Makes me wonder: all of those high thc varieties
The amount of THC or other cannabinoids (and terpenes, see below) in these glands also depends on how old the plant is when it is harvested.
- Are they any better at resisting insects/disease
Not necessarily, no. Though some choice genetics might be put to work on this problem.
-Is the high level of production a burden that they cannot manage outside of a certain amount of human cultivation
The females grow the flowers that grow the trichomes, for the most part, so yes, humans need to kill all the males. Plant misandry, oh no!
-Other than getting you arrested, possibly poisoned would slathering yourself in these substances help with insects?
No poisoning, nothing in the plant is actually toxic (hence why there have never been overdoses of cannabis). But I think you're on to something: extraction from these trichomes by, for instance, distilling the plant into an oil, may very well be an insect repellent. You jsut have to convince someone with an abundance of the plant to help you test that theory! But I don't see why not.
The terpenes produced by the plant are a big deal too, and not mentioned in the article. These are essential oils that give the plant its scent. For instance, some strains of cannabis produce many pinenes, making the plant smell piney. Those are also there to keep off insects.