Purple cannabis strains can be some of the most exotic and beautiful flowers to behold. Typically decked out in glittery, sparkly, trichome glory, purple marijuana buds are always a hit.
The vibrant, psychedelic color seems to harmonize with the mind-blowing effects of cannabis in general, suggesting an otherworldly vibe. Almost, as if, your weed was grown on an alien planet, or in the lab of some mad marijuana scientist.
Ask any cannabis enthusiast, and she or he will likely tell you that purple strains are highly desirable.
Folks who toke purple weed report delicious, savory flavors. But what makes a cannabis flower turn purple has to do with chemical compounds called “flavonoids,” which have nothing to do with flavor at all.
Flavonoids are pigment molecules. The word comes from the ancient Latin word for yellow, flavus, since flavonoids are yellow in appearance.
Flavonoids are present in cannabis plants, and they turn dark colors like purple when the plant is subjected to harsh conditions like cold weather and stress.
It can also happen when the plant is starved for nutrients like nitrogen. The pH levels, or the acidity of the soil, can also affect the color of the weed.
Flavonoids, those colorful pigment molecules, turn red, purple or blue according to their pH. More acidic pH levels will make them appear redder. In neutral pH conditions, they’ll turn purple, and in alkaline bluer.
So it’s under less than ideal pH conditions and in cold temperatures that cannabis leaves and flowers turn purple. In short, it’s a sign the weed was grown outdoors and subjected to harsher conditions.
Since Purple Kush strains are highly desirable and popular, it was only a matter of time before breeders figured out how to yield cannabis genetics that is purple despite standard growing environments.
What accounts for the exceptionally delicious flavors of purple cannabis is still a bit of a mystery. One grower reported that hermaphroditization turned his plant purple. But a hermie plant is a sign of nutrient deficiency, which is linked to color.
This producer decided to keep starving his plant in its final weeks. “My god, that method produced the most delicious weed I’ve ever smoked,” he said.