Cannabis Trichomes: Definition, Types and Functions

Cannabis Trichomes

Definition of Cannabis Trichomes

Trichomes refer to a kind of hairlike outgrowth from an epidermal cell of a plant, including cannabis. They can be found on flowers, leaves and stems of the plant. It is known that trichomes not only can defend plants from environmental threats, but are the source of resin, terpenes and cannabinoids in cannabis plants.

Types of Cannabis Trichomes

There are three types of trichomes in cannabis plants, which are bulbous trichomes, capitate-sessile trichomes and capitate-stalked trichomes respectively. Their physical structures, shapes and sizes vary from each other but produce the same compounds.

  1. Bulbous Trichomes

As tiny bulbs, bulbous trichomes aren’t visible to the naked eye, which only can be observed by microscope. Distributing evenly on the surface of cannabis plants, they make cannabis’s texture sticky and the appearance frosty. But due to their sizes are generally between 10 and 15 micrometers, they are not capable of holding high CBD concentrations.

  2. Capitate-Sessile Trichomes

Capitate-sessile trichomes are larger than bulbous trichomes, but they are still hard to see. They can synthesize terpenes and cannabinoids through their secretory cells, and holds higher concentrations of compounds like terpenes and cannabinoids than bulbous trichomes.

  3. Capitate-Stalked Trichomes

Capitate-stalked trichomes are much larger and more abundant than bulbous trichomes and capitate-sessile trichomes. Ranging from 50 to 100 micrometers, they are easily visible to the naked eye. They usually contain the highest concentrations of compounds like terpenes and cannabinoids.

Functions of Cannabis Trichomes

Cannabis trichomes have multiple functions and play an essential role in cannabis plants. As it is mentioned above, on the one hand, they can defend plants from environmental threats, such as animals, insects and other threats. They can protect cannabis plants from destructive UV rays and wind. As well, they can maintain the optimal humidity on the surface of cannabis plants so that leaves won’t dry. On the other hand, trichomes can produce a great variety of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, which make cannabis plants unique.

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