Every grower wants potent buds that smell fantastic and taste delicious.
To achieve this, you need to support the plant during its lifecycle by providing it with everything it needs to thrive.
Thriving plants will produce lots of Trichomes and an ensure you get a high-quality, potent crop.
This article will show you exactly how to increase trichome production during your grow.
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What is a Trichome?
If you use a grinder and have ever looked at the bottom layer to find that frosty, powdery substance which we also call dry sift or kief, you are looking at trichomes!
Quite simply, trichomes are the icky, sticky, gooey resin glands of the cannabis flower that hold all of the THC, CBD, terpenes, and other important cannabinoids in the female plant.
They are the tiny powerhouses that dictate the smell, flavor, and potency of your crop.
Trichomes also have an extremely important job to do; they protect the plant.
Trichomes are produced naturally by the cannabis plant for three main reasons;
- Maximum growth through the absorption of minerals and moisture
- Protection from plant-eating predators, insects, and fungus
- Creation of a natural sun block, protecting the plant from the sun’s harmful UV rays
Once the plant begins its flowering period, it becomes more vulnerable and wants to make sure it has everything it needs in order to finish off its life cycle effectively and completely.
By producing as much of the sticky and smelly stuff as possible, the cannabis plant naturally works hard to protect its flowers and also creates the terpenes and other cannabinoids that result in some incredibly delicious cannabis strains.
How to Increase Trichome Production
Because trichomes are the components of the cannabis plant that make the flowers more or less potent, every grower wants to learn the secrets to increasing trichome production.
Whether you prefer flower, oil, wax, shatter, full melt hash, or a little bit of everything, all canna- connoisseurs will say the same thing; it’s all about the trichomes.
There are three main types of trichomes that occur in a flowering cannabis plant;
– the smallest of them all which cannot be seen with the naked eye. Comprised of cells, not fully formed
Capitate sessile trichomes
– a bit larger than bulbous and can be seen without magnification. Fully formed, containing waxy gland heads and stalks
Capitate stalked trichomes
– the largest and most fruitful of all. These give off the most THC and CBD of the bunch and have both a fully developed head and stalk
The grower’s job is to figure out how to increase the amount of capitate stalked trichomes in order to guarantee adequate levels of THC and CBD, as well as to allow the cannabis to taste and smell exactly the way it should.
There are a number of ways to increase trichome production.
1. Pick High THC Strains
No matter what else happens in the grow cycle of your cannabis plants, the first and most important step is choosing strains that have strong, solid genetics, as well as higher levels of THC.
If you want the best plants with the largest amount of trichomes, choose strains that consistently produce them.
In general, many of the White strains, as well as the Sour strains such as Sour Diesel or Sour Tangie have some of the highest trichomes levels of any strains on the market today.
Of course, there is always a new strain popping up here and there, which makes it extremely important to talk with other growers to find out what they recommend.
In addition, choose the highest quality of seeds that you can find because the better the genetics, the stronger and healthier the plant will be.
Quality in, quality out. That’s one of many mottos to a grower.
Light is perhaps the most important factor in your plants life cycle.
Cannabis has been shown to produce higher levels of THC when receiving UV-B lighting during the last 2 weeks of flowering.
Light in the UV-B spectrum (290 to 320 nm) is the same spectrum of light that makes us tan and gives us cancer.
It causes a similar kind of stress to a cannabis plant.
In response to the stress of the UV-B light, cannabis plants will start to produce more trichomes, which act as a sort of sunscreen against the intense UV-B light.
So how can you add UV-B to your grow?
Many growers choose to use a Metal Halide (MH) light during the flowering stage as it mimics naturally occuring UVB from the sun.
However, you can also use LED grow lights for the job.
LED grow lights are cost effective and offer a unique full spectrum of light, with many now including IR ( infrared ) and UV-B wavelengths.
So if you’re buying an LED grow light, keep an eye out for ones that include UV-B chips.
Humidity & Temperature
Among many factors, humidity and temperature can be crucial to the development of trichomes.
The most important time to consider these two factors is during the last two to three weeks of the flowering cycle, just before harvest.
Experienced growers know that the very end of the flowering cycle is a time when it is important to make the plant feel small levels of stress.
When the plant feels stressed, it will automatically produce more trichomes for protection.
You can do this by altering the temperature and the humidity levels in the growing environment.
If you want to increase trichome yield, which thereby increases THC and CBD levels, there are two important things to remember;
- Temperatures should remain between 70-80℉. Dropping below 70° makes the plant feel too cold which can result in decreased flowering and plant discoloration, while temps above 80° can wreak havoc on potency by essentially cooking off the good stuff.
- Keep relative humidity levels below 30%. Using a dehumidifier or even an air conditioner can help to maintain consistent levels. Cannabis loves to flower in a dry climate, so this is a way to mimic that by reducing relative humidity.
Track your grow room temperature and humidity levels regularly to ensure that you’re maximizing trichome production.
Trichomes are very delicate by nature and do not like disturbance while they are on the plant.
Even the slightest agitation can lead to burst trichomes.
When trimming, harvesting, and curing it is imperative to be extremely careful with the flowers or buds in order to preserve and maintain the integrity and viability of the trichomes.
Because the plants are so sensitive during this last, crucial part of the growing cycle, use gloves when doing any work on your plants so that you don’t lose any of those precious frosty trichomes.
Latex gloves should not be used, as they can contaminate the buds with chemicals and harm the plants.
The gloves you use should be food-safe, latex-free, and powderless so that they do not hurt your plants in any way.
Nitrate gloves are perfect in this situation.
Next time you feel the urge to run your hand along a beautiful cola, resist!
In the end, the payoff will be well worth it.
Harvesting your crop at the right time is another important step in maintaining and optimizing trichomes.
If you harvest too early, the trichomes will not be fully developed.
If you harvest too late, the trichomes will “turn” and will not offer the same effects on the user.
Trichomes cannot be properly looked at without some kind of magnification, so it’s important to use something that allows you to really see each head and stalk.
If the trichomes are translucent, or clear, they are not ready and are still doing their job of creating cannabinoids.
If the trichomes look milky, they are getting close!
Now is the time to monitor them daily, so that you can choose your time of harvest.
Some growers prefer to harvest their crop when the trichomes turn cloudy because this produces a more head high effect.
Some prefer to wait and harvest when the trichomes, or hairs as some call them, turn amber because this stage offers the user more of a body high.
Some like to harvest when there is a good mix of cloudy and amber trichomes, giving the buds a well-balanced feel.
The choice is yours; but be mindful so that you don’t miss the boat!
No matter your level of experience, it is imperative to monitor your plants consistently in order to increase Trichome production and achieve a successful grow.
Protect them, nurture them, and feed them well and they will return the favor.
Growing marijuana takes time, thought, and care.
The more you give, the more it gives back.
From seed to flower, cannabis cultivation is a beautiful thing and deserves your utmost attention and dedication.
Like we talked about earlier, it’s the end result that really matters, so why not just give it all you’ve got?
Your plants will thank you in the long run which is the ultimate goal.