cannabis under microscope

Cannabis Under Microscope: Here Are Some Incredible Close-up Pictures You Won’t Want To Miss!

This is what cannabis looks like under a microscope.

The study has generated some images that would look good as a stoner’s phone wallpaper, but it has also provided some insight into the structural basis of cannabis’ psychoactive properties and particular aroma.

According to an article in The Plant Journal, University of British Columbia (UBC) botanists used a combination of cutting-edge microscopy techniques and chemical profiling to examine the “Finola” strain of Cannabis sativa.

cannabis under microscope

Their study lends credence to the hypothesis that sticky resins high in cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are best obtained from the plant’s microscopic hair-like structures, particularly those that were plump and mushroom-shaped (CBD). Technically known as trichomes, these organs are the plant’s main source of the terpenes that give it its characteristic scent.

The three types of glandular trichomes found on the cannabis plant are stalked, sessile, and bulbous. The precise roles that each structure plays are currently unknown.

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This ignorance is a result of the fact that the plants were illegal for a substantial chunk of recent history. The recent relaxation of prohibitions in various parts of North America and the plant’s commercial importance, however, are encouraging greater academic research into it.

cannabis under microscope

We found that stalked glandular trichomes had larger ‘cellular factories’ to manufacture more cannabinoids and fragrant terpenes, said Sam Livingston, co-lead author and a Ph.D. candidate in botany at the University of British Columbia. We also found that they undergo a considerable transformation that can be detected using current microscopy techniques, evolving from ancestors that resemble sessile plants.

They also used gene expression analysis to examine the genes involved in the production of these sought-after biochemical substances. It was found that stalked trichomes produced the majority of terpenes and cannabinoids.

Each stalked trichome, which in the pictures appears bright blue, included 12 to 16 “pie-shaped” disc cells that seemed to exude the resinous, sticky substance packed with cannabis. The smaller red, sessile trichomes appeared to create smaller secretory discs and less aromatic terpenes.

cannabis under microscope

Professor of botany at UBC and lead researcher Anne Lacey Samuels said, “We identified a treasure mine of genes that support the production of cannabinoids and terpenes.”

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Trichomes store the metabolites in their cell walls, and it’s amazing that such high amounts of the product should be harmful to the cells. As a result, Livingston continued, “we want to understand how they manage this.”

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