What are Trichomes
Trichoma comes from the Greek word Tríchōma, which means "hair growth". Observed under the microscope, the trichomes resemble small mushroom-shaped hairs. To the naked eye, however, they take on the appearance of small crystals.
Trichomes are responsible for giving the buds of a particularly potent marijuana the sticky texture and pungent aroma. This is due to the high concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes produced within them, the presence of which determines the aromas, flavors and effects of Cannabis.
Although they may all look the same to the naked eye, trichomes differ greatly in shape and size. There are 3 main types of trichomes normally found on cannabis plants.
They are the smallest trichomes among those produced by cannabis plants. Their dimensions can fluctuate between 10 and 15 microns. They cover the entire plant but cannot be seen with the naked eye.
They are slightly larger trichomes and take on the appearance of microscopic fungi, where you can appreciate a thin stem and a spherical head. The capitati-sessile trichomes are more abundant than the bulbous trichomes.
These are the largest and most abundant trichomes on cannabis plants. Normally, their size fluctuates between 50 and 100 microns, which makes them visible to the naked eye (unlike bulbous trichomes). These growths are composed of a stem and a head, the latter being the production center of terpenes and cannabinoids.
WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF TRICHOMES?
The trichomes are directly responsible for the production of our dear and precious cannabinoids, normally secreted towards the last weeks of flowering when the plants have now reached their maturity.
When a Cannabis plant starts its flowering phase, particular chemical processes are generated inside it, aimed at the formation of trichomes. Vacuoles and plastids are transported from the stems to the heads of the trichomes, where they contribute to cell metabolism, giving rise to the first precursors of cannabinoids.
Scientists and researchers have not yet understood why cannabinoids and terpenes are produced and stored within trichomes. Some suggest that they are a defense weapon with which plants are able to defend themselves from herbivorous predators. By giving off very pungent aromas and causing intoxicating effects, cannabis may be an unpleasant food for some animals.
As the trichomes mature, their colors change. Most growers use this color variation to prove the development stage of plants and decide the most appropriate time to harvest them. Trichomes are extremely volatile and can be easily degraded by light, heat, physical contact and exposure to oxygen (but they can also degrade over time).