Photo by Art of Cannabis

Learn | 04.28.2022

Talking Trichomes: Types, When To Harvest, & More

A guide to the amber world of cannabis trichomes.

Have you ever wondered what those orange/amber hairs are on your cannabis bud

Those precious and soft prongs are none other than essential cannabis trichomes, which hold a ton of cannabinoids depending on the specific strain and plant type

While trichomes are not entirely responsible for causing a high, they play a vital role in producing the overall effects of THC present in the flower itself and in the trichomes. Read on to learn more. 

What Are Trichomes On Cannabis?

Photo by Art of Cannabis

As mentioned, cannabis trichomes are small orange or amber hairs that sit on the exterior of a plant’s bud. Trichomes offer strains in their individual effects and flavors, notably distinct terpene profiles and different cannabinoid levels. Trichomes can be smoked by using the flower itself, or they can be used to create a dense cannabis concentrate.

When To Harvest Based On Trichomes

The state of your trichomes is a clear indicator that your plant still needs some growing time or it’s ready to harvest. To properly view the state of your trichomes on cannabis plants, you will need a trichome microscope, which can range from $20 to $150. An entry-level microscope will do just fine for home growers. 

You want to keep an eye out for four different stages when examining if a plant is ready for harvest. You could harvest a plant at any trichome stage, but the more colorful trichomes are, the more potent your bud will be. The following are the four stages of cannabis trichomes; 

  • First Stage: During infancy, trichomes will be clear and transparent, meaning the plant still needs time to build potency. 
  • Second Stage: Your plant will slowly increase in potency, indicated by the milky and cloudy trichomes becoming less transparent. 
  • Third Stage: You should start to see some amber color mixed in with the cloudy trichomes.
  • Fourth Stage: For an ultra-potent bud, your plants will be ready to harvest when trichomes have reached a complete amber or orange color. 

Types Of Trichomes

Bulbous Trichomes

These are the smallest trichomes on your plant, and they range from 10-to 15 micrometers in length. You can faintly see the tiny bulbs on the ends with the naked eye, but you can get a better look through a microscope. Because these trichomes are so small, they can’t carry a substantial amount of cannabinoids. 

Capitate Sessile Trichomes

These trichomes are slightly larger than the above, ranging from 50 to 100 micrometers long. They spread all throughout the cannabis plant but are slightly visible to the naked eye. However, they can reach up to 75 micrometers, which suggests that they have the space to carry a richer cannabinoid and terpene content. 

Capitate-Stalked Trichomes

These trichomes are visible to the naked eye as they are the largest and most evident on the plant. These are the trichomes you think of when discussing the orange hairs on your bud, as they can measure up to 500 micrometers long and produce those essential cannabinoids and terpenes

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