomes can be removed if you prefer to get extracts such as essential oils, wax, hash, or shatter. Other than that, trichomes also serve as indicators for cannabis growers. It acts as a signpost that tells you when cannabis plants are ready to harvest.
Trichomes change in color. However, such changes may not be visible to your naked eye. A little help with tools like a magnifying glass will better help you determine the accurate signs.
When terpenes turned from clear to cloudy, this indicates that the cannabis plant is ready to harvest. If you wait a little longer, the THC level will convert into cannabinol which causes it to turn to amber.
Most cannabis growers tend to wait for it to turn to amber. This will transform the buds with a perfect mix of THC and cannabinol which provides more potent effects.
How do Cannabis Trichomes work?
The main role of trichomes in every cannabis plant is to produce cannabinoids and to do this, it first needs to generate the production of CBGA which is considered to be the mother of all other cannabinoids. When the CBGA is finally produced, it maximizes your cannabis plant’s energy to produce more cannabinoids like THCA, CBDA, and CBCA, which later transform into THC, CBD, and CBC.
Cannabis trichomes are volatile and can be easily affected by heat, light, oxygen levels, age, and physical contact. Thus keeping your buds under direct sunlight for long periods may affect their quality and density.
Top 5 Cannabis Strains with the Most Trichomes
Now, moving to the most awaited part. You must be so curious to know which cannabis strains contain the most trichomes. As we all know, cannabis strains are not created equally. Different strains constitute different levels of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
Some cannabis trains may possess a great number of trichomes while others have less. However, that is not a determining factor in indicating a better cannabis strain. There are cannabis strains with lesser amounts of trichomes that can still produce strong psychoactive effects.
Knowing which cannabis strains possess more trichomes will help you in identifying the right cannabis for you. Here are our top 5 cannabis strains with the most trichomes:
This hybrid cannabis strain contains 40% Sativa and 60% Indica. Its buds are soaked with resins making it appear frosty and crystal-like.
It smells beautiful with a scent of pepper and lemon that does not cause you to cough. It is widely used to treat nausea, pain, PTSD, and chronic stress. White Widow can be used either in the daytime or at nighttime.
The Afghan variety grows robust marijuana plants resistant to pests, illnesses, and molds. This strain, a pure Indica type, yields bountiful crops of large, resinous buds. Notably, this strain boasts an impressively high THC content, never falling below twenty percent.
It is commonly used to alleviate pain, reduce stress levels, and control inflammation. It also promotes sleep and causes arousal.
The Medijuana feminized variant is a product of meticulous effort and expert breeding by AMS's master cultivators. In about 2003, following years of careful selective hybridization, the Medijuana strain came into existence. Its refined ancestry is tightly linked to respected strains like the White Widow and Skunk. This impressive strain exhibits numerous unique characteristics akin to the White Widow, further enhancing its appeal among cannabis lovers.
NY Turbo Diesel is a Sativa-dominant cannabis strain. After its name, it produces a diesel-like smell with a blended mix of lemon and citrus flavors. It offers an immediate mind-boosting and calming effect.
Borderline XTRM Feminized has earned a massive following, becoming one of the most sought-after strains in the cannabis market. The popularity of this novel strain lies in its plant characteristics. It boasts a significant size, bearing exceptionally hefty buds and abundant harvest quotas. Furthermore, it has a unique, appealing aroma that sets it apart from other strains.
Overall, learning about cannabis trichomes and their purpose will significantly help you determine which cannabis strain you should pick. The number of trichomes in cannabis strains may vary depending on how it was cultivated and other environmental constraints.
As a cannabis grower, if aim to produce cannabis strains with highly potent trichomes, it is essential to find cannabis strains with most trichomes. However, your duty does not end there. You also need to make sure that the growing condition is well taken care of to ensure you achieve your goal.
Remember that it is not enough to rely on the characteristics of the cannabis strain alone. Effort and time are also needed in producing cannabis strains with most trichomes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cannabis trichomes are resin glands found on the surface of the cannabis plant. They appear as tiny hair-like structures and play a role in determining a plant's potency.
Cannabis trichomes serve as the plant's defense mechanism, protecting it from UV rays, weather conditions, and pests. They also produce cannabinoids and terpenes, which contribute to the plant's medicinal and psychoactive effects.
Trichomes change color over time, and this can be an indicator of a plant's readiness for harvest. Clear trichomes signify immaturity, while cloudy or amber trichomes indicate maturity and potency. Monitoring trichome color is crucial for determining the optimal time to harvest cannabis plants.