Author: Atalie Hamilton

You may not have known what they were, those tiny hairs that cover your cannabis, giving it a frost-like sheen and sticky feel. Those are the all-important trichomes.

Cannabis trichomes are the small, hairlike crystals that form on the surface of cannabis buds, causing the bud to be “frosty”. These trichomes are responsible for the flavor and effects of the plant and are an essential part of the cultivation process. Trichomes help reduce water loss from the plant by creating a barrier against the elements. The trichomes on the leaves and buds of the plant act as a shield, protecting the plant from wind and sun damage. This helps the plant retain moisture and stay hydrated.

Trichomes are made of a resin that contains the plant’s main cannabinoids and terpenes, meaning that the more trichomes that are present on the plant, the more powerful its effects can be. The size of the trichomes can vary from plant to plant and from strain to strain.

There are three types of cannabis trichomes. First, we have the Capitate-Stalked trichomes. They are recognizable as what causes that “frosted” looked. They are the iconic oil-rich cannabis or hemp trichome. Some of these trichomes travel onto the leaves and are called
“sugar leaves”

Then we have the Bulbous trichomes and Capitate-Sessile trichomes are both invisible to the naked eye but both also produce cannabinoids. These trichomes are frequently found on the leaves and stalks. These are great for seeping into tea and/or cooking.

Handle your bud with care to help reduce trichomes being damaged and broken off. Whether alive on a vine or harvested, trichomes are at risk of destruction and/or degradation. This includes physical contact or agitation, heat, light, oxygen, and time. Not only do the trichomes
themselves risk damage when exposed to these elements, but the essential oils within them risk degradation. There are ways to dramatically slow the degradation of trichomes by carefully handling cannabis flowers during every stage of their life cycle.

 

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