What are Trichomes and What Do They Do?

Cannabis trichomes are fascinating structures. Whether glandular, bulbous, confined to the flower, or covering the entire plant, the hair-like filaments perform multiple functions. Cannabis consumers in Denver appreciate knowing the budtenders at Exit 243 can tell a lot about the quality and overall effect of their inventory by only appearance.


Is it essential to know the various functions of trichomes before visiting our Idaho Springs dispensary? Absolutely not. But knowing the answer to frequently asked questions like “What are trichomes on weed?” and how the appendages contribute to the enjoyment of every strain make it easy to understand why experienced consumers collect the trichomes that fall from their flower. 

What Are Trichomes?

Trichomes are small hair-like outgrowths on plants that function as multi-purpose defense mechanisms. They can appear as small bumps on a plant’s epidermal cells or evolve into complex multi-cell structures. There are three types on cannabis plants. The smallest, bulbous trichomes, are only visible through a high-powered microscope. Capitate-sessile trichomes are just a bit bigger. They’re highly concentrated on the underside of sugar leaves and pan leaves.


Larger capitate-stalked trichomes on weed, the most abundant, are visible with less magnification. Visible cannabis terpenes have a mushroom-like appearance with thin stems and bulbous heads. They grow in and around the flower’s calyx. In addition to giving cannabis its sparkly appearance, they’re the part of the plant that produces its cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.

What Are the Benefits of Cannabis Trichomes

Plants of all types produce trichomes to ward off predators, pests, and fungi, retain moisture and nutrients, and provide UV protection. They have a bitter taste and rather pungent aroma. Although the trichomes on weed are often called “crystals” in cannabis circles, they’re quite delicate. In addition to protecting the plant’s health, they provide several benefits for growers, dispensary personnel, and cannabis consumers.

Ensuring Optimal Harvest Readiness

Cannabis trichomes go through several visible changes during the plant’s lifecycle. Initially having a clear, glass-like appearance, trichomes turn milky white as crops mature. Observing their color and density helps growers fine-tune their harvesting windows. Plants harvested early, for example, tend to have more of a cerebral, energizing effect, and milky white trichomes suggest the impact is more balanced. Growers most interested in optimizing the more relaxing aspect of their crop delay harvesting until a portion of the trichomes turn amber.



Assessing Overall Potency and Quality

Budtenders rely on the same trichome color cues as growers to help their customers find the best strains for the effect they’re hoping to achieve and to confirm product quality. Top-shelf cannabis has an abundance of plump, swollen trichome heads. They’re aromatic and sticky. Flat or shriveled weed trichomes are often a sign of product degradation, but not always. Some strains naturally produce fewer or flatter trichomes. Although they may not be as visually appealing, flat trichomes can still contain an abundance of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.


Elevating Cannabis Enjoyment

For cannabis consumers, weed trichomes are nature’s miniature treasure chests, the receptacle that delivers the effect and flavor of their favorite strains. More experienced cannabis enthusiasts also appreciate how easy it can be to make the best use of any dried crystals that fall from their bud using a grinder equipped with a screen. Once dried and dislodged, trichomes are called kief – also known as “pollen” or “dust.”  Although it can take time to collect enough loose weed trichomes to press into hash, kief can also be used to add more kick to less potent cannabis strains.


Elevate Your Cannabis Experience with Trichome-Rich Products from Dispensary Exit 243

There are multiple ways for growers to optimize the trichome production of their crops through low-stress and high-stress training. The results of those efforts are visible on their bud. Cannabis consumers who recognize their value shop for trichome-rich strains at Dispensary Exit 243 on I-70.

At Dispensary Exit 243 in Idaho Springs, Colorado, we collaborate with reputable growers and product manufacturers who share our commitment to delivering products that meet and exceed consumer expectations. Our friendly staff is dedicated to delivering a positive shopping experience, answering any cannabis-related questions you may have, and providing personalized recommendations. If you have “What are trichomes?” – related questions we haven’t covered, call 303 – 292 – 6902 or submit a contact form.


Featured Image:  Roxana Gonzalez/Shutterstock

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