How Does Marijuana Get Its Unique Colors

Before it was possible to test cannabinoids, the strains of cannabis could be measured solely with our sense of taste and smell. Yet, while the aroma and flavor do have a key role to play in making different strains appealing, one of the things that truly sets the different varieties of marijuana apart is the wide variation of colors available.

While cannabis is often referred to as “the green stuff” in fact it isn’t always green, and can come in a range of eye-popping colors that never fail to amaze. So why are different buds different colors?

Some cannabis strains change color during flowering due to their genetics. Anthocyanins are pigment molecules which are soluble in water and are called flavonoids. Depending on the pH balance, they can appear to be purple, blue or red, but are most frequently yellow.

One way to think of it is to imagine the leaves of a tree during fall. When the temperatures lower, the leaves go from green to orange, yellow, red or gold. Cannabis is very similar, producing different colors towards the end of its flowering stage with temperature playing a key role since cool temperatures stop the production of chlorophyll. When the temperature drops and the light cycle becomes shorter, new colors will therefore appear. While the best pH range for growing weed is between 5.5 and 6.5, it’s possible to lean slightly in either direction to minimize or enhance particular anthocyanins and thus to bring out specific colors.

Purple And Blue Strains

Apart from green marijuana, purple is the next most prominent variation. Grandaddy Purple and Purple Urkle are just two of the best know varieties with this pigment, while Purple Orangutan has an especially strong purple and blue hue. Purple colors are more prominent if the pH is neutral, but blue colors generally have a higher pH level.

Red And Pink Strains

Although red hairs appear quite frequently these days, red leaves and buds are not so common and plants with dominant red tones are hard to find. Pink Flower Shaman is one of the few varieties that meet this criteria. While some strain names mention pink or red, usually it is referring to their flavors or hairs rather than buds or leaves. While manipulating nutrients to cause a phosphorus deficiency can bring out the red in the buds and leaves, it isn’t a true red and isn’t as pretty.

Orange And Yellow Strains

Citrus hues of orange, gold and yellow are produced by carotenoids which are prduced in alkaline conditions. Orange chiefly affects the buds and hairs and can be seen in strains like Kandy Skunk and Olive Oil while popular yellow strains include Lemon Kush and Wicked OG.

Black Strains

There are some more rare strains that are so dark they look black. These strains have their genetic origins in the Vietnamese landraces. The other strains which are derived from hybrids like Black Tuna and Black Willy share the same ebony leaves and buds, with the inky coloration coming from excess of all colors in their leaves. When it comes to black strains of cannabis side effects, the cerebral and psychedelic high is well known.

The Use Of LEDs

One of the ways to enhance cannabis anthocyanin production is to use LED lights that have particular spectrums. By stressing plants with extra UV light it can make the plant produce extra anthocyanins thus enhancing their color.

While strains that have bold colors are not necessarily any more potent than those which are paler, they may be more powerful as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic.

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