The Power of Trichomes - Power-Packed Production Houses and Protectors of the Plant
Producers and Protectors
Cannabis trichomes may be miniscule in size, but these power-packed production houses and protectors of the plant are where all the action happens. Trichomes produce the THC and CBD you’re looking for, as well as hundreds of additional cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.
Cannabinoids combine with the terpenes and flavonoids to give each different cannabis strain its own unique set of properties and effects through what is known as the “entourage effect.” This not only provides consumers with a wide variety of smells, tastes, medicinal and psychoactive effects depending on their body chemistry, it also protects the cannabis plant from nature’s nasties including fungus, insects, animals, ultraviolet rays and humidity.
If you look closely at the buds in our Delta 9 display cases, there’s a good chance you’ll see a blanket of tiny crystals covering them. What you’re actually looking at are millions of tiny trichome stalks topped by glandular heads that are jam-packed with cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Jam is the correct word in two senses here, as the resin in the glandular heads is also the reason your fingers feel sticky after you’ve handled cannabis.
The three main types of trichomes found on cannabis plants are bulbous, capitate-sessile and capitate-stalked. Bulbous trichomes are the smallest and are found all over the plant. Capitate-sessile trichomes are larger than bulbous trichomes and have both a stalk and a head. Capitate-stalked trichomes are the largest of the three and are visible to the human eye. They are also made up of a stalk and a large glandular head, and produce the highest concentration of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.
Quality and Consistency with Delta 9 Grow Pods
We spoke with Braedan Moran (23) and Brett Little (28), two Winnipeg-born horticulture graduates who work as Junior Growers at Delta 9, to get the scoop on trichomes. Braeden and Brett oversee a team of four Section Growers, each of which also has their own team. They check the cannabis plants in every Grow Pod every day, reporting back to Head Grower Bobby Bains and Production Manager Darryl Shaward.
“We cross train the teams to make sure we get consistency and quality from each strain at all times,” said Moran. “It’s very important to harvest the plants when the trichomes are mature and at maximum production capacity. Each strain is produced in its own Grow Pod, which is a controlled environment, so we get to know the different strains intimately. We know just what they need.”
“Each strain has its own unique growing factors to consider and each produces different combinations of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids,” said Little. “Most consumers are concerned about THC and CBD, but scientists are rapidly discovering what all the other cannabinoids can do. Labs can produce a list of cannabinoids and their fractional amounts now, and this will be very important to consumers in the future.”
Harvesting and Curing at Just the Right Time
As cannabis plants grow, the trichomes change in appearance from clear and translucent to a milky state and eventually to an amber colour. Depending on the strain, the buds will be harvested somewhere between the milky and amber state. Proper growing techniques and lighting schedules are critical when trying to achieve maximum quality and production from the trichomes, and Grow Pods only make it easier.
“If you harvest at the wrong time, certain cannabinoids will not be at their full potential,” said Little. “If you harvest too early or too late, the trichomes can be immature or subject to physical degradation. We schedule production walk-throughs and daily checks of the Grow Pods to stay on top of things, depending on where the plants are on their flowering schedules, and we examine the buds under a microscope to make sure the trichomes are ready.”
Harvesting and curing techniques are critical to maintaining the integrity of the trichomes, which are very delicate. Trichomes can be negatively influenced by handling, agitation, oxygen, heat, light and time. Great care is taken when hand trimming, drying and curing the buds, in an effort to minimize any damage to the trichomes. Once in the hands of the consumer, the buds and their payload of trichomes can be managed for maximum quality with proper cannabis storage containers and intelligent handling, which might even include a bonus.
A Bonus Extraction
Many of our Delta 9 customers use three-chamber grinders to prepare their cannabis for use. When the buds are ground up, the cannabis is collected from on top of the screen in the second chamber, but there are thousands of trichomes that fall through the screen into the bottom chamber. The resulting extracted powder is known as kief, a powerful and almost pure collection of trichomes.
Numerous scientific methods are used to extract trichomes from the cannabis plant, some of which utilize butane, ethanol, carbon dioxide and ice water. These methods can be complicated, expensive and even dangerous, and are best reserved for professionals who will be adding them into edibles and oils on a commercial scale.
For recreational consumers, kief provides a simple, easy-to-use and potent cannabis extract that can be added into a joint, sprinkled over your buds in bowl or bong, inhaled with your vaporizer, stirred into your morning tea or coffee, made into butter, decarboxylated and added to edibles, or turned into hash.
“The future of cannabis is in extracts,” said Moran. “And, Delta 9 will be ready!”