When you purchase some beautiful new nuggets from your local dispensary, then you’ve probably noticed that the flowers are coated with a thin layer of crystals. The more “frosty” the buds are, the more sticky the cannabis plants are. This is because the crystals are actually trichomes.
Trichomes contain all of the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant responsible for giving you the “high” feeling that you’ve come to expect when you are using us. Today, we’re going to give you a quick breakdown of trichomes and why you should always keep track of them under a magnifying glass while growing.
What Are Trichomes, Cannabinoids, and Terpenes?
The cannabis plant’s resin glands produce trichomes. As the cannabis plant matures into its flowering stage, it produces clear trichomes, which slowly develop into cloudy trichomes and eventually amber trichomes.
Trichomes are a bit like tree sap. These oily drops contain everything that makes cannabis have an effect on you. They contain the cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, which cause euphoria and relaxation. The trichomes also contain terpenes, which give the cannabis plants their unique flavor, scent and contribute to their effect.
Amber Trichomes, Milky Trichomes, and Clear Trichomes
As the cannabis plant matures, the trichomes will slowly change color as it gets closer to the time to harvest the buds. When the first flowers start to appear in the early flowering stage, they’ll be coated with a thin layer of clear trichomes. If you look at them under a magnifying glass, they’ll be almost transparent.
Halfway through the growth cycle, the trichomes will start to develop a cloudy shade. Depending on the grower, they may refer to these as “milky trichomes.” As they become more cloudy, they’re going to contain a higher THC content.
Then, towards the third stage of the flowering cycle, the buds will start to develop into amber trichomes and will contain a higher percentage of CBD (which will result in a more relaxing strain).
What Do Amber Trichomes Mean?
Once you start to see more amber trichomes, then it’s almost time to harvest the marijuana. This is why it’s essential to keep an eye on the trichomes every day once your plant starts flowering.
Once the ratio of cloudy trichomes to amber trichomes is around 7:3, it will produce the perfect high and will have a superior THC: CBD ratio, providing a balanced high.
How Long Does It Take For Trichomes To Turn Amber?
If you have auto-flowering cannabis seeds, this flowering stage will likely happen faster than with traditional cannabis seeds. With traditional cannabis seeds, your plant will develop amber trichomes around weeks 6 to 8.
Do Sativa Trichomes Turn Amber?
Sativa plants, by nature, are designed to produce a higher ratio of THC to CBD. This means that they tend to have a higher percentage of clear and cloudy trichomes. If you let the plant grow long enough, the clear trichomes will eventually break down and degrade into amber trichomes, though.
When Is The Best Time To Harvest Cannabis
As the cloudy trichomes are exposed to more UV light, the radiation will degrade the THC and turn it into CBD and CBN. The best time to harvest cannabis is right after around 15% to 20% of the trichomes have converted to amber trichomes.