When looking at the anatomy of a cannabis plant, the cannabis flower is the most recognizable. It’s the “bud” of the plant, the part that is portrayed in movies and the media, and it’s where the cannabis industry spends and makes the bulk of its money.
Taking a deeper dive into cannabis components, it’s not the flower that’s the important part of the plant...it’s what’s on the flower that matters. Trichomes are the small, crystalized “hairs” that grow from the cannabis plant, and they play a very important role.
What Are Trichomes?
Trichomes are technically the “resin glands” or small growths on the sides of cannabis (and many other) plants. When viewed under a microscope, they show up as thin, hair-like structures with a bulbous or rounded tip. They don’t look like much. But they are crucial to the plant’s survival and the success of the cannabis industry.
Biological Purpose Of Trichomes
Similar to the hair on humans, trichomes act as a layer of protection for the cannabis plant. The strong scents released by terpenes within them deter predators while the trichomes themselves can block the plant from excess sun and heat.
Why Are Trichomes Important?
Trichomes act as “homes” for the most powerful parts of the cannabis flower. These glands produce and house cannabinoids and terpenes, defining the unique scents and potency of each cannabis plant. These identifying factors are tested in cannabis labs to determine the cannabis strain and strength of cannabis flowers before they are sold to the public or used to make cannabis products.
Trichomes & Cannabinoids
For many in the cannabis industry, the most important part of the plant are the cannabinoids. Specifically: THC & CBD. A study found that the size of the trichome “head” (the round part) has been associated with the amount of THC. Larger diameters resulted in larger quantities of THC, which also explains why the largest type of trichome found on the cannabis plant also produces the highest levels of cannabinoids. Research will likely continue to unveil the importance of trichomes, and how businesses can use that to produce higher yields of THC & CBD oils.
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