How does weed turn purple?

Purple Weed?

Most people think of weed as green but purple strains are becoming more common. Purple is the color of kings and you’ll sure feel like one after getting your first bag of purp. Granddaddy purple or GDP is the “granddaddy” of purple strains. GDP flowers are often deep shades of purple which contrast the abundance of white kief crystals. In the past, the only purple weed you could find was grown in cold outdoor conditions. Now, purple weed can be grown in normal environmental conditions.

How does weed turn purple?

Marijuana flowers have water-soluble pigment molecules that affect the color of weed. According to Sensi Seeds:

“Anthocyanins are a group of around 400 water-soluble pigment molecules that due to their structure and biosynthesis are classed as flavonoids, and 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). Flavonoids are generally yellow in appearance, hence their name, which is etymologically derived from the Latin for “yellow”, flavus, and does not indicate any association with flavour. In fact, flavonoids are usually extremely bitter, and are generally associated with pigmentation.”

How do Anthocyanins change the color of marijuana?

Growers may have noticed that many cannabis plants change colour towards the end of the flowering cycle. Even if that color isn’t purple. This is because Anthocyanins only begin to alter the appearance during the final stages of growth.

To make buds more purple, growers should increase the amount of time the plant spends in the dark towards the final stages. The deprivation of light will give the cannabis plant the signal to stop producing chlorophyll, which is an essential part of photosynthesis and vegetative growth. This allows the plant to focus its energies on producing flowers. The absence of chlorophyll makes the purple, blue, and red hues of anthocyanins more vivid. Colors like gold and orange also appear during the latter stages of flowering. If yellowing occurs during earlier stages it is a sign of disease of deficiency.

Is purple weed just for aesthetics?

Not exactly. Anthocyanins have been found to be powerful antioxidants with analgesic, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. These molecules can also bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors which means they might have other medicinal benefits.

Similar to cannabis plants, oranges with high levels of anthocyanins become blood oranges. Blood oranges depend on the cold for this color change to occur as well. In both cannabis and blood oranges, cold temperature leads to an increase in Anthocyanin levels. It is still not known why cannabis and other plants produce large amounts of anthocyanin when exposed to cold or stressful conditions. Further research on anthocyanin production would need to be conducted.

So if you’re smoking on purple weed, make sure the purple didn’t come from an improper grow. If it looks purple but smells tastes and feels like green weed you should be good. If you’ve got access to a dispensary and want to try purple weed ask for strains like Granddaddy purple, purple haze, or purple kush.

image credit: dwellgreen

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