A short glance at cannabis flowers online or at a dispensary will show you that hemp comes in multiple colors besides green. Weed comes in a dizzying array of hues, covering the entire color spectrum.
Weed comes in a rainbow of colors; why is that? To sum it up, think Anthocyanins! The pigments known as anthocyanins fall under the category of flavonoids. Most plant tissue (including cannabis) contains these compounds (think: stalks, leaves, roots, flowers, fruits, and berries). Since anthocyanins are pH-dependent, leaf coloration ranges from red to blue to purple, depending on the acidity level.
Like other pigments, anthocyanins can be affected by heat or cold. One of the functions of chlorophyll, as you may recall from biology class, is to aid plants' ability to do photosynthesis (gain energy from light). This chlorophyll changes color in response to variations in light intensity. Colder temperatures (and lower sunshine) cause the leaves of deciduous trees to lose their green color and turn red, yellow, and orange in most states (excluding those subjected to high heat year-round). Likewise, marijuana plants will change colors when their environment changes.
Now that you have a basic understanding of anthocyanins, you may go on to explore the wide range of colors found in cannabis.
Primary Colors: Red, Orange, and Yellow
Carotenoids are natural plant pigments that give weeds their bright orange, yellow, and red colors. In addition to cannabis, this quality is also present in foods with red, orange, and yellow colors. When you bite into a carrot or slice open a tomato, remember to appreciate the anthocyanins and carotenoids that make them healthy!
Carotenoids can cause red hairs to appear in cannabis, although "red" cannabis bud or leaf is unusual. Growers combine traits from the Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis strains to generate red marijuana. It has a nice smell and is said to be relaxing and energizing.
When one thinks of a cannabis producer, a specific shade of green often comes to mind. Cannabis plants, however, come in shades of green that range from almost yellow to deep forest green (almost brown).
Blue and Purple
Did you know that the Dutch Passion Blueberry strain is the ancestor of every blue cannabis variety grown today? This 1970s Amsterdam original may be the progenitor of several famous strains, including Blue Cheese and Blue Haze. Most blue-hued cannabis varieties lean more toward the Indica side of the spectrum and are calming.
The more anthocyanins a plant contains, the “bluer” it appears. That is why there are so many anthocyanins in blue cannabis blooms. Growers choose blue cannabis seeds, then cultivate their cannabis outdoors throughout the autumn months, when the plant undergoes a pronounced phenotypic change, turning a chilly shade of blue.
The purple kind of cannabis connects to the blue variety. You may rest assured that there are plenty of anthocyanins in either blue or purple blooms. Contrary to popular belief, purple cannabis possesses antioxidant qualities (also found in many other purple fruits and vegetables)! For example, Purple Haze and Granddaddy Purple are two of the most popular kinds of purple cannabis
Some rare cannabis strains are called "black" due to their deep blue color. Many of these varieties are grown in "landrace" settings in Vietnam. The Vietnamese Black variety is the most popular in this color family.
Indigo or "black" strains look so dark because they include a wide range of hues in their leaves.
There is a common misconception that cannabis plants with a frosty coating are weaker than those without it. That, however, is a false supposition. Trichomes (protective "hairs" that develop on plants) are responsible for the "white" coat you observe on many cannabis plants. Don't write off the white plants just yet; trichomes contain many active compounds (terpenes and cannabinoids) that make cannabis so potent. White Rhino and White Widow are two strains commonly associated with this class.
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