Trichomes: The Complete Guide
Trichomes are often considered the most important part of cannabis buds. Whether you’re a marijuana grower or simply buy a stash of weed, you’ll often notice crystal-like bulbs growing on the hairs of your weed. These are trichomes and they serve all kinds of purposes- including producing the majority of the cannabinoids and terpenes that give you the effects you expect from weed.
Growers often find trichomes helpful as they can tell you when a marijuana plant is ready to harvest. They change colors throughout the growing process and their color can tell you a lot about the current cannabinoid content of your cannabis flowers. What’s more, after your plants have been harvested, you can extract the dried trichomes and use them in all kinds of ways.
Dried trichomes from marijuana buds are known as kief, and this is the substance that’s used to make various kinds of cannabis concentrates. Trichomes can also be extracted in other ways to create some of the purest and most potent cannabis products. But while every marijuana use has probably seen trichomes in some form, it helps to know exactly what they are, what they contain, and what you can do with them. Here’s a complete guide to trichomes.
What Are Trichomes?
Cannabis, marijuana, or weed is made up of many parts. However, when it comes to the effects and benefits of weed, the trichomes are the most important part. Trichomes are the outgrowths on weed that usually look like bulbs or crystals. They grow at the end of the pistils (hairs) of your marijuana buds and weed that’s high in trichomes is usually more potent.
Trichomes serve as the epicenter of marijuana buds. They’re where the cannabinoid and terpenoid content of weed is produced. In other words, the trichomes are where you’ll get the vast majority of compounds such as THC, CBD, CBN, as well as terpenes such as Myrcene, Humulene, Limonene, and more.
Since trichomes are where you find the cannabinoids and terpenes in weed, they’re also extracted to create cannabis concentrates. Trichomes can be compressed to create Hash or extracted in other ways to create concentrates such as Live Resin, Rosin, Shatter, and various other types of cannabis extracts.
Since trichomes are where the cannabinoids in weed are formed, they can also tell you when weed is ready to harvest. Growers often examine trichomes carefully to know when their cannabis buds are ready for drying and curing. You can even wait until trichomes become cloudier or darker depending on what kind of effects you want from your weed.
Types Of Trichomes
Trichomes can be found all over cannabis buds and they come in various shapes and sizes. However, while they can vary significantly, three main types of trichomes are particularly common. These types of trichomes are responsible for most of the cannabinoid and terpenoid production of marijuana plants.
Bulbous Trichomes appear across cannabis buds, although they’re usually too small to see. These trichomes are usually only around 10-15 micrometers and you’ll need a microscope if you want a close look at them. Since they’re so small, they generally don’t produce many cannabinoids and terpenes.
Capitate Sessile Trichomes are another one of the most common and important types of trichomes you’ll find on weed. They’re a bit bigger than Bulbous Trichomes and they’re made up of a stalk and head. You’ll see more of these trichomes than Bulbous Trichomes and they also produce more compounds, although the third type is much more abundant.
Capitate-stalked Trichomes are responsible for the majority of the cannabinoid and terpenoid production of cannabis buds. They’re built up of a stalk and a large head and they’re easily visible. These are the trichomes you’ll see growing on the hairs of plants and also the trichomes you can assess to see whether cannabis plants are ready to harvest.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds that naturally occur in cannabis. These are produced by the trichomes in cannabis buds. When you smoke weed or consume other cannabis-infused products, it’s the cannabinoids that give you the psychoactive effects and therapeutic effects that cannabis is known for.
Many cannabinoids are produced in the trichomes of weed and each is said to have different effects on the body. Along with terpenes, these compounds work in synergy to produce what’s known as an entourage effect when you use weed. While there are over a hundred cannabinoids in cannabis, there are few that are particularly prominent.
THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the sole psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis. This is the cannabinoid most commonly associated with weed as it’s the one that gives you the intense euphoric and relaxing effects. THC regulates brain reward circuits to boost your mood and your senses. Most users report feeling incredibly mentally uplifted and physically soothed under the influence of THC.
As well as making you high, THC is also said to have many therapeutic benefits. Many people now use weed or THC-infused products for all kinds of physical and mental issues, including chronic pain, inflammation, headaches, migraines, stress, anxiety, depression, and a lot more. However, other cannabinoids also contribute to these effects.
CBD (cannabidiol) is another cannabinoid known for contributing to the therapeutic effects of cannabis. Research suggests that CBD has a range of positive properties for your body, especially when it comes to things like managing pain, reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and more. Many people use high-CBD strains of cannabis to counteract the intense psychoactive effects of THC. Others use pure CBD products to get the benefits of cannabidiol without getting high.
Various other cannabinoids also contribute to the effects of cannabis. For instance, CBN is known to help with sleep, CBG has antibacterial properties, and CBC helps counter inflammation just to name a few. All of these compounds work together when you consume cannabis. However, these aren’t the only helpful components produced in the trichomes of weed- they also work in conjunction with terpenes.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are essential oils that are naturally produced by various plants, including the flowers of cannabis. Terpenes are essential oils that are responsible for the natural scents and aromas of different cannabis strains. For instance, some strains are high in citrus-scented terpenes whereas others smell more earthy or pine-like.
Along with contributing to the unique flavors of cannabis strains, terpenes also contribute to the effects they give you when consumed. For example, some terpenes have anti-inflammatory effects whereas some are mentally stimulating. Much like cannabinoids, many terpenes can be found in cannabis and they all work together in conjunction with cannabinoids to affect your body and mind in various ways.
A few examples of the most common terpenes found in cannabis include Limonene, Pinene, and Humulene. Limonene is a terpene also found in lemons that exudes a zesty citrus scent. It can also enhance your mood and help with nausea. Pinene is a terpene found in pine that gives strains a more earthy taste as well as increasing your energy and focus.
Terpenes can be extracted from cannabis and used by themselves. They’re also sometimes extracted and reinfused into high terpene full spectrum extracts such as Live Resin. However, for the most part, terpenes are best consumed along with the other cannabinoids and terpenes in weed.
How Trichomes Are Extracted
Although trichomes can be consumed simply by smoking or vaping weed, they can also be extracted for use in stronger products. These are known as Cannabis Concentrates or Cannabis Extracts and they can be found in various forms.
The THC, CBD, terpenes, and other contents of trichomes can be extracted in various ways and there are different extraction processes for different products. For example, many concentrates are made by drenching cannabis buds in a solvent such as butane to separate the trichomes from the rest of the plant matter. The extracted product can then be purged to remove the solvents and contaminants.
Some popular examples of solvent-based cannabis extracts include Shatter, Wax, and Live Resin. While weed usually contains around 15-25% THC, cannabis concentrates can be as high as 60-90% THC and some are even higher. These products are usually preferred by users who want something more powerful than weed to vape or dab.
It’s also very easy to extract dried trichomes, otherwise known as kief. Kief looks like a dried weed powder that forms on cannabis buds when they’ve been cured and dried. Kief accumulates at the bottom of your grinder and can be added to a joint or bowl for extra potency. It can also be extracted by using a silkscreen or Pollen Box. One of the best ways to extract kief is by adding dry ice and weed to a Dry Ice Extraction Bag to get high-quality dried trichomes.
How Trichomes Are Used
Trichomes are often used to create potent cannabis concentrates, including products such as Shatter, Wax, Live Resin, and many more. While some of these products require specialist equipment to extract and produce, others are easy enough for anyone to make right at home. This is usually done by using kief.
Kief can be collected in a grinder over time or extracted using a Pollen Box or Dry Ice Bag. You can also simply buy Kief online. While you can simply sprinkle some Kief on top of your weed to enhance the effects, it can also be used for homemade cannabis concentrates. Hash is particularly easy to make.
One of the easiest ways to make Hash involves simply rubbing weed between your hands until the resinous trichomes break off and stick to your hands. You can then simply scrape them off and press them together to create a small block of finger Hash. However, the best Hash is made by compressing Kief.
You can compress Kief in a Pollen Press pretty quickly and easily. This will give you some satisfying Hash coins to smoke or vape. You can also create Hash by packaging a stash of Kief in some parchment paper and repeatedly ironing it using a sealed Glass Jar filled with hot water. This will give you a nice block of Hash.
Alternatively, you might want to try making Rosin at home. Rosin can be made out of weed, Kief, or even Hash, and the process is fairly straightforward. You start by wrapping your weed between two pieces of parchment paper (you should use a mesh bag if you’re extracting Rosin from Kief or Hash).
Once you’ve wrapped your weed, Kief, or Hash, the next step is to press it firmly between the irons of a hair straightener until an amber, wax-like substance emerges. For more details on how to make and use it, check out our guide on how to make Rosin at home. However, while you can extract trichomes at home, you might want to simply buy cannabis concentrates.
Where To Buy Cannabis Concentrate
If you want to feel the power of cannabis trichomes, then you’ll want to try cannabis concentrates. These are extracted products that contain extra high THC levels. You can vape them, dab them, or add them to a joint or bowl on top of your weed.
It’s now easier than ever to buy high-quality cannabis concentrates online. Leaf2Go provides a wide range of concentrates, all available for convenient home delivery anywhere in Canada. You can find numerous types and strains and even view product descriptions to find the perfect option for you.
One of the best concentrates to buy is Shatter due to its high potency and ease-of-use. Other popular concentrates include Hash and Oil. If you want extra high THC levels, you might want to try Live Resin or Rosin. You can also buy Kief online if you want to try making Hash or other cannabis extracts at home.
Trichomes are the bulbs that grow on cannabis that growers use to determine when they’re ready to harvest. They’re particularly important as trichomes are the part of the plant that produces the cannabinoids and terpenes that make you high and provide therapeutic benefits. Trichomes are often extracted and formed into cannabis concentrates, and you can buy these online along with various other high-quality cannabis products at Leaf2Go.