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Marijuana Colors

  • Escrito por : Ciara
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The colors of marijuana plants can vary depending on the type of crop you’re growing and the kind of climate that you’re growing it in. On more than one occasion, experienced growers wake up to find that at some point in their plants’ life cycle some strains have changed from green to purple, maybe blue and in some cases even black. Sometimes this happens simply due to the genes of each strain, like the famous Purple Haze or Blueberry; there are certain phenotypes that can go black in parts during the last few weeks of the flowering period with a minimum temperature of 18ºC and 24ºC indoors, although original Blueberry strains tend to go slightly blue and Purple Haze tends to go from lilac to dark purple, although some Panama and Colombian strains can go slightly pink.

The change in color is generally attributed to the appearance of anthocyanin, a water-soluble pigment that plants generate either due to their genes or due to potassium deficiency, and low temperatures can also influence color change. Sometimes your plants might trick you, showing colors due to nitrogen excess and you end up thinking that the color change is due to its genes; you need to make sure you’re using the right substrate and fertilizers. Nitrogen excess doesn’t just manifest itself by making your plants’ leaves darker; it also shows up in the stems and trunk, which will turn purple. Plants that change color due to genes tend to do so in the buds as well, making for some extremely attractive colorful buds. This color change isn’t adjustable, so it’s not possible to stop your plants changing color if it’s in their genes.

If it’s not in their genes, it could also be due to a lack of phosphorus which tends to come out during the flowering phase, maintaining a healthy green during the growth period and at around the fourth flowering week the leaves will begin turning purple, lilac or slightly red. Although, if you automatically assume that this is because of the temperature, then you’ll continue with your crop as if this feature was simply aesthetic, but it’s an easy mistake to make as your plants are actually giving you an important indication that they’re lacking something, and you’ll definitely notice it in the final yield of your crop. If this is the case, the coloring will sometimes be accompanied by yellowish welts on the leaves which is quite easy to fix; a few waterings with a good fertilizer rich in potassium should be able to improve your plants health, although this solution doesn’t always fix the problem completely. Sometimes the lack of potassium can be due to an excess of salts, in which case you’d need to wash your plants’ roots out and then fertilize. There are some cases in which you can find this balance of nutrients in the substrate but due to an incorrect pH level the coloring can still appear. To solve this, wash the roots and adjust the pH: remember to always water your plants with the correct pH. You’ll know the issue has been solved when your plants’ color doesn’t begin getting worse or darker, and the new leaves grow out green and healthy. This almost always happens with acidic pH levels, and basic pH levels tend to turn the leaves a slight yellow color.

Some strains can also turn purple or blueish in cold temperatures, around 10ºC; remember that cannabis plants prefer temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees, although indica strains can put up with colder temperatures than sativa strains. If you correct the temperature, your plants should go back to their original color. This phenomenon is called Ruby, and it’s the same thing that occurs in blood oranges, which need cooler temperatures to turn red. The appearance of these pigments is due to a change of DNA in just one section of the plant, known as retrotransposons.

Like we said before, these colors are due to anthocyanins, flavonoids that are naturally present in plants and can be found in the leaves, stems, branches, flowers and even in the roots. Depending on the strain and crop conditions, these flavonoids might choose to show themselves, and an acidic pH can also increase the chances of the anthocyanins being released, causing a dark purple color to appear. Their initial function is to protect the plant from UV rays as well as pathogens by changing color, thought of as a defense mechanism against predators.

It seems that anthocyanins have a series of important properties as well; anti-inflammatory, pain relief and neuro-protectant. There are some strict relationships between anthocyanins and CB1 and CB2 receptors, as well as having come to light that a diet rich in anthocyanins can improve health, including the cardiovascular system, preventing obesity etc. although in this particular case anthocyanins in cannabis don’t have any direct effects when smoked, although they might be more effective in infusions like tea.

Author: Fabio Inga
Translation: Ciara Murphy

Marijuana colors are due to the presence of anthocyanins, flavonoids that can appear due to genes, temperature changes or deficiencies.

What Do The Colors of Marijuana Mean?

Part of the magic of marijuana is the infinite variety of traits that can be exhibited by one species of plant. Cannabis plants can be tall and lanky or short and bushy depending on their genetic heritage. Marijuana can express myriad flavors to tempt the tastebuds and aromas to excite the nose. Cannabis leaves and flowers can also vary in hue, offering a full palette of marijuana colors to please the eye.

Colorful Marijuana

As young plants grow, most strains of cannabis are primarily green. Many shades of green are represented—from light lime-colored hues to greens so dark they are tinged with purple. As plants flower and begin to reach maturity, more colors can appear or become more pronounced in both leaves and buds. Several different factors can influence marijuana colors, including temperature, nutrient levels, the acidity or alkalinity of the soil or other growing medium, and the quality of the light. All of these variables can impact the expression and ratio of natural pigments produced by the plant, creating the different colors of marijuana.

The Colors Of Marijuana


Green is the predominant color of most flowering plants including cannabis because of the presence of chlorophyll, the pigment that absorbs sunlight (except the green wavelengths) to power the process of photosynthesis. Through photosynthesis, plants combine carbon dioxide and water to create sugars that fuel all biological functions. Often, plant tissues will have so much chlorophyll that its green color masks the presence of other pigments. But as summer turns to autumn, lower temperatures inhibit chlorophyll production, allowing the other pigments to emerge and produce colorful marijuana. A similar phenomenon can be observed in deciduous trees as their leaves change color and fall.

Cannabis strains that retain green as the dominant bud color include Green Crack, Green Haze, and Green Goblin.

Blues, Purples, Reds, and Pinks

Cannabis flowers that are purplish to shades of blue are generally high in a group of chemicals known as anthocyanins. More than 500 anthocyanins have been identified, with colors that can range from red to purple to blue depending on pH. Anthocyanins can produce colorful marijuana although they are generally not abundant in young plants but are produced as plants mature. They belong to the class of substances known as flavonoids and have antioxidant properties. Fruits and vegetables high in anthocyanins include blueberries, açaí, raspberries, blackberries, eggplant, and purple cabbage.

Purple strains of cannabis are very popular, including Granddaddy Purple, Purple Haze and Purple Urkle. Some strains such as Black Diesel and Vietnamese Black can be so high in anthocyanins that they are nearly ebony. Marijuana strains with blue-tinged buds include Blueberry, Blue Dream, and Blue Cheese. Red and pink varieties are relatively rare and include Red Poison, Red Dragon, Pink Panther, and others. Reddish leaves or buds can also be caused by a deficiency of phosphorous, an element vital to plant physiology.

Oranges and Yellows

Carotenoids are another group of pigments that can influence the colors of marijuana. They are created by plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. Beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin are among the more than 750 carotenoids have been identified. Some carotenoids in the diet, including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin can be converted by the body into Vitamin A. Carotenoids are important for eye health and provide protection against blue light and macular degeneration. Carotenoids produce the yellow, orange, and red hues that are found in many plants including carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and tomatoes. Plants grown in alkaline soils with a pH of 5.0 or less can have a greater abundance of carotenoids.

Many flavonoids are also yellow and can influence the colors of marijuana. Nitrogen deficiencies during growth can also cause cannabis leaves and buds to appear yellowish.

Strains with orange or yellow flowers include Orange Bud, Lemon Kush, Grapefruit, Nectarine, and Olive Oyl. Many varieties of cannabis will have orange or red pistils, or hairs as they are commonly known.


Buds that have been grown and harvested to their maximum potential can be so covered with trichomes that they appear white or frosty. Trichomes are packed with cannabinoids and terpenes so these flowers can be quite potent. White Widow and White Rhino are two strains with a propensity to become encrusted with trichomes.

Marijuana Colors And Potency

Colorful marijuana can be attractive or even visually stunning, but other than white buds glistening with shiny trichomes, hue is usually not a reliable indicator of potency. But if you are consuming your bud orally in tinctures, oils, edibles, or capsules, you may be getting the nutritional benefits of carotenoids, anthocyanins, and other flavonoids. Anthocyanins have shown some activity at CB1 and CB2 receptor sites and may have a synergistic, or entourage, effect in conjunction with cannabinoids and terpenes.

But even if they don’t get you higher, different marijuana colors can add aesthetic appeal and a sense of adventure to your next bud purchase. Which color of the rainbow will you choose next?

Cannabis isn't limited to shades of green.