Most cannabis patients are intimately familiar with trichomes. They are the tiny, sticky, hair-like appendages of the flower that house that most desirable ingredient: THC. Milky, amber, and clear, trichome coloring depends on the flowering stage and maturity of the plant itself. Take a look at these photos below for a detailed guide on recognizing trichomes.
Above you can see mostly clear trichome heads. This is an indicator that the plant is not quite ready for harvest. The resin is slightly underdeveloped and needs time to age.
Here we can see the trich ‘heads’ or glands starting to get cloudier. We can also see light amber glands starting to appear. Within 7-10 more days these glands will become darker and opaque. Typically, you want to see a mixture of opaque and amber heads right before harvesting. This is when the full effect of the cannabinoids is considered the strongest.
As the trichomes mature and grow larger, we can see some of the gland heads starting to stick together to create globules.
There’s some debate about what trichome coloration truly indicates. Generally it’s accepted that milky or amber trichs are more desirable and produce a stronger effect when combusted. It’s also believed that the darker the amber, the more a sleepy, indica-like “stoned” effect is produced. While trichome coloring isn’t the only harvest-time indicator we rely on, it’s definitely a useful reference and helps us to accurately determine the flower’s maturity.