Most people with some measure of familiarity with cannabis plants know what trichomes are. However, several do not know the importance of trichomes to the production of cannabis or that there are different kinds of trichomes. For those who do not know what trichomes are, they are the tiny, hair-like growths found on various plants, from algae and lichens to cannabis plants.
Trichomes on cannabis plants influence the flavor and the concentration of cannabis concentrates produced by the plant. Yes, they are that important.
Read on for a deep dive into the different types of cannabis trichomes, how to recognize them, and how they affect cannabis plants.
What are cannabis trichomes?
As highlighted above, cannabis trichomes are tiny, hair-like growths found on cannabis plants. Trichomes grow on the surface of cannabis plants during their flowering phase, giving the plants a frosty, sparkling appearance. Cannabis trichomes have a mushroom-like structure with thing stalks and bulbous heads. They are, however, much smaller than mushrooms, with the largest trichomes having stalks that measure only a tenth of a millimeter in diameter.
What do cannabis trichomes do?
Trichomes on cannabis plants perform more than a single function. They store cannabinoids and terpenes, help the cannabis plant defend itself against predators and also help to protect it from adverse conditions.
In their flowering stage, trichomes form on cannabis plants, growing like hairs on the surface. Once they are formed, they begin producing terpenes and cannabinoids. They do this by moving vacuoles and plastids through their stems to their bulbous heads, where they are converted into a resin containing cannabis compounds, including CBD and THC.
While these compounds can be found in other parts of the cannabis plant, they are most concentrated in trichomes. Since most people grow cannabis for either CBD or THC, the importance of trichomes cannot be overemphasized as they both produce and store the compounds.
Trichomes possess a very bitter taste and a potent smell. These serve as a natural repellant against most predators, helping the cannabis plant stay safe during its flowering phase.
Trichomes serve to protect cannabis plants from more than just physical attacks. Trichomes are perfect for protection against UV radiation as they grow faster in the presence of increased radiation. The growth of trichomes on cannabis plants forms a kind of protective barrier for the plants. This barrier can help protect the fragile plant tissues from excess exposure to UV radiation. Trichomes can also serve as protection for cannabis plants against the wind.
Trichomes also help cannabis growers to track the growth of their plants. Although trichomes are present on cannabis plants as early as the seedling stage, they do not become visible until early in the flowering stage. The appearance of a trichome on a cannabis plant is an indication that the plant has entered its flowering stage.
After the appearance of the trichomes, they continue to change as the plant matures. When a cannabis plant nears maturity, the trichomes take on a faint orange tint, allowing the grower to begin making preparations for harvest.
The different types of trichomes found in cannabis
There are different types of cannabis trichomes, from tiny, barely visible ones to those visible to the human eye. There are three major types of trichomes found in cannabis.
• Bulbous Trichomes
These are the smallest trichomes and can measure as little as a hundredth of a millimeter across, ten times smaller than other trichomes. These trichomes cover the entirety of the cannabis plant. However, they cannot be seen by the naked eye and must be viewed under a magnifying glass because they are so tiny.
• Capitate Sessile Trichomes
These trichomes are often found on the leaves and stems of cannabis plants. These medium-sized trichomes can measure up to a tenth of a millimeter.
At this size, they are visible to the naked eye. As they are relatively sizeable, it is possible to see these trichomes’ stalk and bulb structure when observed closely. They contain cannabis concentrates in greater quantities than bulbous trichomes but they have way less than capitate-stalked trichomes, the biggest type of trichomes.
• Capitate-Stalked Trichomes
Capitate-stalked trichomes are so named due to their construction. They are made up of bulbs called capitates on top of stalks made from epidermal and hypodermic cells. The capitates contain most of the cannabinoids and terpenes derived from cannabis plants.
These trichomes are found in the greatest quantity on female cannabis plants. These trichomes can measure up to half a millimeter in length. They are also responsible for the color change that indicates that the plants are approaching maturity.
Do more trichomes mean more cannabis concentrates?
As trichomes are directly related to the concentration of cannabis concentrates harvested from cannabis plants, growers have researched methods to ensure adequate production of trichomes on their plants.
Growers should note, however, that genetics and the environment play an even bigger role in the quantity of concentrates you derive from your cannabis plant. Cannabis plants grown from low-THC cannabis seeds will not produce sufficient quantities of THC regardless of how many trichomes are present on the cannabis plants.
Therefore, one of the first things that marijuana growers should do to ensure a good harvest of cannabis concentrates is to buy marijuana seeds rich in whatever concentration they are interested in. Also, make sure to buy your seeds from a reputable seed bank.
Another way to boost trichome production is to use UVB lights in the growth process. Growers have also discovered that using LED lights in their weed gardens results in plants with up to 30% more cannabis concentrates than those grown under HPS lamps. However, these lights can be harmful to the eyes and skin and should be used with utmost caution.
Trichomes are of utmost importance to cannabis growers. While this is indeed true, you have to ensure that you buy marijuana seeds from the right source to ensure your plants have sufficient concentrations of the cannabis concentrates you want. Reach out to Highway420 today to buy marijuana seeds of the highest quality.