Whether you're a newby or are seasoned to the world of cannabis, you've probably come across some purple buds and wondered to yourself what makes these nugs exhibit such a striking hue. Cannabis flower buds are typically green with some tufts of red, brown, or orange pistils scattered throughout its leaves. Some buds, however, have a propensity to produce purple pigmentation. There are several factors that can affect the intensity of the bud colors, such as temperatures and nutrient intake.
While colors can be a definite selling point for many marijuana shoppers, there are many myths surrounding these purple strains. Purple buds, unfortunately, aren't more potent than their green, yellow, pink, or blue counterparts. Instead, purple buds are only a sign of a maturing cannabis plant, similar to when tree leaves turn red, orange, and yellow during fall.
What Makes it Purple?
Many of today's purple bud strains have been crossbred for color and potency. In order to understand how purple buds are grown, it's important to understand the role of anthocyanins, which are water-soluble pigment molecules found in all plants. Anthocyanins belong to a group of molecules called flavonoids. Flavonoids are responsible for providing color to a host of plants and fruits, including blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries.
Anthocyanins do more than just turn bud leaves into different colors. Anthocyanins act as a plant's defense against UV light exposure and plant-eating predators. A plant's change of colors deters predators that would normally eat plants with green leaves. For this reason, anthocyanins are normally found on a plant's flowers or fruits. Anthocyanin-rich buds can vary in color, ranging from red to blue to purple, depending on the pH level. Anthocyanins can change colors in a plant's leaves, stems, and roots as well.
Temperature plays a big part in anthocyanin production. Cooler temperatures reduce the amount of chlorophyll a plant produces, and chlorophyll is a vital component in facilitating photosynthesis and turning the leaves green. As a cannabis plant matures, the chlorophyll breaks down into sugars for the development of cannabinoids. When plants have reduced chlorophyll production, it actually increases the anthocyanins' visibility.
Nutrients are also key in determining the levels of anthocyanins present in cannabis plants. Nutrient deficiencies during the flowering cycle can cause leaves and stems to exhibit a purple hue. For example, a phosphorus or nitrogen deficiency can cause stems to turn violet. A sulfur deficiency can also manifest itself as purple stripes.
So What Does Purple Mean?
Origins of Purple Bud
Cannabis growers can choose known anthocyanin-rich strains to grow purple buds, but genetics isn't the only factor that affects the intensity of flower color. For example, some seeds of well-known purple buds such as Purple Urkle may not exhibit purple hues, while other varieties of Purple Urkle may. Unstable genetics in some purple strains is largely affected by growing conditions including temperature and nutrients.
Is Purple Bud Stronger?
One of the most pervasive myths surrounding purple buds is that they are much more potent than the traditional green bud, but that actually couldn't be farther from the truth! In reality, purple buds don't have more cannabinoids or terpenes. Purple buds just look slightly more intriguing.
While purple buds may not get you higher, there has been some research suggesting that the anthocyanins have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and analgesic properties. Depending on the type of anthocyanin, they have also been found to interact with the endocannabinoid system.
So, is purple bud stronger? No. But, further research may show that anthocyanins can take part in what's known as the synergistic "entourage effect."
Purple Bud Strains To Try
Now that you've got a better handle on what the purple buds are all about, you can try out some different purple bud strains! Purple Urkle is a popular Indica strain with mysterious origins. It's rumored to be California-bred with Mendocino Purps genetics. Purple Urkle has a terpene-rich, skunky and tropical aroma. Expect to smell scents of berries, grapes, and plenty of musky aromas. Its THC levels can range between 17 to 22 percent.
Grandaddy Purple (GDP) was bred by Ken Estes in Northern California. GDP has won first place in the Medical Cup 2004 as well as multiple Green Cup awards. This purple bud strain is a cross between Purple Urkle and Big Bud and then backcrossed with GDP. GDP is known as a hardy plant that develops purple, red, or blue hues and tons of resin and terpenes. Hopeful growers can score some GDP seeds from Dark Heart Nursery.
Purple Haze is another famed purple bud strain with unknown origins. Purple Haze first became popular during the time that an LSD variety with the same name was being sold in the 1960s and 70s. Purple Haze is a Sativa strain with around 20 percent THC, has fruity and musky scents, and is rumored to be grown with Colombian strain genetics.
Purple buds are rare, but a treat to consume — even if it's just for their bag appeal. While purple buds won't get you any higher, they are a welcome variety of buds to the common green flower. If you're interested in finding some purple buds near your town, check out our strain and dispensary directory to find purple strains for you to enjoy!
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