The most important part of cannabis are the trichomes because this is where the resin is held, and contains the terpenes and cannabinoids THC and CBD. NugShots used a laser microscope to get a closer look at a trichome and the results are very interesting.
Cannabis trichomes are no bigger than a human hair and there are thousands on each bud. When the resin escapess from the trichome head, the scent of the bud is released, which is why it smells so strongly after you grind your bud. The resin at this moment becomes very sticky and will stick to your skin or whatever the trichome gland contacts. This function is a defense mechanism to predators.
The three types of trichomes are: Bulbous, capitate-sessile, and capitate-stalked. Bulbous are the tiniest and barely visible to the naked eye, whereas capitate-stalked, the largest kind, is what most notice when viewing marijuana flower, either with the naked eye or magnified.
Trichomes also indicate maturity of female cannabis plants in the final stages of growth. The plants are not fully mature until the trichome heads take on a milky or cloudy appearance. When it comes to consumption, people harvest cannabis trichomes in many different forms. Kief is millions of cutoff or decapitated trichome heads. It looks like a pile of sand and can be smoked or pressed into rosin by heat and pressure, which is a more highly concentrated form.
Ultimately, the trichome heads are what contain the cannabinoids that get you high, so there are many ways you can manipulate and extract cannabis trichomes from the buds.