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Understanding Trichomes: The Jewel of Cannabis Plants

Trichomes macro

Exploring the Fascinating World of Trichomes

What Are Trichomes?

When you visit a Cannabis store, you may hear budtenders or customers marveling over a particularly frosty-looking bud and say something like “That’s one frosty Bud” or “Look at all those Trichomes!” If you have no idea what they’re talking about, don’t worry; we’re here to help!

Trichomes are fine, sometimes microscopic, hairs common on many different plants. Though they serve a variety of functions depending on the plant, they are extra special when it comes to cannabis. While there are small amounts of THC, CBD, and terpenes contained in every part of the marijuana plant, they are all manufactured in trichomes. The resin produced in the stalk of the trichome travels up to the tip of the hair and, when exposed to the right amount of UV light, transforms into wonderful sticky crystals.

Why Are Trichomes Important and what should I look for?

These hair-like structures are important because they produce the vast majority of the compounds that give cannabis its potency. The color of the crystals can range from clear, cloudy, amber, or brown depending on the strain, the bud quality, and when the plant was harvested. If a bud has lots of visible, sugary-looking crystals, it’s a good bet that it has a high concentration of THC, CBD, or both. For this reason, buds with a lot of sugary crystals are usually considered to be high quality.

My Weed doesn’t look very frosted… Where are the Trichomes?

While all cannabis buds have trichomes, that doesn’t mean they are visible without magnification. There is plenty of good buds out there that doesn’t look like it’s been sugar-coated.  Since some crystals are too small to see, you can also roll the bud between your fingers to see if it contains crystals. That sticky feeling comes from the resin produced by the trichomes, so the stickier the better. Since most of the potency in cannabis comes from crystals, it can be a helpful guide when it comes to selecting the bud that’s right for you. If you want to learn more about CBD, THC, or Terpenes, follow the links to our Cannabis 101 Posts.


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