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Cannabis 101: What Makes Purple Cannabis Purple

Cannabis 101: What Makes Purple Cannabis Purple

Purple cannabis is highly appreciated throughout cannabis circles. It’s purported to have a better flavor, better effects…but is any of that true?

Purple Cannabis

Hues of purple and blue appear in many foods, blueberries, blackberries and plums to name a few. They also appear in cannabis. Famous purple strains include Grape Ape, Purple Urkle and Granddaddy Purple.

There are three classes of compounds in cannabis: terpenoids, flavonoids and cannabinoids. Compounds called anthocyanins are responsible for these beautifully rich plums and purples. They’re part of a classification called flavonoids.

While claims of superior effects and/or taste may be true in some instances, it doesn’t have anything to do with the color. Anthocyanins are bitter if they have any flavor at all and there aren’t well-documented benefits, health or otherwise, to be had from consuming them. Still, they are lovely to behold.

Did you know? Anthocyanin is derived from the greek words anthos or “flower” and kyanos meaning “blue.”

Before advanced genetics took over the cannabis industry, purple cannabis was generally produced outdoors under less than desirable conditions. Anthocyanins serve several purposes in plants. They act as a “sunscreen” to protect leaves from intense light and cold weather. The bright colors are also thought to attract pollinators.

Now using certain light and temperature conditions, cultivators can develop strains with intense purple hues. But be forewarned, even if you purchase seeds of a notoriously purple strain, there’s no guarantee your buds will be purple!

The purpling comes near the end of the growth cycle when chlorophyll is at its lowest. LED lights may encourage the development of anthocyanins while subduing chlorophyll growth, giving you a better chance of purple cannabis. Ultimately, it’s a careful balance between providing a controlled amount of stress. Too much and you’ll ruin your harvest; too little, no purple.