Trichomes: The Complete Guide

If you’re looking for the source of marijuana’s incredible effects and medical benefits, then you’ll want to look at the trichomes. Trichomes are the crystal-like bulbs you’ll often find growing all over cannabis buds. Not only do these give weed more bag appeal, but they also serve all kinds of functions for the plant itself.

The most important thing to know about trichomes is that they’re the source of the cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis. In other words, this is where THC, CBD, CBN, and a range of other key compounds are made. As such, users often extract the trichomes from their buds for use in even more powerful products. Here’s a complete guide to marijuana trichomes.

What Are Trichomes?

Trichomes are the growths on cannabis flowers that often look like tiny bulbs or crystals. They come in various sizes and change color throughout the growing process. Trichomes are the epicenter of cannabis plants where the cannabinoids and trichomes are produced, making them particularly important for growers and users alike.

You can find trichomes growing all over cannabis buds. While some are tiny and can’t be seen by the human eye, the most common type are Capitate-stalked Trichomes. These are the shiny bulbs you’ll see on cannabis flowers. While part of their purpose is to protect cannabis plants from pests, they’re also the main source of cannabinoids and terpenes in marijuana.

Growers often carefully monitor these trichomes to see when their plants are ready for harvest. While they initially look clear and watery, they eventually become thicker and milky white. This indicates that the buds are now high in THC and ready to dry, cure, and use. If you wait longer, they begin to produce more CBD and CBN and turn amber or yellow.

What Are Trichomes

What Are Cannabinoids?

One of the most important functions of cannabis trichomes is to produce cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds found in cannabis that are responsible for the effects you experience when you smoke weed or consume marijuana in other ways. There are many of these and each is known for different effects.

The most prominent cannabinoid in cannabis is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the sole psychoactive chemical in cannabis and responsible for the euphoric effects you experience when you consume marijuana. THC also has various medical benefits- it can help calm your mind and soothe your body to help with various symptoms.

While THC is the only cannabinoid that gets you high, various other cannabinoids are produced by the trichomes of cannabis buds. For instance, CBD is one of the main cannabinoids that contributes to the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis. CBN is known for promoting relaxation and sleep. Waiting longer for trichomes to develop often brings more of these cannabinoids out, although you’ll also lose more THC.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are also produced by the trichomes of cannabis buds. Terpenes are essential oils that produce certain tastes or scents. As well as contributing to the unique aroma and flavor of each cannabis strain, terpenes can also help contribute to the effects you’ll get from consuming cannabis.

Each terpene adds something unique to a cannabis strain. For instance, Limonene is a terpene with a citrusy scent that’s known for its mood-elevating and stress-relieving abilities. Myrcene is more of an earthy and musky terpene that contributes to the relaxing and sedating effects of cannabis strains.

Every cannabis strain has a mix of terpenes, although some are more common than others. Some of the most common terpenes in cannabis are Limonene, Myrcene, Humulene, Beta-Caryophyllene, and Pinene. As well as adding to the flavor and effects of weed, terpenes can also be extracted and reinfused into cannabis concentrates such as Live Resin.

How To Extract Trichomes

You can get the benefits of the cannabinoids and terpenes in trichomes simply by smoking or vaping weed. However, some people like to extract cannabis trichomes and use them for potent cannabis concentrates. There are many ways you can extract trichomes and, while some methods are more complex than others, some are easy enough to carry out at home.

Dried trichomes often break away from your cannabis buds when you grind them. The resulting product is known as “Kief” and you can often find it at the bottom of your weed grinder. Some grinders even come with an extra collection chamber for Kief. You can add Kief to a joint or bowl or use it to make more potent products.

You can also extract trichomes using a Pollen Box or silkscreen to sift the Kief away from your cannabis. One of the best methods is to combine dry ice and weed in a Dry Ice Extraction Bag to extract high-quality dried trichomes that you can then use in various ways.

How To Use Trichomes

How To Use Trichomes

Once you’ve extracted dried trichomes or Kief from your cannabis buds, you can use it in various ways. One way to use Kief is to simply sprinkle some on top of your weed in a joint or bowl to enhance the effects. However, since it’s high in THC and terpenes, you can also use it to make cannabis concentrates.

One of the most common ways to make use of Kief is to turn it into Hash. You can do this by using a Pollen Press- a small device that compresses your Kief over many hours to make a small cylinder of Hash. You can also wrap Kief in parchment paper and roll over it repeatedly with a glass jar filled with hot water. The trichomes will bind and create a small block of Hash.

You can also make Rosin using Kief. This involves wrapping it in parchment paper and pressing it down between the irons of a Hair Straightener. An amber oil will emerge from the edges that can then be extracted and used for smoking, vaping, or dabbing.


Trichomes are the growths on cannabis buds where the bulk of the cannabinoids and terpenes are produced. These are useful for growers who need to know when their buds are ready to harvest and also great for anyone who wants to make potent cannabis concentrates. If you’re looking to buy weed, Kief, cannabis concentrates, or other cannabis products, you can find them online at CanadaCannabisDispensary.

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