Three things you should know about trichomes
Trichomes are small hair-like appendages. They are produced by marijuana, and other plants. Female marijuana plants produce certain trichomes that are a rich source of THC. These trichomes can be found in the highest concentration in the flowers, or the buds. They start with a milky color, which then turns with age to amber (light brown).
The Trichomes in Image 1 are clear. After the plant has bloomed for a few weeks, the trichomes start taking on a milky color (photo 2). After a few weeks, it will turn into a fully milky color. In the later stages of flowering, the trichomes start to turn light brown (photo 3). The amount of time required to reach this point depends on the strain of marijuana and growing conditions.
In image 2 you can see the stems have begun to turn a light color to a translucent milky color. For maximum THC content and a more cerebral and energizing effect, we harvest the plants when most plant trichomes are of a completely milky translucent color.
You can wait until most of the trichomes have begun to turn amber, but the resulting marijuana will produce a more sleepy effect ( couchlock) than occurs if the plants are harvested earlier. The trichomes of Table 3 are about 90% amber, with only a trace of translucent milky color.
When the trichomes are completely amber the THC begins to degrade. This makes it very important to harvest before most trichomes have reached amber.
In your first crop, if you’re having difficulty judging when cut down plants, a good rough guide on when to harvest a plant is to wait until 50% -80% of white pistils (hairs) have become dark ( usually brown or red) and about 10% of the trichomes begins to turn amber.
Do not be too fast to harvest when some of the tricoma have changed to amber. It is normal for a small number of hairs begin to mature several weeks before optimal harvest date. But when 10% or more of the trichomes are changing to amber and 50% -80% of white pistils (hairs) have become dark, consider the plants ready to harvest.
Note that trichomes are too small to be adequately seen with the human eye. To see them correctly, use a pocket microscope classified somewhere between 20 and 70 magnification. The highest concentration of trichomes can be found in the growing shoots.