What Are Cannabis Trichomes?

Trichomes - you’ve probably seen this word a few times and wondered why everyone keeps mentioning them. Well, trichomes are found on the cannabis plant and contain the cannabis plant’s most essential active ingredients. Understanding them can help you use cannabis better!  

What Are Trichomes?

If you’ve ever prepped your own buds, you will have come across trichomes. Trichomes are the hair-like follicles that you will find on your cannabis flowers, stems, and sugar leaves. They tend to have a mushroom-like shape and can range in colour from clear to amber hue. Trichomes develop when the cannabis plant enters the flowering stage.  

Why Do Cannabis Plants Have Trichomes?

Trichomes are not unique to cannabis plants and can be found on many plants and range in appearance and purpose. For cannabis plants in the wild, trichomes are a layer of protection. They act as a shield from environmental factors such as harsh wind, UV rays, frost, and even fungal growth. Trichomes also protect against insects and animals due to their strong aroma and bitter taste.  

What Are the Different Types of Cannabis Trichomes?

There are three main trichomes found on cannabis plants. Bulbous trichomes are microscopic and only visible with a high-powered microscope. Capitate-Sessile trichomes are slightly larger and have a head and single-cell stalk. These trichomes are mainly found on the underside of sugar and fan leaves. Capitate-Stalked Trichomes are visible with the naked eye. They have a long stalk and a big gland head, which is also known as the capitate. All three of these cannabis trichomes produce cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.  

What Affects Cannabis Trichome Quality and Density?

Trichomes are easily affected by factors such as heat, light, oxygen, age, and physical contact. For example, leaving your buds in direct sunlight for long periods of time will cause them to degrade quickly. This is why cannabis dispensaries usually provide their products in opaque packaging, or in resealable cans. In some cases, growers freeze their buds after harvest to preserve their freshness. This can be used to make terpene-rich products such as cannabis concentrates.  

For consumers, trichomes are the most important part of the cannabis plant. Simply put, trichomes are responsible for the whole cannabis experience!