Have you ever seen purple marijuana strains and wondered what gets it that special color? Contrary to popular belief, purple marijuana isn’t any “stronger.” It’s a combination of environment and genetics.
The Genetics of a Purple Strain
You may have noticed that there are specific strains that are known to be purple, such as Granddaddy Purple or Granddaddy Purps. That might lead someone to believe that those strains are always purple, but that’s not true.
Genetically, some strains of marijuana can turn purple, blue, or pink. But that doesn’t mean that they actually will. This has to do with the amount of anthocyanin levels in the plant. Marijuana is more complicated than just THC, CBD, and numerous other cannabinoids; there’s a lot that goes into the breeding. High levels of anthocyanin will reflect purples, pinks, and blues, while low levels will reflect more yellows and golds. In the middle? Those lovely greens.
Strains that don’t have the genetics for purpling are never going to go purple, regardless of their environment. So, if you want purple buds, you need to start with the right strain.
Causing a Strain to Go “Purple”
But as mentioned, genetics simply means that the plant can go purple. It doesn’t mean that it will.
Chlorophyll is what promotes the green color in all marijuana plants, and it’s an absence of that chlorophyll that lets purple, pink, and blue show through. As the plant matures, it creates less chlorophyll, but it still has to be “triggered” to produce more anthocyanin, even if it’s a strain that can produce more anthocyanin.
The most common way to do this is a drop in temperature. During a temperature drop, the plant will react with more anthocyanin as a way to protect itself from the elements. While the production of anthocyanin is not deeply understood, it is known that taking a strain with the genetics for purple and dropping temperature during maturation is the easiest and most effective way of getting those beautiful, purple buds.
Is Purple Marijuana More Potent?
Now, finally: Not only is purple marijuana not more potent (though it may be prettier), it actually could be less potent. This is because creating purple buds does mean that you have to put the marijuana plant under stress to provoke its color change. Stressed plants are more likely to produce less THC overall. So, you’re paying a cost for the attractiveness of the bud.
That being said, that doesn’t mean that some strains may not be potent on their own. As marijuana scientists continue to create stronger and stronger strains, it’s very likely that a strong, high THC (or high CBD) strain could arise that also happens to have the genetics for purpling.
Today, purple marijuana is mostly a novelty. The anthocyanin that creates purple marijuana doesn’t impact the actual effects of marijuana bud; it just creates a more attractive plant. But learning more about the genetics and the environment behind it underscores the complexities of marijuana farming, which is both an art and science for many professionals.