Everything I Own Is Covered In Trichomes!
Did you ever wonder why certain strains look the way they do? What gives lemon skunk that hairy-orangish look? Or what gives grand daddy purp it’s characteristic dark purple hue with crisp white crystals?
The answer is trichomes!
I’m sure you’ve heard the term before, but what exactly are trichomes?
The name trichome originates from the Greek word “Tríchōma,” meaning “growth of hair” which makes sense since most of them do have a stringy hair-like appearance. Functionally, these trichomes are responsible for producing the most important part of the cannabis plant – the cannabinoids! The compounds that give our strains their various tastes, smells, and physiological response.
Trichomes are present in many plants, not just cannabis, and serve multiple purposes in nature. In cannabis their primary function is thought to be as a defense mechanism. The strong aromas and bitter taste they create make them an unsuitable food source while the sticky oils they create aid in protecting their plants from damaging winds and fungi. Interestingly enough, these oils the plant evolved to produce are the same oils that have been providing us with medicine for thousands of years.
Interesting Fact – Many compounds used in medicine come from natural sources. One of the most common drugs we use, aspirin or acetylsalicylic, was discovered from salicylic acid in the bark of willow trees because natives to the area were chewing on it and noticed they had pain relief! Then in the late 1800s a chemist, Felix Hoffman, came along and isolated that compound eventually leading to the aspirin we have in all our stores today.
Overall lesson – The next time you find yourself admiring the beauty of a frosty nugget, remember the essential roles behind those odd-looking trichomes.
Quiz Time: Just kidding, this is for your own research if you want. Name an external factor that might affect the amount OR functionality of trichomes and how it would. (For example – physical contact)
Miner J, Hoffhines A. The discovery of aspirin’s antithrombotic effects. Tex Heart Inst J. 2007;34(2):179-86. PMID: 17622365; PMCID: PMC1894700.