Colorful Cannabis: A Guide To Your Bud Colors

The cannabis world has changed a lot since cannabinoid testing was first introduced. Back then, the only way to measure a strain‘s quality was through smell and taste. However, today we are blown away by the colors of buds–93% of shoppers make purchasing decisions based on visual appeal! So where do these beautiful bud colors come from?

Are you looking for a strain with a unique hue? What about The White, a strain that is named after its color. Have a look at that magnificent white-colored bud; it’s practically like living up to your moniker.

The Science of Color

Cannabis strains sometimes change color as they mature. What’s the secret? Genetics. Anthocyanins are a family of about 400 water-soluble pigment molecules that are classified as flavonoids. They have a pH level and appear red, blue, or purple, depending on the condition.

Surprisingly, flavonoids are yellow in color and derive their name from the latin term “flavus,” which means yellow. They’re also not flavorful because they’re quite bitter.

The Fall Effect

The changing of colors in leaves during fall is brought about by the decreasing temperature. In a similar fashion, cannabis produces its colors towards the end of its flowering stage with a handful of exceptions. When the green color fades, these other hues have an opportunity to be seen.

Chlorophyll synthesis, in particular, is restricted by temperature. Chlorophyll is the plant component necessary for photosynthesis that you may recall from 6th grade science. Depending on the strain’s history, certain other hues may appear when the temperature is dropped and the light cycle is shortened, mirroring the season change.

For optimal growth, cannabis plants prefer a pH of 5.5-6.5; however, during the flowering stage, you can encourage or suppress certain anthocyanins (coloring agents) by leaning more towards one end of the spectrum or the other.

Purple and Blue Strains

Cannabis contains hundreds of different cannabinoids, each with its own distinct aroma and anthocyanins. Purple is by far the most prevalent difference in green cannabis. Strains such as Purple Urkle, Grandaddy Purple, and others easily produce that hue.

Some strains have so much pigment that you don’t even need to lower temperatures to see the change; as plants start to lose chlorophyll at the end of their life, they naturally turn colors. The Purple Orangutan strain has some of the strongest blue and purple hues in existence.

Cannabis strains that are purple in color typically thrive best in more neutral pH environments. On the other hand, blue cannabis strains prefer higher pH levels.

Red and Pink Strains

Though you see red hair more frequently now, truly ruby herb is much rarer. For strains carrying dominant red tones like Pink Flower Shaman (pictured above), you’ll have to do some searching.

The color Pink Opaque Pink Predator Blue is a bright pink with pink and fuchsia tones. Don’t go out of your way to get every strain with a red or pink name, however. Most times, it refers to either the hairs or flavor accents, such as pink lemonade or grapefruit.

You may also cheat a little by changing plant leaves and buds from time to time. Phosphorus shortages can induce this, but it will not be as lovely as the genuine thing.

Yellow and Orange Strains

The carotenoids in cannabis are what give it those bright yellow, gold, and orange hues. To bring out these colors, you want to grow your plants in more alkaline conditions. If these colors are predominant in the plant, they will come out as the flowering phase comes to an end and chlorophyll starts to fade.

The Orange shade will mostly affect the hairs and buds, like strains Olive Oyl, Kandy Skunk, and some phenos of Alien OG. The Yellow shade includes Wicked OG, Grapefruit, and Lemon Kush‑which all taste great in the PAX 3 vaporizer.

Black cannabis

There are several uncommon strains that can be black in color. The origins of these genes date back to Vietnamese landraces, I.E. Vietnamese Black. All other strains descended from crosses, such as Black Willy and Black Tuna, have characteristic ebony buds and leaves.

Black cannabis strains are commonly grown for their psychedelic and cerebral effects. They’re also known to provide some intense visual experiences. The appearance of black leaves is usually due to an overabundance of colors, which can range from dark reds and purples to lighter shades of red and gold.

Other ways to increase bud colors

Anthocyanins are found in vacuoles, trichomes, and other plant tissues. They attract pollinators like butterflies and bees while fooling pests into thinking the plant is unappetizing or diseased.

In addition to pH and temperature, using LED lights with precise spectrums can enhance the anthocyanin production in cannabis tissues. Anthocyanins act as a “sunscreen” for plants; by stressing them with additional UV light, you can make the plant produce more pigments, resulting in brighter colors.

Color vs potency

The misconception that strains with vivid color are more powerful is widespread. Color has nothing to do with potency; rather, it is about cosmetic appeal. Anthocyanins, on the other hand, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and are thought to be analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective.

Some anthocyanins have been demonstrated to bind preferentially to CB1 or CB2 receptors, depending on the kind.

So while anthocyanins don’t make cannabinoids like THC more potent, they could give the strain a health boost.

berries aren’t the only foods rich in these molecules, as other examples include blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and goji berries. Cranberries though are celebrated for their strong antioxidant properties that come from anthocyanins.

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