Most cannabis smokers will agree that a nice coat of trichomes is a good sign of the quality of the weed they smoke. But why? What makes these little frosted particles on your grass so special?
Trichomes are small microscopic crystals similar to particles that grow on cannabis. They are the ones who give this frosty look to heads and are highly prized by therapeutic and recreational users as they are the ones who harness the full power of cannabis.
The word trichome derives from the Greek word “Tríchōma” which means “hair growth”. When observed under a microscope, trichomes look somewhat like hair or fungi. To the naked eye, they look more like tiny crystals.
Trichomes are known to make ganja already powerful, even more, sticky and they give a more significant aroma on the way. This is mainly because trichomes are actually responsible for storing the highest concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes that give cannabis its unique aromas, flavors, and effects.
Types of Trichomes
Trichomes may look similar from a distance, but they actually exist in many different shapes and sizes. There are generally 3 main types of trichomes found on cannabis plants:
- Bulbous trichomes
These are the smallest trichomes found on cannabis, ranging from 15 to 15 micrometers. They tend to appear on the surface of the entire plant, but cannot be seen with the naked eye.
- The sessile trichomes capitulated
These trichomes are slightly thicker and have a more similar appearance to mushrooms with a head and stem. Trichomes capitulate sessile much more abundantly than bulbous trichomes.
- Capitulated glandular trichomes
These are the largest and most common trichomes found on cannabis. They generally vary between 50 and 100mm in width, making them visible to the naked eye (unlike bulbous trichomes). These trichomes also include a stem and ahead, the latter serving as a production center for terpenes and cannabinoids.
What is the purpose of Trichomes?
Trichomes are the headquarters of the production of the cannabinoids that we love and cherish so much. These compounds are produced as the plant matures and reaches the flowering cycle.
Movement occurs in trichomes as plants mature and begin to develop flowers. Vacuoles and plastids are transported from the stems of trichomes to the heads where they are used to metabolize cells and eventually to form molecules that will serve as precursors to cannabinoids.
Scientists and researchers have not yet fully understood why cannabinoids and terpenes are produced and stored in trichomes. Some suggest that this helps the plant to protect itself from herbivorous predators by developing a very strong aroma and intoxicating effects so that any fine gourmet wishing to enjoy it can be kept away.
As trichomes mature, they tend to change color. Most growers use this change to measure the maturity of their plants and plan the harvest. Trichomes are extremely volatile and can be easily damaged by light, heat, physical contact and agitation, or by oxygen. They may also disappear after a while.