What do the different weed colours indicate?
Cannabis connoisseurs love to see aromatic, potent cannabis buds complemented by a lavish display of rich autumnal colours. Many feel that the ‘bag appeal’ of cannabis is increased by flecks of colour in the buds. Potent green buds are great, but perhaps a majority of growers would find their eyes more drawn to buds with flashes of purple, blue, red or orange.
Many associate the most potent cannabis with the best looking buds. But potency is not linked with bud colour or bag appeal. However, in the days before modern analytical testing of cannabinoids was widespread, many people tried to predict cannabis potency from bud appearance. So how do the different cannabis colours form and what do weed colours indicate?
Cannabis buds colours
During autumn/fall, we are familiar with the way tree leaves change colour from their typical green appearance. You can see a rainbow of colours appear in the leaves as the dominant green from chlorophyll gives way to allow an array of alternative colours to be seen.
These other colours are created by pigments, also known as phytochemicals. The presence of different pigments may give your grow room (or guerrilla grow) a breathtakingly eye-catching appearance.
But pigments unfortunately can’t tell us anything about potency (or potential potency). Instead it is a range of natural compounds called cannabinoids (and THC in particular) which are responsible for the joyful psychoactive effects after consuming cannabis.
The appearance of your cannabis is also affected by the colour of the hairs, or pistils, which emerge from the buds. Normally these are white but as harvest approaches they can change colour to orange, brown, fire red or even pink/purple. Pistil colour can also change the colour of your cannabis.
Purple and blue cannabis strains
Blueberry is one of the most iconic cannabis strains to show beautiful blue hues in the buds. These contrast wonderfully with the white frosted appearance caused by the heavy trichome coverage. You may also see hints of lilac and purple in the buds.
Blueberry is a legendary strain, combining very high THC levels with a sweet taste of Blueberries and unbeatable bag appeal. The stressbusting high makes it one of the most relaxing varieties you can grow. With multiple cannabis cups Blueberry seeds should be in everyone's cannabis seed collection.
Auto Blueberry uses the same winning cannabis genetics with the speed and convenience of autoflower seeds.
Purple #1 is a top-quality cannabis strain, part of the Dutch Outdoor cannabis seed collection. She often produces blooms with deep purple colours, especially in cool outdoor bloom conditions. The Afghani genetics guarantee a rich taste to complement the purple appearance.
|Dutch Passion's Purple Weed seeds|
Red and pink cannabis strains
Frisian Dew is a beautiful outdoor strain which often shows pink pistils on the buds. If this combines with some cool bloom conditions you can often see lilac hues to the blooms.
The overall package shows some delightful and delicate pink hues. It’s unusual to get cannabis which is particularly pink but Frisian Dew, with the right conditions, can show pink hues.
Auto Banana Blaze, especially when bloomed in cool conditions, can display some rich red colours. The contrast with the white trichome resin layer really provides some tempting bag appeal. With the powerful effects and the sweet banana taste the bag appeal from Auto Banana Blaze is quite unique.
Yellow and orange cannabis strains
Orange Bud often has vivid orange pistils on the buds which can give a great orange appearance to the blooms. The Orange family of cannabis seeds also come with a great citrus taste and aroma. Perfect for anyone seeking a cannabis strain with a fresh, fruity citrus twist!
Black and dark cannabis strains
Auto Blackberry Kush is part of the Blue family of cannabis seeds. The genetics come from Blueberry x Dark Hash Plant and have very high THC levels. These plants often produce dark purple, practically black blooms. It’s a unique appearance with a deliciously sweet and fruity smell.
|We're back on Youtube! Hit the subscribe button to support us.||
Why does cannabis change colours?
There are a range of colour-producing chemicals found naturally in cannabis. Normally, the most dominant pigment in cannabis is called chlorophyll.
This has a characteristic green appearance and is present is such high amounts that the other colour-producing chemicals and pigments rarely get chance to display their own hues.
However, when chlorophyll content is reduced (for example during cool bloom conditions) you can see the other pigments and phytochemical display their true colours.
This can allow the leaves and buds to take on striking colours of their own. This can happen towards the end of bloom as chlorophyll content reduces.
It can also be seen if cool bloom conditions are present. Under these circumstances chlorophyll production is reduced allowing other pigments to be seen more clearly.
Cannabis phytochemicals, the chemistry of weed colours
Within the cannabis plant are a range of colour producing pigments and chemicals, often known collectively as phytochemicals. Here are some of the most common ones.
Anthocyanins (From Yellow/Orange to Blue, Black or Even Red)
Anthocyanins are water soluble pigments and are found extensively in nature. Blueberry, raspberry, black rice, and black soybean are just some of many foods which contain these. Interestingly, the precise colour of a particular anthocyanin can vary according to the pH. The striking colours of anthocyanins create some vivid effects. Purple cauliflower strains are rich in anthocyanins as are red radish and black plums. In cannabis, especially in the absence of chlorophyll, anthocyanins can produce some striking colours in the leaves and buds.
Chlorophyll is a natural plant pigment with a Magnesium atom at the centre. Chlorophyll is absolutely essential for photosynthesis. This is the process where light energy is captured by the plant and converted into chemical energy and fuel for growth. Chlorophyll allows the plant to absorb (mainly) blue and red light. Green light is not heavily absorbed by the plant and is reflected, which is why many plants appear green. When chlorophyll levels are slightly reduced from their maximum, other colourful phytochemicals can dominate the colour spectrum.
Carotenoids (Orange, Yellow, and Red)
Carotenoids are organic pigments produced by plants, algae, bacteria and fungi. They are coloured orange, yellow and red. Carotenoids are the pigments that give defining colour to canaries, flamingos, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkins, salmon and lobster. They also help cannabis to produce orange, yellow and red colourations. These can be particularly vivid towards the end of bloom especially when the dense green colour of chlorophyll starts to fade.
Flavonoids (Numerous Colours Including White and Cream)
Flavonoids are naturally made chemicals found in cannabis and a variety of fruits and vegetables. The chemical structure always has 15 Carbon atoms. These water soluble compounds are thought to offer health benefits and antioxidant effects. One sub-group of flavinoids are called anthocyanidins, these are closely related to (but not exactly the same as) anthocyanin pigments.
Cannabis growth stage and temperature levels
Most growers start to look for colour in their buds and plants as harvest approaches. This can be a time when autumnal colours are at their peak. Outdoor cannabis growers will be familiar with the temperatures starting to decrease as autumn/fall gets nearer. Chlorophyll production decreases as temperatures drop. This is one reason why cannabis leaves and buds can take on some gorgeous colours as harvest gets closer.
Some indoor growers also take advantage of this effect and deliberately reduce temperatures, especially during the ‘lights out’ period of indoor cultivation. The result can be quite dramatic and may increase the perceived ‘bag appeal’ and possibly the overall value of the harvest.
Lighting (type, cycle, intensity)
Use of UV lighting towards the end of the bloom cycle can have quite a dramatic effect on the plant colour and pigmentation. UVA/UVB can encourage a mainly ‘green’ plant to adopt some varied coloration. Leaves may darken and show brown/warmer hues to the buds and leaves.
pH levels and nutrient feeding schedule
The pH in the immediate vicinity of certain phytochemicals, e.g. anthocyanins, can dictate the specific colour of it. pH is not fixed in a cannabis plant, it can drift slightly but that can be sufficient to allow subtle differences in shade and colour in different parts of the plant.
Growers carefully control the pH of their nutrients, and it is thought that leaning towards one side of your desired pH range may influence the colours in your plant.
However, many growers might argue that it is preferred to stick in the middle of your nutrient pH range rather than err heavily towards one side of that pH range.
For example, some cannabis growers feel that a more acidic nutrient pH nearer to pH 5.5 will result in more red colours. Conversely, nutrient pH nearer to 7 is thought to produce more blue/purple colours.
A slight Phosphorus deficiency is also thought to produce more red hues. But again, deliberately creating a slight nutrient deficiency to encourage more weed colours would be regarded as an unnecessarily high risk cultivation philosophy to many.
|Understanding how pH affects cannabis plants|
Cannabis seeds genetic heritage
One huge factor which can affect cannabis colour is the type of cannabis seeds you are growing. If the strain was created with the right cannabis genetics you may find that crops of colourful cannabis are easy to produce. Strains like Bubba Island Kush and Auto Blackberry Kush are highly recommended to growers that have a high value for colourful marijuana! It doesn't matter whether you choose autoflowering cannabis seeds or photoperiod feminised seeds, so long as the cannabis genetics are from a reputable breeder you should be in with a good chance of a colourful plant at harvest.
Weed buds colour and potency: myth & facts
The biggest weed bud colour myth is that more colour means more THC. A few decades ago, before THC testing became widespread, people would made ‘educated guesses’ about cannabis potency.
Often their hunch that a particular strain was ‘better’ would be due to an unusual colour or aroma. Today we know that cannabinoids and THC levels are responsible for potency. Weed colour is down to a combination of factors and the presence/absence of natural pigments in the plant cells.
How to enhance your weed bud colours
If your cannabis is good quality with the recreational/medical effects that you want, then you probably aren’t too worried about weed/bud colour. Some commercial growers try to combine high quality THC rich cannabis genetics with a strong bag appeal and good bud colours.
Typically this is done by carefully and steadily introducing low grow room temperatures in the last few weeks of bloom. Often this is done with cannabis strains known for a colourful display. If you haven't tried growing weed/buds with colour then you may want to consider one of the strains suggested above. If you get lucky you could enjoy some of the best-looking buds you have ever seen!