TRICHOMES ARE THE MOST VALUABLE PART OF THE CANNABIS PLANT.
Trichomes are the resin glands of the plant which contain whole spectrum of cannabinoids. Trichomes are literally the cream of the cannabis crop.
Trichomes are the basis of the smokeless revolution in cannabis consumption which has saved the lives of countless cannabis users such as Charlotte Figi. Charlotte was cured from suffering over 300 seizures a week induced by Dravet syndrome with a tincture of trichomes from a cannabis now known as Charlote’s Web named after the girl’s recovery.
Extracting trichomes from the cannabis plant also preserves terpenes. Terpenes are the pungent oils that give the cannabis plant its distinct tastes and smells. In fact, terpenes provide a wide range of tastes and smells including the more common citrus, berry, mint, and pine.
Terpenes also create an entourage of health benefits and help fully expose and express the cannabis unique aromatic character.
So what’s going on inside the most valuabale stuff on the cannabis.
Cannabinoids are only found inside the heads of three different types of trichomes:
Bulbous trichomes appear on the surface of the entire plant, but are so small (10-15 micrometers or microns) that you won’t see them without the aid of a microscope. For reference, the width of a human hair is 40-50 microns.
Capitate sessile trichomes are the next largest group. They are slightly larger than bulbous trichomes and are significantly more abundant. Capitate sessile trichomes start to take on the more familiar head-and-stalk shape. Capitate-stalked trichomes are the most common of the bunch. They range in size from 50-100 microns which means they can be seen with the naked eye. Capitate-stalked trichomes are composed of a basal cell (stalk) topped off by a waxy gland head.
Scientists used to believe that essential cannabinoids were created in the calyxes, or green plant tissue, which serve as the womb from which the mushroom shaped trichome glands grow. Scientists now observe that the trichomes themselves create the cannabinoids and terpenes. Yes, the trichomes grow from the body of the calyx, but it’s the trichomes themselves that ultimately produce the cannabinoids.
These double strands of hair that grow out of the calyx material, catch cannabis pollen from male pot plants to facilitate reproduction and flower production.
Trichome is Greek for ‘growth of hair’. Trichomes serve as the plant’s phalanx of little shields responsible for the developing plant’s triumphs against fungus and pesky pot-loving insects that would otherwise destroy entire crops of cannabis plants. Trichomes are also the “sunscreen” of growing hemp. Trichomes protect it from the sun’s ultraviolet rays as well as high wind and low humidity. Thick layers of sticky wet trichomes also help protect hemp from hungry edible-loving animals such as rabbits and other rodents.
Trichomes have their own cycle of growth within the overall hemp plant’s lifecycle. The theory is that photosynthetic cannabinoid precursors are transported and transformed into cannabinoids, and terpenes in the secretory vesicles of the trichome gland head as pictured above. Cannabinoids and terpenes accumulate between the outer cuticle of the trichome as the plant grow. The trichome gland head grows thicker and more bulbous as the secretory vesicles produce oil and push it towards the cuticle. The gland head eventually matures and falls off as the budding process nears completion.
If you’re going to harvest your plant for its full cannabinoids effects, you DON’T want the trichomes to fall off. If that happens, that means that you let the plant grow too long. The majority of the cannabinoids are now gone, you won’t enjoy the benefits, and you’ll have to start growing a new plant.
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