What are Trichomes in Cannabis

what are trichomes

When you talk about cannabis, it is always associated with the word “trichomes.” You are maybe one of those people who are asking the question, “What are trichomes in cannabis?” and “What do they do for your plants?” These are just a few of those questions you have about cannabis. Trichomes are like blankets that cover the strain’s buds or stems and leaves. The word trichome comes from the Greek word “Trichoma,” which means the growth of hair. Therefore, trichomes are those hairy-like structures you can find in your plants or in your cannabis. They are filled with resins, which make them release sticky oil, especially when trichomes break. Aside from being a sticky resin, trichomes carry medicinal properties that can be very beneficial, especially for those marijuana patients or for those people who are suffering from illnesses or medical problems. 

Let us explore more about these trichomes and let us see what trichomes are in the cannabis, what they look like or what their structures are, and what their functions or uses are. Apart from that, let us learn the importance of them in your plants and how to protect them from the harmful things that can damage them.  

Structure of the Trichomes 

If you do not look closely, you will not be able to notice the trichomes. You may be asked this question, “What are trichomes in cannabis? Trichomes look like small crystals that surrounded the leaves and buds of a strain. They are a bit sticky, especially if they break, and when you look closely, they are really shiny. You will be able to find lots of trichomes, especially when you take a closer look. Though there are trichomes that can’t be seen with our naked eyes, and you can use tools and materials in viewing them. 

Trichomes in cannabis have different shapes as well as different functions and uses. They do well in protecting your strains as well as they do good for your strain’s growth. As for the effects of cannabis, trichomes affect them as well as with the flavors and fragrance.  

Why are Trichomes in Cannabis Important?

Trichomes are important in marijuana because of the active compounds of the plants that can be found there. They contain compounds of cannabinoids, terpenes, and even flavonoids. Hence, they are good for your plant’s life spans as well as they are good for the benefits that the users may get in consuming cannabis

Functions and Uses of Trichomes

It is very much important that your plants are protected against the things that may cause harm to them. Aside from the growers’ monitoring and care, there are also parts of the plants that can protect them. They are called trichomes. Trichomes functions and uses are more on protecting the plants from insects, animals, and weather conditions. 

The defense mechanism is one of the functions that the trichomes have. Flowering time for the female weed can be dangerous against the UV rays, pests, insects, and animals. They protect the strain from getting harm by animals by giving them the bitter aftertaste and strong smell. This makes the animals in preventing them from getting contact again with the plants. Aside from that, they protect the plants from getting damaged by the wind or by the fungal that grows around the plants. 

They are very good at protecting your plants, and they are helpful in improving the life span of your cannabis, wherein they will help your plants with their survival. They would help the plants in trapping insects when the insects are trying to make physical contact with the leaves of the plants, and by that, there will not be more insects that can harm your cannabis. 

Excessive water loss and excessive moisture can be prevented by the trichomes. They form surfaces that are thick and tight, and they cover the leaves and protect the leaves from bad environmental conditions and from pathogens. By this, the plants will be able to survive against the unfavorable environmental conditions.

There are also some plants that develop hair to protect them from herbivores. For example, if an animal will go near to the plants. It will cause irritation to the body of the animals. Some trichomes are located in the roots of the plants. The trichomes look like tiny hairs, and they will also function in giving support in the absorption of water and some minerals that are required and needed by the plants. However, these trichomes will not stay longer and will not be able to absorb water once they die. Therefore, grower’s care is also needed in this process. 

Some of the other functions the trichomes have to include the property of getting rid of the toxic substances from the plants, providing waxes that can protect the plants from a very heat environment or to the sunlight, provides oils that can be good for avoiding insects, and it can be used as a protection of those new buds or developing buds. 

If these trichomes have different functions and structures or forms, it has different types, and it is with accordance to their forms, shapes, and sizes as well as to their properties. 

The Different Kinds of Trichomes in Weed

Trichomes in cannabis are classified according to their uses and shapes. They may differ in forms, but they create the same cannabinoids, terpenes, and other chemical compounds of marijuana. There are three known types of trichomes in cannabis which produce cannabinoids. The following below are the three types:

  • Bulbous trichomes – these are the smallest trichomes that can be seen on the whole surface of the strain. The shapes of these trichomes are 10 – 30 micrometers, and it only consists of small cells. Due to these trichomes size, you will only see them using the microscope. They can be found on some parts of the weed plant, which is above the ground. When the plant is young, these trichomes will begin to form, which are present in almost all parts of the plant, and it is to help in protecting your plants from the things that may cause harm to them.  There are two parts to these trichomes. They are the foot or the stalk and the head. The foot has 1 – 4 cells while the head looks like a mushroom with 1 – 4 cells as well. 
  • Capitate sessile trichomes – these trichomes cover the plants tightly. They consist of head and stalk, and the stalk has a single cell. These trichomes’ gland has 8 – 16 cells. They are also a bit larger than the first trichomes. They measure about 25 – 100 micrometers length. 
  • Capitate – Stalked Trichomes – these are the largest trichomes among the three kinds of trichomes. They produce oils and THC compound as well as CBD compound. They appear during the flowering time of a strain, and they cover the leaves and the new buds. The size of these trichomes in length is 50 – 500 micrometers, and they can be seen through the human eye or naked eye. These trichomes develop during the flowering period and look like hairs. If they re matured enough, they will change color, but it will depend on the kind of strain. 

They can be categorized as glandular and non- glandular trichomes. Let’s find out what makes trichomes glandular or non-glandular:

  • Glandular trichomes are more on the type of substances they store and the location. They are known to produce various substances such as water, nectar, resins, and terpenes. There are unicellular glandular and multicellular glandular trichomes. 
  • Unicellular glandular is the type of hair that appears branched or not branched. 
  • Multicellular glandular trichomes are hairs with cells on their head, which has good amounts of substances that are essential to the metabolic process. 

Here are examples of trichomes that are glandular:

  • Saltbush (secretes water)
  • Docks and Sorrels (secretes water)
  • Basil plants (secretes lipids)
  • Non- Glandular Trichomes are more on the anatomy, morphology, and microstructure. It can appear as unicellular or multicellular, just like with the glandular trichomes. Nevertheless, they can also appear as branched or unbranched. Most of the trichomes are branched, and the structures are the same as a star. 

Here are examples of trichomes that are non-glandular:

  • Gossypium with vesicular hair (non – flattened)
  • Styrax
  • T-shaped Corokia

Production and Lifecycle of Trichomes in Cannabis

The life cycle of trichomes starts when the plants are in their flowering period. When the flowers bloom, the trichomes begin to form, and they transfer vacuoles and plastid from the stalk of the plant to the gland head. They will create cannabinoids and terpenes. 

If you want to know as to how we can possibly know the ripeness of plants, you can simply pay attention to the trichomes. The changes in the color of their heads mean ripeness, and it can be used as a sign for harvesting. This is what farmers often do when it comes to identifying as to when it can be a harvest.  However, trichomes’ maturity is not the same as in all cannabis.  You need to remember that not all cannabis is the same, especially when we talk about their properties and maturity. 

Trichomes production can be easily destroyed even with the not so serious situation. It is important that you know the things that might destroy the trichomes so that you will be able to protect your plants from them. Aside from that, trichomes hold and store the most important things and compounds in the weed. 

Factors that Can Ruin Trichomes in Cannabis

You need to take good care of your plants and make sure to monitor them, and as much as possible, you should provide daily monitoring for your plants. You should do it in order for you to avoid the factors that can ruin the trichomes in your cannabis. Here are the different things that may cause harm to your trichomes:

  • Contamination – the contamination may ruin the trichomes of your plants, so it is important for you to give your plants the protection for the possible contamination. 
  • Extreme Heat – if there is too much heat, it will not be so good to your plants’ trichomes. Make sure that the temperature is just the same as what your plants require. 
  • Light Burn-In providing lighting, it should properly provide the same as the temperature in order for you to avoid light burn.  
  • Natural Degradation – As much as possible, you have to do some techniques and strategies in order to lessen this or to prevent this from happening. 
  • Oxygen – There should be enough oxygen, and it should be according to the requirement. 
  • Time – You need to keep track of the time as to when your plants can be harvested or the maturity of the trichomes. 

The trichomes can be possible damaged when it is risked to the mentioned factors above. These factors can’t only do damage to the trichomes, but it can also do damage to the oils that they produce. It is very challenging to care for the trichomes in cannabis, but it can be really worth it. You should not touch the buds using your bare hands as it may damage the trichomes, and it is very much important that you should avoid exposing your plants from the things stated above in order for you to be able to protect the trichomes on your plants. 


Trichomes do not just look as gorgeous as they seem, but their functions, as well as their uses, do something for your plants. They are one of those things that you should pay attention to in growing cannabis, and you should protect against the things that may ruin them as it has some properties and compounds that are very much useful for your plants’ growth as well as for your strain’s effects. 

You need to remember that if they are damaged, the properties and essential compounds that are stored in them will be damaged, too. Hence, the knowledge of the trichomes functions and some strategies on how to protect and take good care of the trichomes are very much essential, especially when you grow your own cannabis as well as when you use marijuana. 

These are the answers you will get with regards to the question about “What are trichomes in cannabis?“ and how do they work for your plants’ survival and for your plants’ life span enhancement.

Share This Post:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About The Author:

James Carico

James Carico

James is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger whose expertise is in the medical marijuana realm. His goal is to break the stigma towards marijuana and share knowledge and information about its brilliant characteristics that offer recreational benefits and boast medical benefits. He is an advocate of marijuana legalization worldwide as he believes everyone should have access to nature’s wonder herb. James enjoys a pot of Super Silver Haze marijuana in his free time as it not only brings him in a good mood but also relieves his body from pain and tension. He writes mainly on medical marijuana’s history, uses and benefits, and cultivation.