The Crystals On Weed Have A Name: Trichomes
Trichomes are remarkable structures found in various plants, including cannabis, and their functions extend beyond just producing the cool looking crystals on weed. Not only are they responsible for the production of cannabinoids and terpenes, they play a crucial role in plant defense, adaptation to the environment, and even inspire innovative technological applications. These fun facts highlight the intriguing nature of trichomes in the plant world, and they do not disappoint when applied to the cannabis plant. Releaf Medical will explain all about trichomes on weed just in case you are wondering what are trichomes?
What Are Weed Trichomes
I’ve never heard of weed trichomes. That’s ok, neither had I until I got really stoned and had to google “what do they the call crystals on weed.” What a world that opened up. It turns out those crystals are the production of something called trichomes, so what are trichomes? While they are not found on all plants, they are widespread and have diverse features found in many plant species. Trichomes can vary significantly in shape, size, and function, depending on the plant species and its ecological niche. One of those niches is the cannabis plant, where a world of crystals and hairs mix and make protective layers or flavor and aroma profiles. They are found throughout the surface of the cannabis plant, including its leaves, stems, and flowers. Weed trichomes have varying structures, types, and functions, and have immense importance in the medical marijuana industry.
Structure And Types Of Trichomes On Weed
The weed trichomes comprise three main types of cells. The first is the head cell. It is found at, you guessed it, the tip of the trichome, and is the primary site of cannabinoid and terpene production, which we will talk about later. Then there’s the stalk cells, which connect the head cell to the plant’s surface and serve as a support structure for the trichome. Lastly there are the basal cells, which anchor the trichome to the plant’s epidermis.
Those three cell types combine to create the three types of trichomes found in cannabis.
- Bulbous Trichomes: These are the smallest trichomes on weed and are often found on the surface of young cannabis plants. Bulbous trichomes are often found on the surface of very young cannabis plants, including seedlings and early vegetative growth, and play a role in protecting the plant. Their resinous secretions can deter herbivores and may provide some defense against environmental stressors. They are less abundant on mature cannabis flowers. They contain fewer cannabinoids and terpenes compared to other types.
- Capitate Sessile Trichomes: These weed trichomes are larger and more abundant on the leaves and stems. They have a stalk and a glandular head, and these glandular heads are responsible for the production and storage of cannabinoids and terpenes, among other compounds. Capitate sessile trichomes are visible to the naked eye and appear as tiny, mushroom-shaped structures on the surface of cannabis flowers. They are typically rich in cannabinoids like THC and CBD, as well as aromatic terpenes.
- Capitate Stalked Trichomes: These are the largest and most prominent trichomes found on the flowers of female cannabis plants. They have a long stalk and a glandular head, which is where a majority of the cannabinoid and terpene production occurs. Capitate stalked trichomes are primarily found on the surface of your buds, giving them a frosty or crystalline appearance. Like the capitate sessile trichomes, the sticky smelly secretions also provide a defense against certain herbivores and environmental stressors, but their main feature is potency and aroma, results of the terpenes and cannabinoids produced. In fact, the presence and maturation of capitate stalked trichomes are essential indicators for determining the optimal time to harvest. The trichomes change in appearance from clear to cloudy or amber as they mature, providing valuable information about the plant’s readiness for harvest.
Facts And Functions Of Trichomes On Weed
Weed trichomes are fascinating structures, and there are several interesting facts about them, especially in the context of cannabis. In addition to providing defense against herbivores and insects, they also act as a natural sunscreen. Trichomes on weed are highly adaptable and can vary in size, shape, and density depending on the plant’s environmental conditions. A lot of cannabis is grown in high-altitude regions where trichomes provide UV protection too. Trichomes and their secretions have played a role in human history beyond their recent association with cannabis, as their aromatic resin has been used in perfumes and incense for millennia.
Trichomes have medical significance as well. The cannabis plant has crystals on weed to thank for its plentiful amount of THC and CBD, among other cannabinoids. These compounds are the basis in medical marijuana, showing immense therapeutic potential and have been used for medical purposes for millennia as well. There are also technological applications for the crystals on weed. Weed trichomes have inspired biomimicry in lots of developing technologies such as cleaning materials and microfluidic devices, as certain trichomes on weed had self-cleaning and adhesive properties.
Then there are terpenes, the production of which trichomes play a crucial role.
Weed Trichomes And Terpenes
As we have discussed previously, terpenes play essential roles in plant defense, aroma, flavor, and potentially therapeutic effects. The relationship between weed trichomes and terpenes is closely intertwined, especially in the context of cannabis and other aromatic plants. Trichomes are the key sites of terpene production, and understanding this relationship is essential for appreciating the diversity of flavors and aromas in these plants.
Within the trichomes, particularly the glandular head cells of trichomes, terpenes are synthesized and stored. These glandular heads are the primary sites of terpene production in plants. Terpenes are a large and diverse group of organic compounds responsible for the characteristic aromas and flavors of many plants, including cannabis. Trichomes have the enzymatic machinery required for the biosynthesis of terpenes. These compounds are produced in the glandular heads of trichomes through a series of enzymatic reactions using precursor molecules.
Terpenes, along with other compounds produced in trichomes, serve multiple functions for the plant. One of their essential roles is in plant defense. Some terpenes have antimicrobial and insect-repelling properties, helping to protect the plant from pathogens and herbivores. This is particularly important for cannabis plants, which are susceptible to various pests and diseases. Different plant species and even different strains within a species can have unique terpene profiles. The diversity of terpenes found in trichomes contributes to the wide range of aromas and flavors that we associate with various plants, including the distinctive scents of different cannabis strains.
Terpenes are not just about aroma; they also have potential therapeutic effects. Some terpenes are believed to interact with cannabinoids like THC and CBD in what is known as the “entourage effect.” This interaction can influence the overall effects and medicinal properties of the plant. For example, the presence of specific terpenes can modulate the psychoactive effects of THC or enhance the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD.
Crystals On Weed Or Weed Trichomes Summary
In conclusion, trichomes on weed or just trichomes in general are remarkable structures found in various plants, including cannabis, and their functions extend beyond just the production of cannabinoids and terpenes. They play a crucial role in plant defense, adaptation to the environment, and even inspire innovative technological applications. Trichomes can vary significantly in their size, shape, and function, depending on the plant species and its ecological niche. When you get sticky fingers, or smell a nice earthy tone as you open your newly purchased medical marijuana bag, you have those hardworking weed trichomes to thank.