Trichomes are the tiny crystals that cover the leaves and the buds of the cannabis plant. These crystals can be tiny hairs or thorns that normally requires a microscope to be seen. It goes to say that one vital tool a cannabis grower, either amateur or experienced, must have is a magnifying lens or a microscope.
Not only such tools are needed to determine when the cannabis can be harvested, but it can also make every step of the cannabis plant lifecycle worthwhile for the grower because of how wondrous they look. In this article, let’s delve into how cannabis plants trichome looks under a microscope in every stage of the cannabis plants lifecycle. Showing also how to grow marijuana from seed.
So how does a cannabis plant trichomes look under a microscope? As mentioned above, trichomes are crystals that can look like tiny hairs or thorns which normally requires a microscope or a magnifying glass to be seen. It also goes to say that some of them can also be seen with the naked eye provided one has a clear vision. Observing the trichomes under a microscope welcomes you into an incredible and colorful alien-like world with crystals shaped like thorns and mushrooms.
Every grower has their preference on what tool to use when viewing or studying their cannabis plants and with the eve of online selling, there is no scarcity of such tools in the market. Let me list down some of the tools to help guide you in deciding what will work for you.
A pocket microscope is one of the cheapest and most user-friendly tools available in the market today. They can provide up to 100x magnification. They are very handy and you can bring it anywhere you go. An example of this that is widely used is the Jeweler’s Loupe. Some of the Jeweler’s Loupe model comes with a LED light that makes it suitable for indoor use. The downside for this device is that the microscope and the subject should be steady.
Handheld Magnifying Glass
Handheld Magnifying Glass is a handy tool that provides a wide viewing angle. You can use it to quickly check if the cannabis plant has parasites or mold patches by simply pointing your pocket microscope on the specimen. This tool is also helpful in checking if the color of your trichomes has changed and is ready for harvest.
Compound Stereo Microscope
Most professional growers and biology enthusiasts use this tool since most of them are very particular with the overall wellness of their plants. This tool helps them make sure that their plants are pest-free and helps them determine if the plant is ripe for harvesting. This tool also provides 10x to 100x magnification rate. This is not portable and the specimen should be detached from the plant and be prepped for viewing under the stereomicroscope. This tool allows the user to see the glandular and the non-glandular trichomes.
This tool is mostly used by hardcore growers because this tool is expensive and can be complicated to use. They are mostly used by cannabis growers who want to study their plants to help improve their strains.
Now that you have figured out what to use to take a closer look at your cannabis plant specifically focusing on the trichomes, Let’s quickly run through the different trichomes produced by a cannabis plant first. These trichomes are normally found in large amounts on the buds and leaves located near the buds.
Bulbous Trichomes – The bulbous trichomes are the smallest trichomes which measure normally at 15 to 30 micrometers thus can only be seen with the use of magnifying tools. Their main job is to protect the plant from pests, insects or other elements. They normally start forming when the plant is still young.
Capitate-Sessile – The capitate-sessile are trichomes with a stem and a globular head. They are more abundant compared to the Bulbous Trichomes and measures normally at 25 to 100 micrometers. They start to appear before the flowering stage and they contain cannabinoids.
Capitate-Stalked – The capitate-stalked are trichomes that can be seen without the use of microscopes or magnifying glass. It also has a stem and a globular head. It is the most numerous trichome found in the cannabis plant. It starts to develop during the flowering stage and measures normally at 50 to 500 micrometers.
The trichomes look like frosty crystals normally clear or milky depending on what stage of its lifecycle it is in. Going in closer using a microscope, the frosty crystals would look a lot like a mushroom with long stems. Some trichomes also look like thorns while some are round. These round type trichomes produce more THC.
Trichomes at Different Stages of the Cannabis Plant
2 to 8 weeks: Vegetative
The bulbous trichomes start to appear at this stage of the growth. These trichomes do not produce cannabinoids and are not seen without the use of microscopes or magnifying glass.
6 to 8 weeks: Flowering
The capitate-stalked trichomes start to appear at this stage of the growth. This trichome produces most of the cannabinoids (THC and CBD).
Harvesting is the stage when a grower normally uses a microscope or magnifying glass to check how the trichomes look. This process is vital in determining if the plant is ready to be harvested. Normally, a trichome is clear but once it turns to milky or cloudy color means it is ready to be harvested. If the trichomes started to turn golden or amber, it means you have missed your window to harvest the plant at its optimum productivity. At this point, the trichomes are already deteriorating and the THC levels are decreasing. The cannabis market is moving very fast as Chuck Rifici, CEO and Chairman of Auxly Cannabis Group has said.
One of the key things in knowing how to grow marijuana seeds is knowing when to harvest. Harvesting a cannabis plant too early would lesser products and harvesting it too late would produce a less potent product because as the plant gets older, the THC content drops.
Knowing how to make proper observations with the trichomes of your cannabis plant is the key in optimizing your harvest. It takes a lot of skill gained through experience to be able to know when your strain can be harvested.