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Consumption 101 Series: Cannabis Plant Flower

July 01, 2022
Consumption 101 Series: Cannabis Plant Flower

If you’ve ever visited one of our Missouri medical cannabis dispensaries, you know that we’re pretty big on sharing information on the science of cannabis: The cannabinoids and terpenes that make marijuana such a powerful—even revolutionary—medicine. 

But impactful as these compounds are, the cannabis plant flower—the “cannabis bud” or simply “flower”—is the place where they take form and start their journey towards becoming the medically active compounds we know and love. So with an eye towards sharing authoritative and useful information about cannabis and all the different ways to consume it, we’re going to begin our new “Consumption Series” with the simplest and most elemental form of marijuana: the cannabis plant flower.

Cannabis Plant Flowers: Small Plant-Based Medicine Factories

When we talk about a human-made medicine—like aspirin, ibuprofen, or any other pharmaceutical—we’re typically talking about a single “active ingredient” packaged in an easy-to-consume formulation. One of the things that makes cannabis so fascinating, of course, is that it contains not one, or two, but many dozens of different medicines: All the cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, and the fragrant terpenes which add their distinctive aromas (and medicinal effects) to different types of cannabis flower.

Similarly, when we talk about a flowering plant, we usually think of a single image: A long-stemmed red rose, or the white blossoms of the hawthorn tree that are a symbol of Missouri. But zoom in closer on a marijuana plant flowering, and you’ll see they’re more like a miniature medical factory than a flower! If you study a fresh female marijuana flower, the components you’ll typically see include:

Cola: Sometimes called a “bud site” by growers, colas are clusters of female flowers that grow tightly together.

Trichomes: The frosty-looking coating you see on high-quality flower? It’s made of tiny structures called trichomes. They’re mushroom-shaped glands that produce aromatic terpenes—typically to repel pests—and cannabinoids: THC, CBD, CBG, and others still. While the trichomes should still be present on premium flower, they’re sometimes mechanically separated to produce potent concentrated products such as hash and kief.

Sugar Leaves: These tiny leaves are found at the center of the cannabis flower. Coated with a sticky and potent resin, they’re often used to produce pre-rolls, concentrates, and other high-quality cannabis products.

Bracts: These are the little teardrop-shaped leaves that surround the cannabis plant’s female reproductive organs. Though they only represent a small proportion of the cannabis plant’s weight, they’re prized due to the especially high concentration of cannabinoids.

Types of Cannabis Flower: Why Females Rule

You may have noticed how a moment ago we referred to a “fresh female marijuana flower.” That’s right, plants have sexes just like we do, and individual cannabis plants typically occur as either male or female. While the male plants are necessary for fertilization in the wild, cannabis cultivators do not want their female plants to become fertilized. Why? If they were to fertilize the female plants, those females would turn their energy towards producing seeds instead of the cannabinoid- and terpene-rich flowers we humans prize. 

Cannabis Buds at 3Fifteen Primo

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing much more information about the cannabis plant and all the various ways to access its medicinal benefits. We hope you’ve enjoyed this guided tour of cannabis buds as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it.

If you have any other questions about the cannabis plant’s flower, just ask your budtender next time you’re visiting any one of our Missouri dispensary locations (or drop us a line anytime). We’re always here to help. Of course, you can always peruse our menus online from the comfort of home, too. We hope to see you soon!

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