How Does Cannabis Get Its Color?

By Rolling Up


Have you ever wondered what causes each variety to have its unique color? One of the most distinctive parts of cannabis is its color. Genetic plays a role in how colors are expressed. Anthocyanins are a group of about 400 water soluble pigment molecules classified as flavonoids. They appear red, blue, or purple according to their pH. These flavonoids also appear in blueberries, eggplants, red cabbage, concord grapes, and other richly colored foods. The strain that we can use as an example in this case is Granddaddy Purple. It always seems to carry swirls of purple and pastel lavenders. Purple does not mean that it’s more potent than its green counterparts. 


Strains are subjected to showing their hues if they’re grown in the right conditions. Plants with low anthocyanins often produce their colors in the final weeks of flowering, due to another family of molecules called carotenoids. 


You might also be wondering how cannabis can go from green to purple. As the cannabis plant matures it produces the less dominant chlorophyll produces at a lesser rate and anthocyanins start to take over. The reason why cannabis produces flavonoids and anthocyanins is for protection. The environment that the cannabis grows in affects the final result of the plant. In conditions where pH levels are higher, anthocyanin compounds are not released. The pH level also indicates what colors will be expressed when the flower is harvested. Acidic environments induce red and pink coloration. Purple coloration occurs in neutral pH environments. Blue is present in higher pH levels. Yellow hues are developed in alkaline conditions. 


For patients looking for a strong cannabis strain, color is not an indication on potency. The abundance in a plant’s trichomes is a better measurement. Patients should also be cautious about assuming that a color indicates quality as well since controlled conditions can be deliberately used to change the temperature of the room or nutrient levels to change the pH in the water. If you are paying extra for a colorful strain, you are doing it for aesthetic properties of the plant. 

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