Under a microscope, cannabis exhibits the following characteristics.
Not only has the research resulted in the creation of some visuals that would be suitable for the background of a stoner’s phone, but it has also provided some insights into the structures that contribute to the psychoactive qualities and distinctive aroma of cannabis.
Botanists from the University of British Columbia (UBC) utilized a combination of advanced microscopy techniques and chemical profiling on a strain of Cannabis sativa named “Finola.” Their findings were published in The Plant Journal.
According to their research, the sticky resins that contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol are most abundant in the minuscule hair-like structures that were discovered on the plant. These structures were particularly notable for their fatty and mushroom-like appearance (CBD).
These structures, which are more formally referred to as trichomes, are also the primary source of the components of the plant that are responsible for its aroma, which is known as terpenes.
It was previously unknown what distinct function is served by each of the three distinct forms of glandular trichomes (picture below) that may be found on the cannabis plant: stalked, sessile, and bulbous trichomes.
This ignorance is in part attributable to the fact that the plants in question were prohibited for a significant portion of the recent past. In spite of this, there has been some recent loosening of the regulations in certain regions of North America, and this, in conjunction with the plant’s commercial significance, has led to an increase in the funding available for scientific research regarding the plant.
Co-lead author Sam Livingston, a Ph.D. candidate in the department of botany at the University of British Columbia, noted in a release that “we discovered that stalked glandular trichomes have expanded ‘cellular factories’ to create more cannabinoids and fragrant terpenes.
“Also, we discovered that they originate from precursors that resemble sessile structures and go through a profound change during development, which can be observed by employing innovative microscopy technologies,” we wrote.
In addition to that, they utilized gene expression analysis in order to look into the genes that play a part in the manufacturing of these highly sought biochemical compounds.
It was discovered that stalked trichomes were responsible for the production of the highest levels of terpenes and cannabinoids.
Each stalked trichome, which appears bright blue in the photos, includes between 12 and 16 “pie-shaped” disc cells, which appear to be responsible for the secretion of the resin that is sticky and saturated with cannabinoids.
The sessile trichomes that were smaller had smaller secretory discs and appeared to produce a lower volume of fragrant terpenes. These trichomes also looked to be red.
According to the study’s primary investigator, Anne Lacey Samuels, a professor of botany at the University of British Columbia, “We uncovered a treasure mine of genes that support the creation of cannabinoids and terpenes.”
Livingston continued by saying, “Trichomes store the metabolites in their cell walls, and what’s really astounding is that such high levels of the product should be toxic to the cells, so we want to understand how they manage this.”Trichomes store the metabolites in their cell walls and what’s really astounding is that such high levels of the product should be toxic to the cells.”