Cannabis Colours: What do They Mean?

Cannabis strains, long before cannabinoid testing, could only be measured with the senses. How did it smell & taste? But for most smokers, the decision is based on cannabis colours and visual appeal.

Cannabis comes in an abundance of colours. From gorgeous bright green to deep purple, to even rainbow coloured plants. And how can we forget the beautiful amber hairs or frosty trichomes? But do they really mean anything? Do we know where these cannabis colours come from? Do certain colours affect the strength or taste of weed or the effect on the body?

As it turns out, several factors influence the beautiful colours of cannabis. Both the how it’s grown and where its grown can determine the colour profile of the plant.

Colour and phytochemicals, which are chemical compounds produced by plants to help them thrive, determine the different hues. This is depending on pH levels. These can fall anywhere on a spectrum of blue or purple, and occasionally red. Rach colours in the weed nug are dependent on strain genetics.

Phytochemicals and Colour

Cannabis Colours
World of Plant Phytochemicals. via The Paleo Mom

A phytochemical (a biological compound in plants) called anthocyanin is a water-soluble flavonoid. Anthocyanins are prevalent in fruits and vegetables like plums, pomegranates, blueberries and eggplants. Also, purple can be pulled out by causing chlorophyll deficiencies with temperature and using other techniques.

Types of Phytochemical’s
The colours in each nug are dependent on strain genetics. Each strain’s growth process triggers genes that connect to specific colour ranges, meaning that each colour we see has its own phytochemical:

  • Anthocyanin – Blue/Purple – Purple hues come to the fore in more neutral pH environments. Blues also enjoy higher pH levels than most cannabis strains.
  • Anthoxanthin – White/Cream – Temperature plays a vital role, as cooler temperatures inhibit chlorophyll production.
  • Carotenoids – Yellow/Orange – Carotenoids give cannabis those citrusy hues of yellow, gold, and orange. To get these colours, you want more alkaline conditions.
  • Chlorophyll – Green – Chlorophyll is the plant component vital to photosynthesis.
  • Lycopene – Red – changing plant leaves and phenotypes. Phosphorus deficiencies can cause this, but it won’t be as pretty as the real thing.
  • In addition, black strains are known for intense psychedelic and cerebral highs. The inky appearance comes from an overabundance of all colours in the leaves.

Once plants enter harvest time flowers mature into colour like autumn leaves until they’re ready to be plucked. This is when each phytochemical blooms, showing us the full-colour spectrum.

It’s not Just About the Cannabis Colours

Pistils, those tiny hairs that cover buds, are more important than you might have thought. Pistils are pollen-catching hairs that pop out of the calyx during the plant’s vegetative stage. They’re ghost-white until the plant reaches its flowering stage. At that time, their priorities switch from sprouting to pollen-catching. Then, that pollen either births seeds or aids bud growth. Once the nugs are fattened, the pistils are done vacuuming pollen and come out in various colours from fire-red to tan or burnt orange.

“When the plants feel it’s harvest time, nature invokes the change, allowing marijuana flowers to mature into colour like autumn leaves until they’re ready to be plucked,” write author Chuck Haze for Westword. “This is when each phytochemical blooms, showing us the full-color spectrum of what each strain has to offer.”