Final Bell

Unpacking the cannabis cola

Published Jul 19, 2022 09:00 a.m. ET
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Cola is a term that’s often used by cultivators and consumers with a more intimate knowledge of the cannabis plant anatomy, and though it’s quite a common thing to hear, a surprising number of users have no idea what it means.

Learn what a cola is, when you can spot one on a cannabis plant during the growing cycle, and more in this guide.

What is a cannabis cola?

Cannabis flower aka the big and small buds that are produced by female plants, no matter where they might be located, are cannabis colas. These sections are sometimes called tops or mids, and they’re all beautiful trichome-covered nugs full of aromatic, medicinal and psychedelic compounds. The frosty blossoms are easy to spot, and the epicenter for all of the wonderful oil, compounds, and terpenes consumers know and love so well. One plant may produce many large colas, or it might boast popcorn-sized flower.

Though some only consider the biggest, juiciest tops to be worthy of the cola title, they are all technically cannabis colas.

Getting to the cannabis cola growing stage

In the germination stage of life, which lasts anywhere from 1-7 days, growers are still eons away from seeing a single cannabis cola. This is when the seeds are either planted in soil, or germinated in a paper towel, and at this point, there isn’t a single leaf to be seen, yet. Really strong genetics may get through this phase at an even faster rate of 24-48 hours.

The seedling stage is where we start to see leaves appear, and it lasts for anywhere from 2-3 weeks depending on genetics. For now, they’re small, cute, and fast-growing, but they’re still a long way away from producing their very first cannabis cola.

During the vegetative stage in the growing cycle which can last from 2-8 weeks, cannabis plants are all stalks and leaves, and though you might spot the early hints of cannabis flower, those colas still have a long way to go before they’ll be the powerhouses consumers expect.

The flowering stage is when the colas will grow and mature the most, a process that can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks to complete. During this time, the health of the plant and genetics are crucial in determining how the buds will develop and at what rate, as well as the potency that will occur.

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Unpacking the cannabis cola

Cannabis colas are buds, and they are made up of so many different unique parts and compounds.

Pistils

The small orange or red hairs on cannabis colas are pistils, and they play an important role in breeding and collecting pollen when the plant has bloomed. They are also great indicators of a plant's maturity, generally shifting from a white or yellow colour at the beginning of the season to a darker orange or brown at the end.

Trichomes

Trichomes are the producers of all of the magical compound-filled resin, which holds the power of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. Experienced cultivators may also use trichomes to determine whether or not a crop is ready to harvest, with clear colours indicating immaturity, and amber, brown or milky patterns suggesting it’s almost time.

Calyxes

Calyxes, though not a direct part of colas, are located at the bottom of the stem, often forming a teardrop shape. These are much different than sugar leaves, and they can carry seeds or mounds of trichomes as the plant reaches full maturity.

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