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How to Increase Production of Ripe Trichomes on Cannabis

August 2, 2016

For lovers of solventless cannabis extracts, most would agree that properly cleaned full melt hash is about as good as it gets. Sift of this quality looks like fine white sand, but upon closer review, little frothy orbs appear to look almost suspended in tiny cloud-like formations. Under a microscope, thousands of tiny trichome heads appear perfectly separated from their capitate stalks, picked like fresh berries in a basket. A very small pinch can be as aromatic as a cologne, hitting your nose with a barrage of aromas.

What are Trichomes and Why Do They Exist on Cannabis?

This quality of sift is the end product of a painstakingly orchestrated series of procedures that first began with an expertly grown crop of cannabis. Techniques used to grow cannabis at this level necessitate one central underlying principle: farming and preserving trichomes.

Trichomes Production: From Grow to Harvest and Beyond

Trichome production: from grow to harvest and beyond

Trichome farming is more of a philosophy than a single practice. At its core, the concept can be dissolved down into two guiding principles: trichome proliferation and preservation. Together, they exist as a mantra for the production of the highest quality cannabis in the world. In every step of breeding, growing, harvesting, curing, extracting, and curing cannabis, trichome preservation and proliferation remain the two guiding forces for maximizing resin potential.

Trichome-Stacked Flowers Start with Genetics

Trichome-stacked cannabis flowers start with genetics

Achieving trichome-stacked flowers is a journey that begins first and foremost with proper genetics. Certain cannabis genotypes will yield higher concentrations of trichomes than others. Selective breeding and acquisition of genetics that express high desirable yield ranges is the only way to build a solid foundation for proper trichome production.

Cannabis Genotypes and Phenotypes: What Makes a Strain Unique?

When breeding sinsemilla cannabis for resin production, finding a stable mother to take cuttings from is key. Through asexual propagation, that mother can then be cloned and you can use the clones to grow plants that produce high-trichome yields.

Grow Habitat and Trichome Production

Grow habitat and trichome production

After genetics, the next most important thing to consider when aiming to maximize resin production is the grow habitat. Although a certain genotype may be predisposed to heavy trichome production, unless given adequate growing conditions, their potency may be lacking.

Quantity of trichomes does not necessarily equate to cannabinoid and terpene production within the trichome head. These factors are greatly impacted by environmental influences that take place during a plant’s bloom cycle. Of the plethora of environmental factors that come into play when growing cannabis, variables such as light spectrum, nutrient uptake, watering cycles, temperature, humidity, and airflow will all have a considerable impact on resin formation and cannabinoid production.

Avoid Contact with Trichomes and Flowering Cannabis Buds

Avoid contact with trichomes and flowering cannabis buds

Another very important consideration when farming trichomes is minimizing contact with the flowering buds. Trichomes are very sensitive and will burst on contact. Any physical interaction with cannabis flowers during the bloom phase will potentially compromise the integrity of the trichomes. If you must handle the colas, it’s very important to be as careful as possible. When harvesting, this same concept applies — any unnecessary agitation will cause a degradation in trichomes.

Heat and Trichome Production

Heat and trichome production

Aside from physical interaction, heat is another major enemy to resin formation. When growing, keeping the temperatures as low as possible will help encourage production. It’s widely argued that in late stages of a cannabis plant’s bloom cycle, keeping temperatures low will trigger an increase in resin production. When harvesting, it’s also important to maintain a consistently cool temperature. Much progress can be lost if high levels of heat enters the equation at any stage in the growing, harvesting, and curing process.

An easy way to tell if heat if affecting your crop is to give them a good sniff. Disturbed trichome heads and those exposed to heat will give off pungent aromas. That delicious smell is nothing more than the degradation of trichomes as a result of heat and/or agitation of some kind.

Harvest Trichomes at the Right Time

Harvest trichomes at the right time

There are handfuls of folk remedies and popular anecdotes floating around on the internet for how to maximizing resin production. Ranging from light deprivation to plant mutilation (cutting or pricking your plants to stress them out), these tips and tricks range in efficacy. The most important thing to consider when exposing your plant to unusual conditions is to constantly check for signs that they are healthy.

In the final stages of a plant’s bloom cycle, a crucial factor when preserving trichomes is to harvest at the right time. With the help of an inexpensive magnifying glass, you can identify the color of a trichome’s glandular dome to help determine the perfect time to harvest. When trichomes are clear and translucent, they are not ready yet and are still producing valuable cannabinoids. As they begin to lose opacity and turn milky white, this is an indication that your plants are almost ready to go.

When is the Right Time to Harvest Cannabis?

For maximum resin production and potency, harvesting when trichomes have moved from milky white to an amber hue is key. Like fruits, trichomes are at their peak of flavor just before they turn. As the color moves into a predominately amber shade, this should be a strong indicator that the trichomes have reached the apex of their development cycle.

In every step of the growing process, there are opportunities to make decisions in favor of resin production. For those looking for potent, trichome-stacked flowers, adopting some of these techniques aimed at trichome farming is essential. The preservation and proliferation of trichomes is contingent on the respect they are given during the growing and harvesting process. Adopting the philosophy of trichome preservation is essential to maximizing resin production, potency, and preservation. For hash makers, trichome farming is the only way to achieve superior quality. Without these practices, products like full melt hash simple couldn’t exist.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Cannabis Growing: 3 Key Differences

  • Stickplayer

    The title is entirely clickbait. Instead, it should be, “What trichomes basically are, and why they are important”. Certainly, the article as it is titled, “How to Increase Production of Ripe Trichomes on Cannabis”, delivers exactly nothing that the title promises.

    • Light_Tweeter

      You have to read between the lines, agreed not clear. basically saying keep them fat and healthy, trimmed for ventilation.. There are other truths mentioned, i.e. temperature and most importantly harvesting after turning milk opaque to amber.

      • Jeff Harris

        but it is useless info that people already know .. right ?? O.o .. right !!

      • freewheelinfranklin543

        If you like lots of cannabinol.

    • J Teske

      +1. They wasted my time. Never again leafly. Good for strains garbage for articles.

  • Honesty

    “There are handfuls of folk remedies and popular anecdotes floating around on the internet for how to maximizing resin production.”

    Poorly researched for what the article title implies. A better solution would’ve been interviewing professionals for their opinion, or testing results in a leafly garden.

    Stressing writers to churn out clickbait articles? Or just an article written in a rush? In either case, “tricome basics” would be a better title, as the current title implies a deeper knowledge of trichrome production.

  • Dave

    No crystal at the end what did i do wrong ??

    • Heather

      My northern lights had no crystals and it was some good stuff. Then I grew the clone from it and it was loaded with crystals with about the same kick and flavor. Makes me wonder…

      • L O L LOL

        Good growing Heather, you are DOING instead of reading. Only way to BE the path. Keep on keepin on. You, me, and others have experienced this “crystal myth”, see my comment above:)

        • herb herb

          yes bro BEing is the way to success

    • Allen Harris

      i’d say you began flowering before the plant was mature. trichomes are a plants natural defense to pests eating precious flower that MAY have seed in them so 99% of all strains grown correctly will produce what is already a naturally occurring characteristic……trichromes. for thgose that say they can’t see any I’d get a jeweler’s loop as in most cases they are there….regardless.

  • freewheelinfranklin543

    You let the glands turn amber and you are degrading the high and medicinal value. Pick them clear with a few white looking and translucent and virtually all the anthers turning red or orange. Unless you like the sleepy drag you down high of cannabinol. And use those new UVB2 T-5 lights and Lumigrow or California Lightworks LED’s. More THC and more terpenes and other cannabinoids.

  • Jeff Harris

    useless article …. Might as well just say ,,, GO DO SOME PROPER RESEARCH !!

  • L O L LOL

    What a terrible article. Many sativas I’ve grown smell amazing in 85 – 90F/ 45% humidity, before and after harvest. Some sativas, particularly Thai landraces, do not have ANY trichomes.

    I get the feeling Leafly relies too much upon their brand while releasing bogus info. Nothing new in the cannabis world, unfortunately. We’ll always have those putting profit before truth. Much love everyone, I encourage you ALL to grow and realize the truth yourselves.

    I’ve busted the “amber trichome myth” in my own grows…Don’t waste your grow. Pick when clear/cloudy. It will give an up, creative, pain/anxiety relieving high. AND LAST. Try it. Don’t believe the hype. Trichome production is highly overrated anyways. There are more indicators telling you your meds are ripe.

    • herb herb

      bro thank you for this you are on point, all articles these days are money based not spreading beneficial info

    • Michael

      I agree with you, and I also think the people writing these articles are so green behind the ears that most have never practiced what they think their’re writing about. I used to think Leafly was worth reading, not so much anymore.

    • Running Amok

      Your lying sack of shit on not letting trichomes go mostly milky and amber. You assholes have ruined my sleepy stoney narcotic high I used to get. Now most dispensaries cut early and guess what I use a microscope to look at their early cut shit? And guess what? Mostly clear and only some cloudy. And the high is a shitty short racey high that keeps me up at night. I might as well smoke crack if I don’t care about sleeping. I was a teenager in the mid 2000’s and most all shit was super milky and amber. And it was the best feeling ever! Now in Oregon I feel like i’m missing a huge part of the high cause these assholes cut soo early. So take your half clear trhomes and shove way up your ass! If you have insomnia you want fucking half amber! Stop spreading your narrow minded disinformation. Fine if you want to be a crack head and stay up all night but know some of us want to fucking sleep!

  • farmerlion

    Well I take one very important thing away from this article and reading the posts below. The amount of informed users and growers has risen exponentially! Leafl you have a lot of readers here. You have been providing informative articles for years now. This article is proof they are working.
    Thank you .

    • Michael

      Most of what Leafly writes about is misleading at best. I think if you asked where the readers got their info. from, and where they learned the techniques, most would say any top rated grow bible, or experience, but not by what they read in Leafly.

  • Roy Phillip Bundz

    I didn’t know about the heat thing, which has affected my grow

  • Ryan Munster

    Not too mess with the structure of the plant and too keep temperatures at optimal resinous levels heat is the devil too your buds….I found the article useful

  • Michael

    All these articles do the same thing, they get you interested with the main name topic then as you read they talk about a lot of nothing, just as in this article. They could have summed up this whole article by stateing that you need the correct genetics, don’t overheat the flowers, and don’t touch the flowers. That to me is not an article on how to increase tricomb production. IMO.

  • Running Amok

    Again some of us want to fucking sleep not be crack head all day and night! Weed is supposed to make you sleepy! Your just a little pussy that can’t handle narcotic sedative highs! And you dicks have dictated everything in the dispensary to be the, “functional high”! I don’t have problem with having a balanced selection of sativas and Indicas that are energizing and sedative. But it’s pretty messed up to have all energized strains and very weak Indicas that don’t put you to sleep! Insomiacs like me need strong amber dominant Indicas! I got so pissed with not being able sleep on this weak dispensary indicas that I am currently growing my own cannabis! And making sure it gets a shit load of amber and cloudy, no fucking clear!