Trichomes are tiny, hair-like outgrowths found on the surface of various plants, including cannabis. On cannabis plants, trichomes are especially concentrated on the flowers (buds) and are responsible for producing the plant’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. These compounds are responsible for the cannabis plant’s potency, aroma, flavor, and overall therapeutic effects.
There are three main types of trichomes on cannabis plants:
Bulbous trichomes: These are the smallest and most abundant trichomes, measuring around 10-15 micrometers. They are found throughout the plant and contain a small amount of cannabinoids.
Capitate-sessile trichomes: These trichomes are larger than bulbous trichomes, measuring around 25-100 micrometers. They are more abundant on the buds and leaves and have a higher concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes.
Capitate-stalked trichomes: These are the largest and most important trichomes for cannabis potency, measuring around 50-500 micrometers. They have a distinct stalk and head structure and are densely concentrated on the buds. Capitate-stalked trichomes contain the highest concentrations of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
Trichomes serve various functions for the cannabis plant, including:
Protection: Trichomes create a physical barrier that helps protect the plant from pests, UV radiation, and other environmental stressors.
Reproduction: The sticky resin produced by trichomes helps to trap pollen from male plants, facilitating pollination and reproduction.
Therapeutic compounds: As mentioned earlier, trichomes are the primary source of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, which are responsible for the plant’s therapeutic effects.
In cannabis cultivation, trichomes are an essential factor in determining the optimal harvest time. When most of the trichomes have turned from clear to milky-white or amber, it typically indicates peak potency and the best time to harvest the plant.
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