What marijuana looks like under the microscope

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Rochester Institute of Technology professor and science photographer Ted Kinsman captures an unseen side of Cannabis in his new book, “Cannabis: Marijuana Under The Microscope”. These microscopic images capture a close up view of Marijuana. We spoke with Ted to find out more about his scanning electron microscope photos. Following is a transcript of the video.

This isn’t some alien planet

It’s cannabis!

These images were taken with a scanning electron microscope.

It’s not your ordinary microscope.

It fires electrons at a sample.

Which creates a high-resolution image by scanning the surface topography.

As well as data about the surface composition.

“Cannabis: Marijuana Under the Microscope” is a book by Ted Kinsman.

He’s a photographic sciences professor at Rochester Institute of Technology.

These fascinating photos reveal a world beneath the surface.

Ted Kinsman: “I like to think what a person would see if they were just a few microns tall.”

But Ted doesn’t just photograph Cannabis.

Ted Kinsman: “I look for things that haven’t been done recently, or haven’t been done well, or even done at all”.

This is a real bedbug, in excruciating detail.

And this close up reveals the many eyes of a spider.

Ted has even photographed human brain cells.

Each image starts out as black and white.

And has to be colorized by hand.

Ted Kinsman: “I pick visually exciting colors.”

“I’m trying to make science visually exciting and appealing to the general population”.

Ted paints the THC-containing cannabis sacs a bright color in order to stand out.

This image of pond water shows bacteria, algae, and unidentified protozoa.

And this is what a pumpkin leaf looks like on a microscopic level.

Samples can take several hours to prepare.

Each one has to be completely dried so that water vapor won’t obstruct the image.

Then placed in a vacuum chamber to be photographed.

But, there is no camera involved.

Instead, samples are conductively coated in gold and bombarded with electrons.

Then a computer records how many electrons are scattered from each point on the sample.

Scanning a sample takes about four minutes.

The data is collected to a file and an image is generated.

Ted continues to photograph worlds that are rarely seen.

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