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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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Karing Kind is Boulder’s First Recreational Marijuana Dispensary

We strive to offer a top-tier experience every time you enter our store. Our extensive menu of clean-grown bud, award-winning budtenders, incredible deals, and the lowest marijuana tax rate in the state make us the perfect Colorado cannabis destination.

While we carry a variety of strains, concentrates, edibles, salves and tinctures, inventory and stock levels fluctuate from week to week. Check our menu and follow us on Twitter for an up-to-date list of edibles, concentrates and buds available now.

Green, orange, red, and purple cannabis: what does colorful marijuana say about its effects (if anything)? (Karing Kind | Boulder, CO)

9 Colorful Weed Strains To Brighten Your Day

The diversity of weed strains available today can make any pot connoisseur giddy. These flowers vary in flavors and potency, but the visual impact of colorful weed strains never fails to impress. Though often always shades of green, some flowers take on hues of red, others golden or amber. And still yet others can take on deeper and darker tones like purple or even black. Often many falsely believe that more potent strains generally tend to be colored weed strains. But it is actually anthocyanins, or water-soluble pigments, connected to the pH level in the soil that turn flowers colors. These same pigments make fruits like blueberries and raspberries their specific shades. So if you’re interested in tasting the rainbow of reefer, start here with this list of the nine most colorful weed strains.

Northern Lights

Resulting from combining Afghani and Thai strains, this strain boasts of crystal-colored leaves that seem to twinkle. The shimmery speckles line the flower and make this relaxing indica look like the cosmos. And rightfully, this strain resembling the starry sky leaves the one enjoying it pacified and ready for sleep. It offers a spicy, sweet flavor. And furthermore, it has been a crowd favorite at previous High Times Cannabis Cups. Of the colorful weed strains on this list, it may not be the brightest and boldest, but its glittery effect makes it sparkle just a little differently than the rest.

Black Russian

This sensual-looking marijuana plant is stringy with red and deep purple and lilac hairs lining it. Dark, but full of uplifting scents like tropical mango and lemon, this sultry indica makes you feel relaxed and sleepy. As such, it makes for a great sedative before bed or for relieving any pains and aches the body has presented. Yet, while it soothes the body and the mind to lull it into a restful state, this strain also produces a sense of euphoria. Made from mixing Black Domina and White Russian strains, its looks and its effects allure its fans, and they keep returning for more.

Panama-Sedena Red

Often, fans of flowers point out the bright hairs that dot a nug. Like the fire you set to this bud, its hairs are a vivid and bright red. And the bud is so peppered with these striking hairs, the bud looks almost entirely red, like a juicy strawberry. Unfortunately, this delicious sativa has a lengthy flowering period so it gives disappointingly low yields. Its rarity makes it so this energizing and happy strain is more and more a nostalgic high for those that think of this as one of the best colored weed strains.

Blueberry Cheesecake

Sometimes your sweet tooth translates to what you want to smoke. This flavorful bud not only offers those with the munchies a tasty hit of strong blueberry and cheese flavors, it also looks pretty. Not flashy like the other colorful weed strains on this list, Blueberry Cheesecake has softer hues of blue-violet and orange hairs intermingled with the lime green of the flower. Great for a daytime high, its high levels of THC help you stay focused on tasks at hand while still keeping the body relaxed. Even the most resistant to sweets will want something to satisfy the craving after enjoying this strain.

Pinkman Goo

Looking at colored weed strains, too often one feels drawn to the unique hair colors. But isn’t just about the hairs. This uplifting indica also has medicinal resin droplets (or goo) that look like sap tapped from a maple tree. This resin is 4% higher in THC than other, less gooey buds out there. Not be outdone by the most colorful weed strains, it isn’t just pretty because of its dewiness. It also has gorgeous purple-rimmed leaves and dense purple-tinted buds which mesmerize the eyes. Its earthy aroma only cinches its delectable and sensational appeal, making Pinkman Goo a bud to stick with.

Black Beauty

Seeking something darker? Sometimes the most colorful weed strains come in a shade of violet so dark, it looks almost black, like a concord grape. But despite its lack of brightness, this rare strain is a true treat. It has a pineapple and petrol aroma and a sweet taste. And because of its high THCV content, it gives its users help with PTSD, stimulating appetite, insulin production, and even regeneration of cells after an injury. But good luck locating this illusive beaut — she’s tough to find but worth a trip into the darkness.

Rainbow Kush

A list on colored weed strains would be incomplete without mentioning this brightly colored strain. Even its name declares its brightness and boldness, giving a full range of color to the bud. With notes of tropical, citrus, and berry flavors, this indica hybrid provides a creative, euphoric high. Made from crossing Dancehall and Blueberry strains, its flowers give a full spectrum of color that even those not enthusiastic about weed will stare at in awe. And though it can offer pain relief, it doesn’t overpower the body or give a heavy sensation. Nonetheless, this vivid strain uplifts whoever consumes it, not only for its vibrancy but for its feel- good vibes too.

Purple Urkle

This skunky indica tastes distinctly of grape and berry, and its colors back up those flavors. Like many of the most colorful weed strains, this flower has colors combining to form a beautiful product. Its orange and violet hairs combine with the deep emerald green most often associated with weed. Great for full body relaxation, this floral strain works well for insomnia. Furthermore, it can aid in relieving arthritic pain or any sort of mental distress. Finding your happy place in this high is easy— it’s potent and a definite beauty on which to feast your eyes.

Acapulco Gold

Thousands would rush westward if they knew this golden colored strain could be easily mined. This old school golden oldie has maintained over 20% potency without the help of modern science controlling it. Not only that, but this strain making the list of most colorful weed strains claims fame as a purebred sativa. This is an amazing feat considering hybrid-dominated genetics. To top off this 24K strain’s positive attributes, it promises a heady albeit productive high that still helps with body pains. Better than a gold ring, winning Acapulco Gold in a rose blunt would serve well as a thoughtful, colorful, and romantic gift for any weed lover.

The List of Most Colorful Weed Strains Keeps on Going

Luckily, this list of colored weed strains isn’t static. In fact, it continues to grow as more and more growers set to the task of harvesting plants that delight people in presentation and potency. A delightful science, the cultivation of the plant shows itself to be more and more of an art. And these unique colors of these plants— whether green orange, gold, red, purple, blue or black— are one of the mediums for their masterpieces.

In the world of weed, a wide array of colors abound.