Most likely, you’ve heard about the importance of Trichomes and why proper handling matters. Trichomes are minute, but can you imagine how they affect the buds? They’re a perfect example of how something so tiny, when put together, makes a great impact. But what else should you know about these tiny plant parts?
What are Trichomes?
Trichomes are the tiny outgrowths on a plant’s surface. While they usually refer to as microscopic hair, they can also be thorns.
In cannabis, trichomes are what store cannabinoids and terpenes. You can find them on the buds and leaves of a plant and have a crystalline appearance.
A sign of good trichomes in cannabis is the sticky appearance. They can be hard to remove when trimming, which is why trimmers have non-stick surfaces to preserve the trichomes.
What do Trichomes do?
Trichomes in cannabis serve as a deterrent against pests, as they have strong scents and a bitter taste. They also serve as a shield against harmful environmental conditions, such as UV rays, wind, and to some point, fungal growth.
Trichomes contain THC, which provides the psychoactive effects in cannabis. On their own, they do not have any psychoactive effect. You will need to heat the Trichomes to unlock the effects. This process is also known as decarboxylation.
When do Trichomes appear?
Trichomes become more prominent during the third or fourth week of the flowering stage of your plants. At this phase, you should have already started inducing the needed nutrients that your plants need to improve trichome production and effectiveness.
In the early stages of development, the Trichomes are at their most potent level and will look milky white in appearance. The Trichomes will then shift into an amber-like shade, which would produce sedative-like effects, instead of being psychoactive. The best time to harvest buds would be when they look milky white with little to none of the amber-like colors.
How to improve the effectiveness of Trichomes?
Better Trichomes start during the development of the cannabis plant. That’s why you need to have the proper nutrients during your plant’s development.
As a rule of thumb, you can get better Trichomes with higher Phosphorus and Potassium levels during the flowering stage. But each plant will need a particular level, that’s why there’s no one-size-fits-all solution on nutrient levels.
Apart from that, you also need to adjust the lighting. If you’re using grow lights, make sure that the spectrum is tuned for the flowering stage. Consider as well adjusting humidity levels to 30-40 percent levels at 26 degrees Celsius.
When to harvest Trichomes
Trichomes are the usual indicator to see if a plant is ready for harvest. If the Trichomes have gone from transparent to milky white, then it’s time to start harvesting.
Note that not all Trichomes will look the same during harvest. Often, the upper portion of a plant will mature first, due to being more exposed to light. That’s why you need to harvest in batches to make sure all your buds are ready.
While harvesting is as easy as cutting off the stalks, it’s best to reduce your buds from touching other surfaces. If you plan to trim before drying, make sure to immediately process it for trimming. Consider getting an efficient trimmer that has non-stick properties to preserve trichomes. For more information, you can read our article on harvesting here.
Trichomes are like the core of your buds. It’s what makes your cannabis powerful. Proper nurturing and handling go a long way, which is why understanding what Trichomes do for your plants helps you make the most out of your harvest.