Have you noticed the tiny hair-like crystals covering the buds of the Cannabis plant? These are the Marijuana trichomes, where all the good stuff come from. Originated from the Greek word “Tríchōma”, which means “growth of hair”, these microscopic crystals are the ones responsible for producing cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, which give each Cannabis strain its unique character.
Importance of Marijuana Trichomes
Whether we use Cannabis for recreational or medical purposes, all therapeutic effects are from cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. And each of these Cannabis compounds provides relief on various health ailments, such as depression, cancerous tumors, gastrointestinal problems, and epilepsy.
But where are these beneficial compounds derived?
This is where Marijuana trichomes play its role. These microscopic mushroom-like projections found on the surface of the buds, stalk and fan leaves of the Cannabis plant is where the beneficial compounds are produced. Each trichome has a stalk and a head, it is within the Marijuana trichome head that the production of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids occurs.
Obviously, without the Marijuana trichomes, each Cannabis strain would have lower potency level when used as a medication, less euphoric effect for recreational users and weaker aroma.
How Are Marijuana Trichomes Extracted?
Dry sifting uses a rigid silk screen to extract the trichome heads from the Cannabis plant. Marijuana trichomes are strained through a series of screens wherein only the trichome heads remain. The end-product, dry sieve hash, has a sand-like appearance with superb flavor since only the most elusive terpenes remain after the extraction process has been done. And it would also give out a rich aroma.
Ice Water Extraction
This type of extraction uses ice and water to remove the Marijuana trichome heads from the plant. The initial process involves freezing the cannabis plant then washed with ice water to isolate the trichome heads from the plant. A hash washing machine can be used for this extraction type or simply stir the mixture with the use of hands. After the trichome heads separated from the plant, they are dried manually or with a freezer dryer. The final process is curing the dried herbs in an airtight jar. For higher quality hash, it is suggested that you take your time with the curing process.
The use of alcohol such as isopropyl or ethanol is also one of the extraction methods used to remove the Marijuana trichome heads from the cannabis plant. First, the dried cannabis buds are soaked in alcohol, just a quick alcohol wash should be done. Prolonged soaking will cause the herb to dissolve. After the trichome heads break free from the buds, precise filtering and purification are done. Drying the mixture is the final step. You can either let the mixture sit for a day or two to let the alcohol evaporate or use heat. However, using heat to dry the herbs mixed with alcohol can be dangerous when done at home, without the appropriate laboratory equipment to process it. This is the reason why most Cannabis enthusiasts prefer manual drying and patiently wait for the alcohol to evaporate, it is a much safer way. The end product is in a form of tincture which can be ingested orally.
Why are Trichomes Important for Cannabis Plants?
Before Marijuana trichomes are enjoyed by humans, they serve an important role in the growth of the Cannabis plant. Here are some of the benefits it provides:
- Marijuana trichomes serve as a protective shield by forming a layer against insects, preventing them from reaching the surface of the plant. This would allow the Cannabis plant to grow and reproduce.
- The chemicals found in Marijuana trichomes make the plant less palatable to animals and can also prevent the growth of some fungus.
- These microscopic resins also serve as a natural “sunscreen” by protecting the herb from UV-B light rays and at the same time insulate the Cannabis plant from strong winds and low humidity.
How are Marijuana Trichomes Used?
Marijuana Trichomes have been known to be the microscopic factories of terpenes and cannabinoids. Wherein terpenes and cannabinoids are the core ingredients in numerous types of cannabis extracts and concentrate. Here are some of the types and uses of cannabis concentrates wherein Marijuana trichomes were used to produce them.
These are the loose Marijuana trichomes that cover that Cannabis plant. It is also the simplest form of extract. Kief is extracted with the use of a grinding machine. And due to its high potency level, only a small amount of kief is needed to get its desired effect.
One of the most common uses of this Marijuana trichome extract is it serves as an additive to rolled joints or to dried herbs when vaping. Simply sprinkle a small amount of kief over your buds then smoke or vape it and enjoy a higher level of kick it gives on each draw. Kief can also be used for making Cannabis edibles.
This Marijuana trichome extract is just a refined version of kief. Trichomes are used and undergo a series of sifting through multiple screens wherein only the trichome heads remain after the process is done. When a pure dry sieve is produced, the hash should completely melt when exposed to heat, which is popularly known as a full-melt dry sieve hash.
Ice Water Hash
Marijuana trichomes are also used to produce ice water hash. The process of making this type of extract is by soaking the trichome heads in ice water. The mixture is filtered to isolate the heads from the plant matter. Once filtered and dried, the filtered trichome heads are then pressed to make it into a hash.
Hashish or hash are commonly used as a recreational drug that can be smoked, vaped or ingested orally.
Marijuana trichomes truly deserve an applause for being the “building blocks” of almost all types of Cannabis products. And not only that they provide superb medicinal and recreational benefits due to their high potency, they also protect the Cannabis plants and play an essential role in their growth. And since Marijuana trichomes are commonly used to make Cannabis extracts and concentrates, the possibilities are endless in uncovering more medicinal and therapeutic use of the Cannabis plants.