A Complete View of Cannabis Trichomes & What They Do

cannabis trichomes

You may not know much about trichomes, but you probably already love these little glands more than you know. 

Trichomes are the primary production site for most goodness for all cannabis plants—the resin produced by these trichomes glands that we covet most. 

What’s important about resin is that it’s packed with compounds such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, responsible for the effects we experience after consuming cannabis.

Excited to see how trichomes look and learn which strains have the most trichomes? We’ve got you covered!

Keep on reading to discover why these fascinating glands are so important to consumers, patients, growers, and the plants themselves. 

What are Cannabis Trichomes?


Cannabis trichomes are resin glands that have a hair-like appearance. In weed, they’re responsible for the production of aroma and cannabinoid compounds. If you’ve ever looked at your bud or dried flower and seen a white crystal coating on the outside – those are cannabis trichomes.

With that being said, not all trichomes look the same or have the same function. While some consist of only a few cells, others are large enough to be seen with the naked eye.

Different Types of Trichomes Found in Cannabis

As we quickly discovered before, not all trichomes are the same. Some produce more resin, while others are so small that they can not be seen without the microscope.

types of trichomes

Here are three major types of trichomes you need to know about.

Bulbous Trichomes

These trichomes are the smallest of the types and consist of only a few cells. You can find these bulbous trichomes spread out around the plant, but they produce a non-significant amount of resin compared to the others, meaning that they can’t get you high (we know what you are interested in).

Capitate Sessile Trichomes

The capitate sessile gland is large enough to develop a mushroom-like appearance but still is not visible without some magnifying assistance. These trichomes – capitate sessile – are basically little bubbles made of some cells on the surface of the plants.

Capitate-Stalked Trichomes

Capitate-stalked trichomes are the ones we all really care about, as they produce the bulk of the resin. In other words, they create the vast majority of cannabinoids and terpenes, which get us high.

These glands are big enough and visible to the naked eye. The stalk rises from the surface of the cannabis plant, ending with a ball-shaped head. 

The waxy outer layer of this head holds the resin made within the stalk. Growers use these glands to determine the right time to harvest. And cannabis consumers enjoy the fruits of their labours.

Why are Trichomes Important?

Cannabis trichomes are probably the most essential part of the cannabis plant for consumers, patients, growers, and the plants themselves. Here’s why.

For Patients and Consumers

Cannabis trichomes produce the resin that contains the cannabinoid and terpene compounds. So this means that not only do trichomes get you high, they are the primary part of the cannabis flowers to do so. 

Additionally, hash concentrates such as Moroccan hash or Bubble hash are made from dried and cured trichomes alone.

While this means that trichomes are critical for consumers and patients, we don’t actually need to worry about them. We can get the information we need from the cannabis product label – mainly the THC/CBD/terpene content. 

The cannabis trichomes influence these factors, but it is the final number that matters.

For Growers

cannabis plant trichomes

Cannabis trichomes also help provide visible clues that help growers determine when to harvest weed

Since the resin contains all the valuable compounds and sits outside the plant body, trichomes can be observed in real-time. 

These resin glands start clear and without any noticeable colouring.  Over time they turn milky and whitish before they turn amber or dark red. 

Since different cannabis strains have unique flowering periods and harvesting times, the visible evidence provided by trichomes is essential for determining the ideal harvest time frame. 

Generally, the plant material is harvested when trichomes become amber-coloured, but it depends on what is wanted out of the final product.

Related Article: How to Grow Cannabis

For the Plants

Now, what about the plants themselves? Why do they create trichomes and secrete resin? 

The resin acts as a defence mechanism for the cannabis plant. 

If you are a female cannabis plant, what part is most worth protecting? The seeds – which are made within the flowers. 

This is why all the trichomes are found on the flower to protect the most valuable asset. You can find them on leaves for a similar reason, as energy production is vital for making many seeds. 

Additionally, the sticky substance produced by trichomes stops pests like insects and protects against wind, which can cause valuable moisture loss otherwise.

Which Strains Have the Most Trichomes?

So now that we know all about cannabis trichomes, it is time to see them in action. Let’s look at three high-THC strains known for their thick white coating.

White Widow

White Widow is a world-renowned strain from the Netherlands bred by Green House Seeds. 

This potent hybrid contains around 17-20% THC – but it packs a punch well above its weight. You can expect a strong euphoric rush as soon as you see the thick coating of white trichomes that gave White Widow its name.

This strain is especially good for depression, stress, pain, and PTSD.


Also called chemdog, this hybrid strain generally contains around 18-21% THC and sure hits like it. 

Far more pungent and sharp than the White Widow strain, Chemdawg comes with a similar dense white coating. The genetics behind this strain helped spawn many great strains, including the next one.

Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel carries the same diesel aroma that makes Chemdawg so sharp. It has a similar THC content and white coating but with a twist. 

The other parent clearly brought some dark red tones and energizing properties that make Sour Diesel as uplifting as they come.

Trichomes – The Ultimate Source for Good

Trichomes are the true manufacturers of good stuff that cannabis plants have to offer. 

They produce the sticky resin that protects the plant and are packed with compounds such as cannabinoids, tasty terpenes and flavonoids that give the experience we enjoy.

You probably discovered you already love the resin they produce, but now you can appreciate the role these glands serve and try the best strains known for their thick white coating. 

Happy toking!

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