Why do some strains turn purple?

Believe it or not, some marijuana strains can turn purple! But, how cannabis gets its color depends mostly on genetics and the environment. However, what causes that exact color?

Read on to find out.

Typically, plants are green. So, to change their color, there must be changes in their genetic code, aka their genetic building blocks. One example of a genetic building block is anthocyanins. They are flavonoids (the chemical responsible for the color in plants) that are a part of a family responsible for causing red, blue, and purple pigments in flowers, red cabbage, blueberries, and all the other plants with these colors. 

In cannabis, the plant’s color depends on the level of anthocyanins in that particular strain. That’s why a strain like Grandaddy Purple (hence also the name) is consisted of lavishing swirls of deep lavenders and pastel purples. 

It can be argued that many marijuana breeders attempt to “produce” these kinds of colors because it makes us sway over the pretty colors. 


How can you tell that a marijuana strain tends to turn blue, red or purple?

Many strains have the genetic predisposition to contain high anthocyanin levels. One indicator of the color is the name of the strain. Just have a look at Granddaddy Purple, Purple Kush, Purple Urkle, etc. 

Although one must be careful – not all strains will have purple hues, under the right conditions, these strains may have a more vivid color than others. 

On the contrary, plants with low anthocyanin have higher chances of higher carotenoids, which are the chemicals in plants that create yellowish tones and earthy, golden tones. 


How does marijuana actually turn purple?

If you were paying attention in biology class, you know that chlorophyll is the secret ingredient to the green color of plants. This compound is of great importance during photosynthesis, where plants transform sunlight into energy. 

However, as marijuana matures, it produces less chlorophyll, and if the plant has high anthocyanins, the strain will be covered in purple, red and blue tones. And if the plant is low in anthocyanins and high in carotenoids, it will have an earthy, golden-like color. 


Factors that affect the plant’s color

  1. Temperature: in order to have a cannabis plant dipped in purple, blue and red hues, there has to be a presence of a cooler climate since the production of chlorophyll is paused during autumn.
  2. The pH level: The higher the pH level, aka the more acidic an environment of the plant is, the more chances there are for the marijuana plant to be red or pinkish.

Similarly, in neutral pH environments, there is a higher chance for the plant to turn purple, and if there’s a higher pH level, then the plant will showcase blue hues.

Finally, the plant will be yellow if the environment is more alkaline.


Does the purple color affect potency?

The short answer is not quite. The explanation is that although the purple-colored marijuana strains can have stronger hues, that doesn’t mean their potency is higher. On the contrary, having the marijuana plant exposed to harsher temperatures means less THC, although this isn’t scientifically proven.

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