Take a microscope to a cannabis plant and a mystical world will be revealed... A winter wonderland of icicles and mesmerising crystal formations - welcome to the land of trichomes!
Wondering what on earth we are talking about here? Read on to pick up that microscope and zoom in!
Before we cover trichomes, we just want to quickly cover some of the cannabis-related terms that will be used in the article.
- Cannabis vs Hemp:
Hemp is simply a word that was invented to differentiate types of cannabis that have minimal levels of THC (the compound that gets you high). These strains of cannabis were used historically for the legal production of industrial materials such as textiles.
However, in recent years, ‘hemp’ has become increasingly popular for producing food supplements and medicines. So, in reality, CBD Oils can also be described as legal cannabis oils.
Both CBD, which is used for well-being food supplements, and THC which has medicinal value and can get people high, are types of cannabinoids. These compounds can have a wide range of effects on the human body.
Terpenes are aromatic compounds that give plants their distinctive smells. They are responsible for that typical pungent cannabis smell, but as with cannabinoids, they can also have various effects on the body.
What Are Trichomes?
Trichomes are small crystal or hair-like formations that are found sprouting out of most plants.
They can be viewed as tiny machines that produce a wide range of compounds that help plants survive. With functions ranging from repelling pests to protecting from UV radiation.
Or if you want the scientific definition:
“Trichomes are epidermal protuberances located on aerial parts of plant, that protect plant from excess transpiration, high temperature, radiation, ultraviolet (UV) light, and herbivore attack” (Wagner et al., 2004).
Under a microscope, cannabis trichomes are in glandular forms as highlighted below. These glandular trichomes are where all the cannabis plant's beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes are produced.
With the human eye, trichomes are barely visible but often give cannabis flowers a frosty appearance (pictured below to the left).
The flowers are the most abundant source of trichomes on the cannabis plant, and trichomes are the source of the most important health-enhancing compounds.
So there you have it, while the world of trichomes and plant chemistry can be overwhelmingly complex, we hope that you now understand the importance of trichomes and what they are. As they are the source of your beloved CBD!
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