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How Cannabis Works & Works Together: The Trichome Glands

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

Solvent or solventless, hash or rosin, epoch or zeitgeist. Do the words matter when we don't understand how cannabis works? No. They sure don't, yet somehow I was of the mindset that explaining extraction or refinement sciences would make sense, when I haven't told you how cannabis works or what we're after! Forget everything you know and focus on the trichome gland.

Trichome glands cover the surface of female cannabis plants. There's three different types of trichomes covered here, but the focus is on the Capitate-Stalked trichomes. These are the mushroom shaped trichomes that most people have seen in those crazy macro images of the plant. Here's an example I took of dried cannabis flower. Notice the tiny clear heads on each stalk seen best in the center of the photo:

See the hundreds of clear, milky, and amber heads attached to the white stems? These are the trichome heads where the plant produces the cannabinoid known as THC, along with two-hundred other cannabinoids that have already been identified to bind and interact with our Endocannabinoid Receptors. CBD, like THC, is just one of hundreds of cannabinoids contained within each trichome. Along with this vast spectrum of cannabinoids, a plants terpenes are also concentrated within the same trichome glands.

Here's a graphic I made to give you a better idea of what is contained inside each and every one of those trichome heads on the surface of female plants:

Let the outermost black circle represent the outer membrane of each trichome gland or head. All of those tiny clear circles sitting on the white stems in the prior photograph contain some variation of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids like the graphic above. The white stem would come right out of the base of the black circle (above) to make-up one single trichome gland. Each and every trichome gland covering the surface of female plants contains cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in a ratio unique and natural to that particular type of cannabis cultivar or variety. This ratio is what determines and defines different varieties of cannabis and causes their different tastes, looks, and smells.

Notice, I made the THC-A molecule gray to highlight that cannabinoid, which chemical extraction and especially distillation seeks to remove and isolate from each trichome gland. While we used to believe that THC-A was solely responsible for the mind altering and medicinal effects of cannabis, more recent revelations on the Entourage Effect proved otherwise. Experience confirms these notions. Our aim to purify THC was accomplished many years ago, but destroyed the plants valuable terpenes in doing so.

Back to a jar of hash. Now that you know about trichome heads and can see what is potentially contained within each individual trichome head (by my graphic), check out this jar of hash...

Yep, that's right. You're looking at tens of thousands of individual trichome glands. Each one containing a profile of terpenes and cannabinoids like the graphic above. Each jar of Ice Water Hash is made up of entire trichome glands, removed and preserved from the plant. What you are looking at in the jar, is perfectly preserved trichome heads like those in the first picture still on the plant. No other product or method has ever achieved this level of perfection and the effects are otherworldly.

What's Hash Rosin?

Want to know the difference between Ice Water Hash and Hash Rosin? Hash Rosin removes the black circle from my graphic above (trichome membrane), leaving pure cannabinoids, trichomes, and flavonoids to pour out for collection. While this removes that very last bit of plant material that is the trichome membrane, volatile terpenes off-gas the second the trichome membrane is ruptured. You get a cleaner melting product with live hash rosin, but nothing can match the precision and quality of Ice Water Hash.