Purple, Red & Green Weed: A Guide To Your Bud Colors Using Ph To Control Your Fade
I opted to put this in the advanced section as Ph in general for some growers starting out can be a point of hardship in as much as not really understanding the importance of Ph just to grow acceptable cannabis.
I am sharing the article with you all is this takes Ph control and range to another level. As a disclaimer not all strains contain a adequate level of Anthocyanin’s to bring about the colors you think you going to get. Just because you have some purple erkle doesn’t necessarily mean you will end up with all purple plants out of a breeders pack even with using Ph manipulation.
This technique is for those chosen known phenos that exhibit coloration even without changing the Ph of your soil or medium. Try it when you have some cuts laying around and experiment a bit with some of your strains that you know have anthocyanin in their genes. Enjoy Farmers. 🙂
Cannabis strains, long before cannabinoid testing, could only be measured with the senses. How did it smell & taste? Bag appeal came from the bud trim and aromas, sure. But what really blows us away every time is color. 93% of shoppers make purchasing decisions based on color and visual appeal. And nothing says “WOW” like some green that isn’t green. So where do those amazing bud colors come from?
The science of color
Some strains of cannabis change color as they flower. What’s the secret? Genetics. Anthocyanins are a group of around 400 water-soluble pigment molecules classified as flavonoids. They appear red, blue, or purple according to their pH.
Interestingly, flavonoids are generally yellow, hence the latin root “flavus“, meaning yellow. They also have nothing to do with flavor , being extremely bitter.
The fall effect
Think of the tree leaves in fall. As temperatures drop, they change from green to red, orange, yellow, or gold. Cannabis doesn’t produce the colors until the latter half of the flowering stage, with a few exceptions. Once the green fades, they can come forth and shine.
Temperature plays a vital role, as cooler temperatures inhibit chlorophyll production. Chlorophyll, you might remember from 6th-grade science, is the plant component vital to photosynthesis.
For cannabis, depending on the lineage of the strain, certain other colors will appear when you drop the temp and the light cycle shortens, mimicking the change in season.
The ideal range to grow cannabis is a pH of 5.5-6.5. But during flowering, you can lean one way or another to enhance or minimize certain anthocyanins, bringing out certain colors.
Purple and blue strains
The many strains of cannabis come with different cannabinoid ratios, flavor profiles, and anthocyanins. The most prominent variation to green cannabis is purple. Strains like Purple Urkle, Grandaddy Purple, and many others easily produce that pigment.
Certain strains have so much that you don’t even need to drop temperatures to see the change, as the plant naturally starts to lose chlorophyll at the end of its life. Purple Orangutan has some of the strongest blue and purple hues in the world.
Purple hues come to the fore in more neutral pH environments. Blues also enjoy higher pH levels than most cannabis strains.
Red and pink strains
Red hairs show up more frequently today, but actually red buds and leaves are not nearly as common. For truly ruby herb, some strains that carry dominant red tones such as Pink Flower Shaman, pictured above, you will have to do some searching.
Predator Pink expresses some phenotypes with actual pink and fuchsia hues. Don’t go buying every strain with red or pink in the name, however. Most of the time, this refers either to the hairs or flavor accents, like pink lemonade or grapefruit.
You can also cheat a little changing plant leaves and buds a bit red by manipulating nutrients. Phosphorus deficiencies can cause this, but it won’t be as pretty as the real thing.
Yellow and orange strains
Carotenoids give cannabis those citrusy hues of yellow, gold, and orange. To get these colors, you want more alkaline conditions. If these colors are predominant in the plant, they will naturally come out as the flowering phase comes to an end and chlorophyll starts to fade.
Orange will mostly affect the hairs and buds, such as Olive Oyl, Kandy Skunk, and some phenos of Alien OG. Yellow strains include Wicked OG, Grapefruit, and Lemon Kush, of course.
Black cannabis Vietnamese black or Blackberry Kush anyone. lol
There are some rare strains that turn so dark that they appear black. The origin of these genetics goes back to Vietnamese landraces, I.E. Vietnamese Black. All other strains derived from hybrids, such as Black Willy and Black Tuna, share both the signature ebony buds and leaves.
In addition, black strains are noted for their intense psychedelic, cerebral highs. If you want visuals, this lineage is a surefire hit. The inky appearance comes from an overabundance of all colors in the leaves. With warmer temperatures, the dark reds and purples get replaced with lighter reds and golds in some cases.
Other ways to increase bud colors
Anthocyanins can be present in the vacuoles of the cells in plant tissues, leaves, and flowers. Sometimes, they even present in the trichomes themselves. They also act to attract pollinating creatures like butterflies and bees, while deterring pests that might snack on them or lay their eggs by tricking them to think the plant is unhealthy.
Besides pH and temperature, using LED lights with specific spectrums can enhance the production of anthocyanins in the tissues of cannabis. They serve as “sunscreen” for plants, so stressing them with more UV light can make the plant produce more, enhancing the color.
Color vs potency
A common misconception is that strains with bold color are more potent. The truth is that color has nothing to do with potency, just bag appeal. However, anthocyanins are known to act as powerful antioxidants and are also thought to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties.
Research suggests that some anthocyanins have a selective affinity for either CB1 or CB2 receptors, depending on the type.
So while the presence of anthocyanins doesn’t change the potency of cannabinoids like THC, it might give the strain an added entourage effect on health.
I opted to put this in the advanced section as Ph in general for some growers starting out can be a point of hardship in as much as not really understanding…
Green, Orange, Red, and Purple Marijuana: A Guide to Pigmentation and Potency
According to a majority of cannabis consumers, the color and look of a plant is one of the biggest factors when deciding which strain to buy. And many are drawn to colorful marijuana over more traditional green and orange strains.
What does the color of cannabis say about its effects (if anything)? And is colorful marijuana the next step in the evolution of our favorite plant? Or is purple pot just a trend?
How Pot Gets Its Pigmentation
Cannabis coloration can be tied to two primary factors:
2. growing environment
Monitoring Marijuana Plant Genetics
A plant’s genetics affect the prevalence of pigments like anthocyanins and carotenoids. This is true for a wide variety of plants—not just marijuana.And while most plants appear green because of an abundance of chlorophyll, that isn’t always the case. Cannabis, like leaves in the Fall, reaches a point where the production of chlorophyll halts, allowing other pigments to show through.
So how do these difficult to pronounce pigments work?
Anthocyanins are a large group of pigments—approximately 400 in cannabis—known as flavonoids. Despite the tasty-sounding name, flavonoids have nothing to do with a strain’s flavor. These flavonoids are instead responsible for many of the blue and purple hues you find in popular strains like Granddaddy Purple and Purple Kush.
Anthocyanins are produced for more than aesthetics, though. They also help protect plants against ultraviolet radiation, pathogens, and more.
Carotenoids are the set of pigments that promote gold, yellow, red, and orange coloration. In addition to their beautiful sunset-citrus hues, carotenoids are associated with a variety of health benefits, from eye health to male fertility. They’re the same pigments found in high concentrations in carrots.
If only science had been more advanced when we were younger, our parents might have been encouraging us to smoke Lemon Kush for our daily dose of carotenoids instead of eating carrots.
While anthocyanins or carotenoids contribute to a plant’s coloration, their presence alone isn’t enough to guarantee a colorful crop, though. To truly bring out the desired reds, oranges, yellows, pinks, blues, and purples, growers have to use the environment.
Controlling the Marijuana Growing Environment
Plants naturally stop producing chlorophyll when the days get shorter and the temperature drops. So it stands to reason that growers could duplicate and control that effect in an indoor grow.
By controlling temperature and pH levels, many growers are able to foster deeper coloration in cannabis flowers.
- Decreasing the temperature and keeping the pH levels neutral or slightly higher can encourage purple and blue pigmentation in strains with the right chemical predisposition.
- For orange, yellow, and gold coloration, plants are typically grown in alkaline conditions with higher pH levels.
Similarly, using LED lights on a certain spectrum can “stress” the plant, causing it to produce more anthocyanins as a sort of sunscreen. Some growers will even alter the nutrients a plant receives as a way to promote coloration. For example, less phosphorous can cause a red tint in the leaves and buds of some plants.
So while some cannabis strains are naturally predisposed to look like Skittles ads, others require careful cultivation to bring about the deep purples, ruby reds, and golden yellows consumers crave.
The final question we need to answer is maybe the most important: does the color of weed affect its potency?
Is Colorful Marijuana More Potent?
Many cannabis consumers believe purple bud is a higher quality than green. And a deep, richly colorful weed really is a thing of beauty. But will you get a different, longer lasting, or more potent high if you smoke purple or orange weed instead of green?
The short answer is no.
But also maybe yes.
The levels of cannabinoids in a marijuana plant are relatively steady regardless of color. Purple plants aren’t any stronger than green ganja, blue bud, or the rarer pink pot. It can be fun to pull out a bag of bud so colorful it looks like a character from the Muppets, but you won’t get a higher THC concentration. Pigmentation just doesn’t play a role in cannabinoid potency.
There is some evidence that deeper red and purple pot—so deep it appears black—offers a more cerebral high than the average strain. On the other hand, the colder conditions that encourage purple pigmentation to shine through in many strains might actually limit the production of THC, capping a plant’s potency.
So you probably won’t get higher smoking purple marijuana. Good to know.
But does color affect marijuana’s non-psychoactive effects?
As it turns out, the color of cannabis may correlate to how the plant interacts with the body. Anthocyanins (which cause blue and purple hues) are also found in many berries and are known for their role as antioxidants. Studies have suggested they may provide other health benefits, as well, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.
It isn’t that these benefits can’t be found in traditional green bud, but visible coloration can serve as a sign that a plant has more anthocyanins and carotenoids, suggesting it will provide greater antioxidant and pain-killing benefits.
So the next time you buy bud in Colorado, remember that the color of your cannabis means about as much as a paint job on your car. A pop of color looks nice, but it isn’t likely to change the way you handle the product or how you feel when you’re done.
And if you want strong, clean grown marijuana (whether purple, green, or other), stop by Karing Kind in North Boulder.
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Green, orange, red, and purple cannabis: what does colorful marijuana say about its effects (if anything)? (Karing Kind | Boulder, CO)