FEB 17, 2023 5:54 AM PST

What Role Do Trichomes Play In The Cannabis Plant?

WRITTEN BY: Helaine Krysik

The cannabis plant has several different parts, some more familiar to consumers than others. Most consumers know what leaves, stems, and buds are, and they may even be familiar with cannabinoids. However, there are parts of the plant that many consumers may never have heard of, or the functions of these parts, such as trichomes. What are trichomes and what purpose do they serve?

Trichomes are the tiny, mushroom-like glands that cover the buds and leaves of your favorite strains of cannabis flower, serving the plant in a few vital ways:

  • Trichomes produce the resin that contains the active compounds in any given strain, such as the unique mix of THC, CBD, and terpenes. The concentration of these cannabinoids and terpenes in the resin is responsible for the strain’s specific scent, flavor, and effect profiles.
  • They offer protection to the cannabis plant, so that the plant can reach full maturity and harvest. The resin helps deflect insects and assorted other predators from eating the plant, as well as insulating the plant from high temperatures and harmful UV radiation.
  • Trichomes play an important role in cannabis harvesting and processing, as the resin is typically collected so that it can be mass produced into concentrates, edibles, topicals, and more, for public consumption.

For consumers who want to learn as much as possible about cannabis, so they can know which strains are best for them, understanding how trichomes work is a good idea, especially if they are medical cannabis users.

Some strain profiles are a better fit for some users than others, depending on the concentrations of THC, CBD, or other assorted cannabinoids.

Consumers should always buy their cannabis products from a licensed dispensary, so that they be assured that their products have been tested, and that all ingredients are listed with full disclosure. Additionally, a quality licensed dispensary will have knowledgeable budtenders on staff that can help educate consumers on the best choices for their needs.


Sources: Frontiers, Leafly, Plos One

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Helaine is a cannabis industry writer and marketing consultant. She has been active in the Illinois cannabis industry since 2020, and writes for a variety of national publications.
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