Although trichomes are a completely natural part of a cannabis plant, many people do not know about them. Trichomes are essential to using marijuana for its beneficial effects and its highs.
In this article, Cannabis and Glass will answer “What are trichomes?”, as well as explain the types of trichomes, and discuss how they may interact with your body.
If you are searching for some of the best cannabis in Oregon, view our Ontario menu online or give us a call at (541) 907-1234!
What Are Trichomes?
Trichomes are the little white hair-like crystals growing from a cannabis plant’s leaves and stems. Their name comes from the Greek word trikhoma, meaning “growth of hair.” They often feel sticky to the touch and cover most of the plant.
They contain the terpenes and cannabinoids that cause the different flavors and highs we associate with cannabis. There are three types of trichomes observed on cannabis plants.
These trichomes are smaller than the other two and do not contain cannabinoids, so they do not cause a high. They are incredibly small, only 15 to 30 micrometers long, and people can only see them through a microscope. While humans have no use for them, the plant uses them for its own needs.
These are medium-sized, between 25 to 100 micrometers long. They produce fewer amounts of cannabinoids than the capitate-stalked kind, but they cover more of the plant. Most of the trichomes you see on a cannabis plant are capitate-sessile with their almost mushroom-like appearance.
These are the longest trichomes on a cannabis plant, growing as long as 500 micrometers. We see these easiest, though they do not cover as much of the plant as capitate-sessile trichomes. They produce the most cannabinoids and terpenes of all three trichomes and cause the sticky sensation we feel when touching cannabis plants.
Why Do Cannabis Plants Make Trichomes?
Many plants have trichomes, so answering the question “What are trichomes?” may differ per plant. Cannabis trichomes, like other kinds of trichomes, have specific uses.
For example, female cannabis plants produce trichomes during their flowering stage, when they would be the most delicious and vulnerable to outside stimuli. These ‘hairs’ are instrumental to a growing cannabis plant’s survival. Some plants make them to attract prey, such as fly traps and other carnivorous plants, while others produce them for defense, like peppers and the terpenes they produce.
Cannabis plants create their trichomes for the latter, using the smell and texture to disorientate and deter their attackers. Of course, as plants, they consider being eaten as an attack. The trichomes also protect them from fungal infections, wind damage, and too much UV exposure.
As the plant matures, the trichomes do as well. They increase in size and produce more cannabinoids and terpenes, increasing the flavor, smell, and the high that comes from consuming them. The hair trichomes turn from a pale, clear color to a more opaque yellow the more they fill them.
While other animals and insects cannot tolerate the effects of these chemicals, many humans can. Just like with spicy peppers, we use a plant’s defense mechanism for our food flavoring and entertainment.
Budtenders use the length and condition of the trichomes to indicate whether the plant is mature enough to harvest. Once harvested, we use different methods to create various products, from kief to resins to waxes and oils.
Last Fun Fact About Cannabis Trichomes
Even if a cannabis plant has large amounts of trichomes, that does not determine the potency or amount of cannabinoids it produces. Each plant’s potency changes by genetic and environmental factors regardless of trichome production. A good budtender will have plants that perhaps do not make a lot of trichomes but have more than enough flavor and potency.
Where to Learn More
Cannabis & Glass is Ontario, Oregon’s top rated dispensary, with hundreds of available products. Call our Oregon location at (541) 907-1234 or view our menu online! Feel free to ask us any questions you have. We would love to hear from you!