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6 Ways To Boost Trichome Production In Cannabis

Created by
JoshuaHolt JoshuaHolt
Added 10 December 2020

6 Ways To Boost Trichome Production

Trichomes are the goal of many growers and extractors these days, but is it possible to boost their production? In this article, we discuss some tips and tricks to get heavier resin content in your cannabis plants.

Cannabis Trichomes

Trichomes On Cannabis Leaves

As you might already know, trichomes are the tiny, resin glands that accumulate on and around the flowers of a cannabis plant as it matures. They make up what we call 'resin' and contain all the cannabinoids and terpenes that give cannabis its rich flavour and aroma, as well as the powerful effects it delivers.

Trichomes are produced by a cannabis plant for a number of reasons. Mainly, they are understood to be a genetic trait that promotes the survival of the species, providing the plant protection and also allowing for easier reproduction.

Trichomes create a resinous layer that acts as a barrier, allowing cannabis and its seed to efficiently deal with the external conditions.

The rise in demand for new highs, concentrates and extractions means growers are often seeking new ways to boost trichomes to their fullest. Crossing high resin producing genetics means we now have an array of extremely juicy strains already spilling over with resin. However, it is not all about genetics. In order for a cannabis plant to produce at its best, the trichomes should first be well taken care of.

Before discussing how to boost production, let's have a look at some key measures to make sure you are achieving dense, trichome-rich cannabis buds.

Taking Care of Your Cannabis Trichomes

Cloudy Trichomes Can Signal Harvest Day Arrival

'Boosting' trichomes requires some forethought, meaning we must plan in advance to ensure both the duration and outcome of the grow sees a healthy development of trichomes. Consider factors like the strains you grow, how you handle the plants, and when to harvest them for peak content.

  • Strains - Naturally, some strains produce more resin than others. High THC-content genetics tend to be the best choice for those looking to achieve plenty of trichomes. Remember, each strain has its environmental preferences and will produce more or less trichomes under different conditions. 
  • Contact - It is very important to minimise the amount we handle cannabis plants, both when they are wet and dry. Every time we touch the flowers, trichomes are damaged or removed.
  • Harvest Time - The colour of trichomes can help us determine when cannabinoid content is at its fullest. If we leave it too late, the production of trichomes will have stopped and they begin to degrade.

Tip: Harvest right after your lights come on when trichomes are plump. Evaporation throughout the day removes some terpene compounds which get replenished at night time.

6 ways To Boost Trichome Production

Boosting Trichome Production

LST/HST

The most common way to improve production is through stress training. Both low stress training (LST) and high stress training (HST) have the ability to significantly increase yields when performed correctly. Higher yields tends to mean more trichomes.

Strengthening a cannabis plant using stress training involves manipulating the plant's shape to distribute hormones more evenly across the top buds. The leaves make better use of the light this way, allowing the plant to be more productive.

Methods of LST/HST for increasing trichome production:

LST (Low Stress Training)HST (High Stress Training)

- Bending and tying

- SOG (Sea of Green)

- ScrOG (Screen of Green)

- Pruning/Defoliation

- Lollipopping

- Topping/FIMing

- Super Cropping

- Main-lining

- Manifolding

Grow Lights and UVB

UV Light Can Help To Improve Trichome Production

Light spectrum is a fundamental part of a cannabis plant's ability to photosynthesise, grow and produce flowers. Studies have shown that plants grown in high altitude areas where the presence of UVB rays is higher can increase trichomes by up to 32%.

Lights that emit wavelengths between 280-315nm are in the right spectrum, with UVB sitting at around 300nm. Take care if you decide to experiment using UVB, as it can be quite harmful to the skin. Switch it off when you spend time in your grow room. 

Tip: Gradually increase the amount of UVB you give your plants to avoid burning them.

Temperature and Humidity

Adjusting Temperature And Humidity In The Last 2 Weeks Of Flowering

It goes without saying that temperature and humidity have a big effect on the growth of cannabis flowers. When the levels are not optimal, the plant will suffer. The opposite is true when we get the conditions on point. To increase trichome production, it is possible to adjust the temperature and humidity to induce some form of stress, causing the plant to produce more as a defence mechanism.

In the last 2 weeks of flowering, the night time temperatures can be gradually reduced to as low as 15-16°C, or lower in some cases (mimicking the arrival of winter). Keep the day time temperature under 25°C. The relative humidity can also be lowered so it sits at roughly 35-40%. If the humidity rises too much when temperatures are low like this, the chance of mold increases so it's best to keep it down.

Darkness Before Harvest

Darkness Before Harvest

Many growers swear by this method as a way to boost trichomes in the last day or two before harvest. Giving cannabis plants complete darkness for 24-48 hours is said to increase the number of trichomes, as well as improve flavour. However, the technique is inconclusive and needs further study but feel free to discuss with other growers and experiment.

The problem with this method is that we create a high risk of mold right at the end of flowering. However much this could potentially improve potency or flavour, avoiding mold should be more of a priority. It is likely to affect cannabinoids and terpenes rather than the amount of trichomes, which need time to grow.

Hydric Stress

Hydric Stress Technique On Cannabis

Another interesting study, published by the American Society for Horticultural Science, has shown that the application of drought can increase the amount of cannabinoids in cannabis plants. Although it does not indicate specifically about trichome production, the introduction of this technique can boost THC, which may be an indication for some extra resin growth (as a result of the stress).

Whether this works depends on the species of cannabis and its ability to handle drought. In the study, the plants in the test group were without water for 11 days after the start of week 7 in flowering (water potential 1.5MPa = drought stress threshold, plant wilting). After feeding again and finishing their cycles, yields showed a 50% increase in THC.

Nutrients

Flowering Nutrient Requirements

When it comes to nutrients, be sure to give your plants plenty of phosphorous and potassium during their flowering stage. These elements are vital for the development of flowers and their oils. Check the NPK ratio of your nutrients to get an idea of how the levels should change throughout the grow and adjust accordingly. 

Feeding a cannabis plant the correct amount of nutrients is necessary if we are looking to boost trichomes. When the plant is deficient it cannot produce properly, slowing down all functions. Nutrient schedules vary for every strain, so we recommend you try using different concentrations to find out what works best.

Tip: If your plants are healthy and drinking properly, you can consider increasing the amount of nutrients but be careful not to overdo it and watch the pH levels.

Conclusion

We recommend you feel comfortable with your grow set up before moving on to trichome boosting techniques. Achieving the perfect conditions involves plenty of learning and experience. Once you're satisfied with the product you're growing or you have enough plants to experiment with, why not try giving your plants a little bit of further encouragement?

If you found this article useful or have any ideas/thoughts regarding trichomes, please let us know down in the comments section. Stay safe and happy growing!

External References

UV-B Radiation Effects On Photosynthesis, Growth And Cannabinoid Production Of Two Cannabis Sativa Chemotypes. - John Lydon, Alan H. Teramura, C. Benjamin Coffman. (1987)

Increasing Inflorescence Dry Weight and Cannabinoid Content in Medical Cannabis Using Controlled Drought Stress. HortScience. - Caplan, Deron & Dixon, Mike & Zheng, Youbin. (2019)

This article was updated November 2020.






Comments

Herbie
Herbie

Nice to see science backs up my UVB Light claim :+1:

MarijuanaFarmer
MarijuanaFarmer

Awesome learning things like this, 50 percent increase, has anyone done this on growdiaries?

STICKY67
STICKY67

Great write up..I live in Aust up north I grow outside in pots and it gets really hot so about 3-5 days before I harvest I bring them inside to the nice cold ac for nights and it just makes them glisten in the mornings.

TheBelgian
TheBelgian

Nice pointers. Will try them out, and smoke the results to compare ;D

Highgrower
Highgrower

Thanks for it <3