Anything beyond breeding could detriment the plant. “Any energy the plant spends pushing out that purple pigment is going to be drawn from somewhere else and is going to hurt overall. It’s just not worth risking the quality for a chance a slightly better bag appeal.”
To better understand this connection, I spoke with veteran grower and concentrate connoisseur Matt Gosling about the popularity of purple cannabis. While purple bud can be fantastic, he explained, it’s usually due to good breeding and genetics, and not much else.
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.
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.
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.”
Purple cannabis can be a tricky concept. Just stop for a moment and contemplate the timeless line, “roses are red, violets are blue.” A modern sensibility would correct that the color of violets is none other than violet. Similarly, purple weed is not always “purple.” It can have a wide range of presentation, from dark green to even black.
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.
What are your thoughts on purple weed? Do you find it to be better than green cannabis?
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.
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.
Anthocyanins are a large group of pigments—approximately 400 in cannabis—known as flavonoids. These flavonoids are responsible for many of the blue and purple hues found in popular strains like Granddaddy Purple and Purple Kush.
Similarly, using LED lights on a certain spectrum can “stress” the plant, causing it to produce more anthocyanins as a sort of sunscreen. Some growers will even alter the nutrients a plant receives as a way to promote coloration (less phosphorous can cause a red tint in the leaves and buds of some plants, for example).
Anthocyanins are produced for more than aesthetics, helping protect plants against ultraviolet radiation, pathogens, and more. And, despite the tasty-sounding name, flavonoids have nothing to do with a strain’s flavor.
Many cannabis consumers believe purple bud is a higher quality than green. And a deep, richly colorful weed really is a thing of beauty. But will you get a different, longer lasting, or more potent high if you smoke purple or orange weed instead of green?
So some cannabis strains are naturally predisposed to look like Skittles ads. Others require careful cultivation to bring about the deep purples, ruby reds, and golden yellows consumers crave.
Plants naturally stop producing chlorophyll when the days get shorter and the temperature drops. So, it stands to reason that growers could duplicate and control the effect in an indoor grow.
Most plants appear green because of the abundance of chlorophyll. But cannabis, like leaves in the Fall, reaches a point where the production of chlorophyll halts, allowing other pigments to show through.
Carotenoids are the set of pigments that promote gold, yellow, red, and orange coloration. In addition to their beautiful sunset-citrus hues, carotenoids are associated with a variety of health benefits, from eye health to male fertility. My parents always told me to eat my carrots when I was growing up so I could see better (their orange color and health benefits stem from a high concentration of carotenoids). If only science had been more advanced all those years ago they may have been encouraging me to smoke Lemon Kush.
The short answer is no. But also maybe yes.
Green, orange, red, and purple marijuana: what does the color of cannabis say about its effects (if anything)? (Karing Kind | Boulder, CO)