Published: January 11th, 2016
Categories: Cannabis Cultivation
When it comes to cannabis, purple bud is a rare delight. Yet, purple cannabis is nothing new, and has been catching peoples’ imagination for a very long time. It is even thought that “Purple Haze”, the famous song by Jimi Hendrix, could be a reference to the Purple Haze strain, which, you guessed it, grows with purple bud (although others believe the song to be about LSD). Either way, there are a few reasons cannabis bud can turn purple, but what it all comes down to is anthocyanin.
Anthocyanin is a group of 400 water-soluble pigments that can be found within cannabis. Some strains have it in larger amounts than others – hence certain strains having the ability to turn purple while other do not. It is not just purple, though; anthocyanin can turn red or blue depending on pH – yet you do not often see this, as the pH that causes this colour is damaging to the plant.
The change in colour from green to purple all happens during the last few weeks of flowering, when large amounts of anthocyanin is produced by the cannabis’ flowers. Due to the lesser hours of light that trigger flowering, less chlorophyll is also produced. This allows the anthocyanin, which would otherwise be blocked from view, to be seen. This change can even be seen in plants with little amounts of anthocyanin, accounting for the burnt, golden orange tints that can sometimes be present.
Some strains will turn a degree of purple naturally, and have been selectively bred to do so. However, these strains can be further encouraged using certain growing techniques to really bring out the vibrant potential. To begin with, you need a strain that naturally produces large amounts of anthocyanin. Such examples include Northern Light, Purple Haze, Blue Cheese, and Blueberry Kush.
The secret to really bringing out the colour of these beauties to reduce the temperature of your grow room during the last two weeks of flowering. It needs to be consistently below 10 degrees Celsius, but always above 4 degrees. It is not fully understood how this brings out the anthocyanin, but it does.
It is worth noting, while this is reasonably safe to do, a sudden reduction in temperature can send you cannabis into shock. So be careful and do it gradually.
Some guides suggest that bud can be turned purple by depriving you cannabis plant of oxygen, carbon dioxide and certain nutrients. This should never be attempted, and is completely the wrong way to go about it. It is extremely unsafe for your plants and runs a high risk of damaging the quality of the final product.
Purple marijuana is mainly a cosmetic novelty; however, those who enjoy it will probably be pleased to know that it could have its potential benefits. Anthocyanin is a known powerful antioxidant and is also thought to act as an analgesic, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory compound. Whether its content is enough to make much of a difference is unknown, but better some than nothing!