According to the European Food Safety Authority, there is no substantive evidence anthocyanins have any effect on human biology or diseases – though they contain a higher concentration of anti-oxidants, which would theoretically only be beneficial if one were eating buds. There is some minor proven correlation to anthocyanins as an anti-inflammatory, but again, would probably be more active if ingested. Seeking a strain with higher CBD content would be a better source for anti-inflammatory effects than purple hue.
In speaking with growers, budtenders, flower reviewers and other cannabis journalists, the consensus among the industry is to treat each harvest as unique–smoke what appeals to you. If the effects of purple strain are appealing, go for it.
Without a predisposition to purpling, a given strain cannot be induced to turn purple. Certain strains will have more naturally occurring anthocyanins than others, and when switching to the “winter” cycle of flowering, will start to express those purple pigments innately according to their genetic predisposition interacting with the unique chemical and environmental factors in which the plant is grown.
I n these modern times of cannabis consumption bad information still runs rampant, and few things in the world of weed have as large a mythic standing as purple bud. This seemingly simple topic can actually be a bit convoluted, starting with, what is purple bud? The short answer is cannabis flowers that exhibit a darker, purple-tinged hue. However, it is not always the shade most people think of as “purple.”
This can be a bit linguistically confusing; a blue-named class of molecules that presents as red or purple is a subset of a class of yellow-named molecules. It begins to make sense when we consider that a complex interaction of anthocyanins and other flavonoids is what causes leaves to change their color among such a brilliant spectrum in the fall.
Consider that what we call a blueberry is also usually quite purple. This is because the very thing that makes blueberries “blue” is the same as what makes purple nugs “purple,” anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are water-soluble pigments present in many plants. Despite the “cyan” in “Anthocyanins” referring to their blue nature, these molecules occur in a range of colors from red to purple to dark blue, or black, depending on pH level.
Furthermore, no one is wrong to feel that the visual appeal of a flower can enhance the smoking experience. However, ultimately, the mere presence of the pigment is unrelated to the resulting effects. If the flower is good, by all means smoke it, in any spectrum of the rainbow.
When cannabis presents as purple, we are seeing a similar phenomenon as fall leaves, allowing purple bud to have a wide spectrum as well. Like other plants for cannabis, colors, and changes in color, have purpose. The stressed plant is changing pigment in order to achieve a goal before wilting in the cold, such as conserving energy or increasing chances for pollination.
Visual appeal aside, is there reason to believe that these royal-toned flowers are better than the green hues more common to the plant? The science leans towards no.
Everyone cannabis enthusiast has a place in their heart for purple weed. Learn about why cannabis turns purple and some of the truths and myths behind it.
Certain strains of cannabis contain anthocyanins but are unaltered in appearance unless subjected to prolonged periods of cold temperatures. The mechanism behind this phenomenon is not fully understood, but there is a clear link between cold and enhanced anthocyanin production, as blood oranges also require a cold period to fully acquire their red colouration.
As the days shorten and hours of darkness increase, photoperiod-dependent plants are given the signal to cease producing chlorophyll (which is essential for photosynthesis and vegetative growth), so that energy can be focused solely on producing flowers and ultimately fruits. As chlorophyll breaks down and dissipates from the structures of the plant, and anthocyanins begin to accumulate, the plant takes on vivid purple, blue and red hues.
Due to the ability of retrotransposons to become inserted into essential genes and thereby cause mutations and potential non-viability, plants have evolved complex mechanisms to ensure that retrotransposons and similar genetic elements remain inactive. However, these mechanisms may be disrupted in times of stress, such as when exposed to periods of cold.
The above-mentioned study showed that in blood oranges, activation of the retrotransposon triggers expression of the otherwise inactive Ruby gene, and anthocyanin production kicks in. While studies into cold-dependent anthocyanin production in cannabis have not been conducted, it is likely that a similar mechanism is in play.
There are many strains of cannabis that are purple. Our own Purple Bud Feminized is one example. This strain is bred from some of the most renowned gene pools, with her ancestors being directly tied to the famous Hindu Kush region’s Indica cultivars, the Netherlands, and California’s medicinal marijuana movement.
Depending on the genotype of the cannabis plant, these anthocyanins may be expressed in the latter part of the flowering period, irrespective of environmental conditions. They may also express in cold conditions. But if the plant does not produce enough anthocyanins, it might not affect the appearance of the plant at all.
Anthocyanins are a group of around 400 water-soluble pigment molecules that, due to their structure and biosynthesis, are classed as flavonoids. They appear red, purple or blue according to their pH (in acidic pH levels they appear more red, in neutral conditions purple, and in alkaline more blue).
While there are strains that are specifically bred to be purple, it is important to keep in mind that the purpling of the plant is a direct result of not only choosing the right strain but also in how the plant is cared for. It is a matter of nature and nurture. Strains have “tendencies” (they tend to be high in anthocyanins), but growing conditions can help to bring out the brightest colours.
Cannabis is what we consider to be a high plant (as in tall, no word-play here). High plants all possess a vascular system consisting of a xylem and phloem, structures that distribute nutrients and water throughout the plant. These high plants contain anthocyanins in all parts of the plant: leaves, flowers, fruits, stems, and even roots.
Many strains of cannabis purple to some extent when exposed to cold. Now, selective breeding programs have yielded cannabis genetics that are purple.