Want to up your grow game? You can eliminate many of the most common frustrations of growing cannabis just by looking closely at the leaves, nodes, and trichomes. A trichome microscope, also called a cannabis magnifying glass, makes this inspection simple.
At every stage of the plant's development, a close examination of the plant can help you make crucial cultivation decisions.
While many growers can (and do) harvest without a cannabis magnifying glass, the process gets much less risky with a closer inspection. From trichome development to pest patrol, a cannabis loupe or magnifying lens has a lot of benefits for both the amateur grower and an extremely experienced one.
Stay tuned to discover the basics of magnification in the grow room, including:
- Types of Magnifying Devices
- The Best Loupe for Trichomes
- 5 Reasons Why You Need a Magnifying Glass in the Grow Room
- Plus! How to See Trichomes Without Magnifying Glass
Types of Magnifying Devices for Cannabis Cultivation
There are several types of devices, both handheld and table bound, useful for growing cannabis.
Handheld Magnifying Glass
This is the classic detective-style handheld device, which relies on a convex glass lens to zoom in on whatever it's held in front of. It's a bit simplistic for the needs of a grow room but will do in a pinch if nothing else is available. A typical magnifying glass comes in 2x to 4x magnification.
Arguably the most useful type of magnifying glass for cannabis cultivation, a jewellers loupe, is a small, handheld, and usually foldable device. It often has multiple lenses, with 30x or higher zoom.
It offers enough magnification to see the microscopic details of the trichomes, but still fits in your pocket and won't break the bank. This small lens is called a jewellers loupe as it is a tool of the trade for stone setters and other jewellers working with fine details. If they can set diamonds with it, you can expect to find it useful as a trichome microscope.
A digital microscope is a magnifying lens connected via a USB cord to a screen. The most straightforward version is a handheld device that connects to a phone, tablet, or computer.
The most expensive digital microscopes are scientific grade tabletop microscopes, with a live feed to a digital display. Even the most affordable option is fun to play around with to provide a unique perspective on your grow.
Laboratory Grade Microscope
The traditional microscope is the most familiar as most of us have experience with it during high school science class. These microscopes can be so bulky they are unwieldy and impossible to move from room to room.
The higher the price tag, the more advanced the features, not to mention, the more skills required to operate. Although commercial grow operations may need the capabilities provided by these advanced tabletop devices, as small scale or at-home farmers, these laboratory microscopes are overkill.
What is the Best Loupe for Trichomes?
Keeping a close eye on trichome development is the single most important step come harvest time. Capturing peak potency by monitoring trichome development is only possible with a trichome microscope or a jewellers loupe.
The close-up inspection of trichomes required during this stage is not available with the naked eye. You'll need a magnifying glass to see the color and cloudiness of the microscopic trichomes, which will then dictate your harvest decision.
A jewellers loupe is best suited to daily trichome inspection. The best LED Light Loupe is:
- A bright LED light
- Two lenses (30x and 60x)
As you can imagine, a standard magnifying glass just won't cut it, and a microscope is too expensive and bulky for the job.
Loupes make it easy to perfect trichome inspection without leaving the grow room with a sample. Why make it more complicated than it needs to be? Simply check trichome development while wandering through the grow room on your daily rounds.
5 Reasons Why You Need a Magnifying Glass in the Grow Room
It's not just about trichome development - taking a deep dive into the small details of your cannabis crop can help reduce pests, avoid disease, and more.
1. Sex Plants Easier, Earlier
Although an experienced farmer will take one look at a seedling and instantly know whether it's female, this step is more difficult for the beginner. The tiny growths in the nodes of your plants determine the sex, but for most of us, these developments are far too small to see.
A magnifying glass or loupe makes the sexing process easy for the beginner cannabis cultivator. Get up close and personal with the node of the seedling to determine whether that tiny growth is a pollen sac (male) or a stigma (female). A jewellers loupe dispels the guesswork and even makes the signs of a hermaphrodite plant easy to spot.
2. Manage Pests Before They Become a Problem
You see the signs of pests on the underside of fan leaves, but you can't quite see the details. Google turns up super-zoomed images of these pests, but it's hard to interpret these from the evidence in your grow room.
The naked eye might not be able to tell an aphid from a spider mite. Worse, the tiny deposits of eggs you've discovered lining the bottom of leaf are tricky to pin point.
Pest management gets infinitely easier with a cannabis magnifying glass. With a trichome microscope or at the very least a handheld magnifying glass, you can examine the problem up close and personal. Suddenly the spot on the underside of your leaves does look like a spider mite!
3. Catch Bud Rot Early
An experienced grower might be able to identify the early stages of bud rot instantly, but it's a disease with many stages of development. In wet and humid growing conditions, bud rot can explode from one plant into the entire crop in the blink of an eye. It's prudent to know the signs to catch it early.
The early stages of bud rot are easily confused for other diseases, nutrient issues, or even regular cannabis coloration changes. To the untrained eye, the first signs of bud rot aren't always easy to identify.
With daily bud inspections using a magnifying glass or loupe, even a beginner cannabis cultivator can clearly see the signs of bud rot.
4. Destroy Mold and Mildew Before it Destroys Your Crop
Speaking of bud rot, there are other types of mold, mildew, and disease, which can decimate your crop if not caught early on. As a cannabis cultivator, you have to contend with a host of environmental ailments such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria.
With a close daily inspection of your crop, using a trichome microscope or magnifying glass, it's simple to catch the early indications of disease. Furthermore, with the magnification provided through a lens or loupe, the signs are straightforward to diagnose.
Whether you find the first spots of white powdery mildew or scabs associated with leaf septoria, you'll know how to take action to address the infection.
5. Monitor Trichome Development for Perfect Harvests
A LED Loupe with Light is perhaps, the most useful as harvest time nears. Growers of all experience levels rely on the 30x magnification to monitor trichomes development as they transition from clear to cloudy. Peak potency is almost impossible to determine unless you have a cannabis magnifying glass or a trichome microscope at the ready.
Although some growers have developed a sense for harvesting, it takes years (if not decades) to perfect. Eliminate the guesswork by looking through a lens to monitor the slow and steady shifts of the trichome.
A simple 30x LED loupe is all you need to monitor this development.
How to See Trichomes Without Magnifying Glass
One of the most commonly asked questions on grower's forums is about whether a magnifying glass is really necessary to see trichomes. The short answer is, yes. The human eye cannot see trichomes without a lens.
But, you don't absolutely need a magnifying glass to get down to the level of the trichome. In a pinch, an iPhone or Pixel camera can suffice (some mobile phones may not have a camera with a high enough resolution).
- Set your phone's camera settings to marco.
- Snap a steady photo of the flower you wish to inspect.
- Transfer the image to a desktop computer with photo editor software (LightRoom, Photoshop, etc.).
- Zoom in to examine trichome coloration.
This technique is a useful workaround, but it's not perfect. Arguably, the cost of your phone, computer, and software far exceed even the most expensive cannabis magnifying glasses.
A LED Loupe to Achieve Peak Potency, Pest Control, and More
A trichome microscope is a small one-time investment, and well worth the affordable price to capture peak potency of your crop. Manage the health of each plant from seed to harvest by getting up close and personal through the lens of a cannabis magnifying glass.
Not only is it a fun gadget to fool around with, to analyze the microscopic details of the flower, but it also takes much of the guesswork out of cannabis cultivation. A LED Light Loupe is a critical component in any growers tool kit.