Purple Cannabis Plants – they look good! But, did you know that they are accessible on the market because there’s this belief that they are also more potent?
In this article, we’re going to see whether that’s true or not. We will also try to explain what’s happening with the plant on a chemical level, all for it to change its color. We will also be looking through the genetic and environmental reasons for it.
First, off we should look at genetics, as they probably play the most prominent role in turning a cannabis plant purple. Scientifically speaking, there is a group of flavonoids called “anthocyanins” which provides either red, blue, or purple pigments in plants, and they can also be found in many different purple and red vegetables and fruits (eggplants and blueberries, for example). No matter what you do, if the presence of anthocyanins in the plant is low, then the chance of a cannabis plant turning purple is also little.
But, contrary to popular belief, the purple plant doesn’t automatically mean that it is more potent. They sure may look more attractive to the customers, which has made a vast number of cannabis breeders to go for the purple ones more often, but other than that, their color doesn’t mean anything. Thus the perceived value makes anthocyanins a bonus when you’re taking a closer look at cannabis genetics.
So, what is chemically happening to the plant when it’s changing its color? Usually, plants are green because of chlorophyll, which helps with photosynthesis by allowing the plant to convert sunlight to energy. However, over the lifecycle of the cannabis plant, the production of chlorophyll reduces. This allows the other compounds to manifest. In the case of purple cannabis strains, we’re referring to anthocyanins – the green pigmentation associated with chlorophyll begins to slowly turn to blues, reds, and purples of anthocyanins.
The environment also plays a significant role in all of this. Scientists have noticed that in the colder Autumn months, the chlorophyll production in plants reduces, and flavonoid accumulation starts happening. In strains with a pre-disposition for anthocyanins, this leads to color-changing. It’s also important to memorize that anthocyanins don’t go well with high temperatures! This means that the myth about “purple cannabis coming from the cold north” is true. PH levels also play a significant role, as it is indicative of the pigmentation of the plant. Acidic environments tend to produce more reds and yellows, purple is a result of pH neutrality, and blues tend to express themselves at higher pH levels.
And, what about its potency? Does purple mean more potent? Science has shown that anthocyanins could impede THC development. This means that the widespread belief that the purple cannabis plant is more potent is not true at all.
But this doesn’t mean they are not potent at all, nor even less potent, for that matter. We need to understand that THC development depends on many other environmental and genetic factors as well.