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Tools You Can Use to See Trichomes

When it comes to knowing whether or not your plant is ripe for the harvest, you may want something more advanced. These are the tools you can use to see trichomes!

What to Look For

You’ve got a healthy and pungent plant. You know your close to harvest, but when exactly should you cut the stem and begin?

If you use a classic magnifying glass (the one your grandpa used to read the newspaper), you’ll see the trichomes. If they sparkle in the light without any color in them, it’s probably time to chop.

Technically, when you see almost nothing but cloudy trichomes, the plant is ripe for harvest. Most people, however, don’t like to harvest at that time. This is because once the flower is dried and cured, the medicinal effects will be more in the head than the body.

Some wait until they see amber or whatever color the trichomes turn. The percentage will vary with each person’s taste. Some will wait until they see roughly 10% of the trichomes go from cloudy to amber. While others will go up to 30%(ish) of the trichomes turning amber.

Amber trichomes are when the breakdown process of THC/CBD begins. This alters the effects of cannabis when smoked or ingested. The more amber, the more of a “body high” you will get. The other way, where there are fewer amber trichomes, you will get more of a “head high.” It will ultimately depend on you and what you like when you’re harvesting.

Getting this balance right may be crucial for the type of plant you want to consume. So, you may want to invest in more than just a magnifying glass to do so.

Items Used to Look at Trichomes

There are a few things for trichome examination, most of which are not that expensive or hard to use. We’ll start from the least expensive and work our way up.

Jewellers Loupe

A loupe is what’s typically used by a jeweller to examine diamonds and gold. And, while they’re great at examining carats, they’re also excellent for trichomes.

You can’t take pictures of the trichomes, nor will it be the most focused piece of kit, but it does more than well enough to get a good idea of how much longer you need the plant(s) to develop.

tools you can use to see trichomes

There are many styles of jeweller loupes, ranging in magnification. The minimum magnification you want is 60x. This will give you a decent area to look at and count the number of amber trichomes (if any at the time), so you can judge how much longer you have until harvest The greater the magnification, the closer you will be able to look at an individual trichome.

Loupes are the cheapest and most accessible option, but that brings certain drawbacks. You’ll need good lighting to get a proper view, and a cheap loupe is no better than a good magnifying glass.

Handheld Scopes

There’s a plethora of handheld scopes you can get. Many of them can have adjustable magnification strength for closer looks at trichomes. This helps if you can’t get a clear picture of the colors of the trichomes or if you just need a closer look.

tools you can use to see trichomes

A handheld scopes versatility is also great. You may just want to examine a particular section of flower. All you need to do is clip it and set it down on a flat surface. The scope will then do an excellent job of magnifying the trichomes. This is great for someone like me who doesn’t have the steadiest hands!

While a little bit more pricy than a jeweller’s loupe, they’re not bulky and won’t take up much room. But, just like the loupe, taking photos of the trichomes isn’t easy.

Smart Phone Magnifyers

With the ability to show excellent, clear images – and take photos of them, a smartphone plug-in magnifyer may be your best bet.

These magnifiers are around the same price to slightly more expensive than the handhelds. That’s not to say they are better, just that you can attach them to your phone to take nice pictures.

Or, if you have the USB kind, you can take the picture and upload it to your computer. This also helps those who don’t want to stare through a lens too long to count the trichomes as well. You only need to snap a picture, print it out, or look at it on your screen. This eliminates the strain on your eye when you need to focus on a small area.

Stereo Microscopes

Stereo Microscopes are top of the list regarding expense and magnification.

There are USB options, and you can take pictures as well. These are what you tend to see in science labs across the world.

There are some things to consider before you use one of these, though.

These scopes are technically made to see at the microscopic level. So, you will need to ensure that you have a scope that has a minimum magnification of 60x. If not, you’ll see the parts of a single trichome you’re not expecting to see. Nor is that information particularly useful.

But, when it comes to clarity, these are best.

tools you can use to see trichomes

Also, you can use a stereo microscope to see if you have something in the flower that you don’t want to smoke. The best example is bud rot. If you are unsure if you have any mold or foreign objects you don’t want to inhale, these scopes will help you identify the dangers.

A stereo microscope isn’t cheap, thanks to its sophistication. I wouldn’t recommend one for a beginner or hobby grower. It’s like owning a Ferrari as your first car. Cool, but not really necessary. However, you can’t go wrong if you’re a large-scale or medicinally licenced cultivator.

Tools you can use to see trichomesIn Conclusion

When it comes to knowing when it is time to harvest your plants, you want the right tool for the job. The tools you can use to see trichomes vary in price and quality, but ultimately, all perform better than just the naked eye.

Most, if not all, are available to buy online. So, do your research and work out which one works best for you and your grow

And remember, stay lifted.

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

Chris Staniszewski