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Why Some Cannabis Strains Turn Purple


Have you ever wondered why some cannabis strains are different colors than others? It has a lot to do with the biology and genetics of the plant, but it is also quite dependent on the climate of the grow. In terms of purple cannabis, it all boils down to one main compound – anthocyanin. We’ll cover what anthocyanin is and why it helps cannabis turn purple.

Plant Biology

I bet you never thought you’d go to a cannabis site to learn about plant biology, right? Well, it’s the answer to why some cannabis plants turn purple and produce purple buds. It’s that little thing called anthocyanin that I mentioned in the beginning. Anthocyanin is a compound that only forms in the last several weeks of the flowering stages of cannabis growth. To achieve high anthocyanin levels, your chlorophyll levels must also decrease to allow the color of the buds and leaves to turn color.

In situations where anthocyanin is strongly present, you may notice that there is more blue or red showing in your plant. This is okay too, not all plants will take on a full purple pigment.

Grow Climate

The climate of your grown needs to change along with the growing stages of your plant. Toward the end, you’ll get higher concentrations of anthocyanin if the daylight exposure of your plants is decreased. Cooler grow climates, with cool lighting rather than intense heat lighting, helps increase the production of anthocyanin.

Your cannabis plant needs a warmer grow climate when it is developing, but a few weeks before harvest is when you’ll be able to increase the intensity of the hue of your plants. Blue lighting is cooler in temperature, and helps your plants relax some. This helps the production of anthocyanin to create those purple leaves and buds.

Increased Antioxidants

Purple buds aren’t just for show. Anthocyanin does have medical benefits. Anthocyanin is a known antioxidant that helps your immune system and overall body health. Cannabis is not the only plant that contains this compound, as there are 400 water-soluble anthocyanin in the group. Blood oranges and other citrus plants are commonly known to include the antioxidant too.

Genetics of Parent Plants

When growing hybrid strains, parent plants with high levels of anthocyanin or known to produce high levels of the compound can help a hybrid strain turn purple on its own. It may not be a bright purple, but even a muted version is attractive. It is still important to reduce the temperature and lighting of the grow during the last few weeks of growing as it will help the purple hue be more intense.

Final Thoughts

Many cannabis enthusiasts seek out purple strains because they think they’re stronger or something really special. The fact of the matter is that some strains produce the purple hue on their own, in many others it has to be created. It does not add to the potency of the strain, it mainly adds health benefits and more visual appeal. Sure, the color is attractive but it doesn’t intensify the effect, change the flavor or increase the duration of your high.

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