Let’s say you have two plates of food in front of you. One contains foods of dull, brownish colors, and the other contains brightly colored foods — greens, yellows and reds. If you had to choose between the two, which one would you pick? Probably the vibrant one, right? Because people are easily seduced by color, we like our food to look fresh and beautiful (read: colorful). The same goes for our marijuana. Maybe it’s subconscious, but when you choose your cannabis, bright marijuana colors will likely influence your purchase.
If you visit a dispensary, or have different strains at home, take a moment to take a good up-close look to see all the marijuana colors on the various buds. Different strains of cannabis will have different colors. But what about these colors? Do they influence the taste, or even the potency of your product?
The role of phytochemicals
Every cannabis plant contains different biological compounds, and one of them is called anthocyanin, a pigment. Depending on the plant’s pH, anthocyanin gives a blue or purple color to the flower. Sometimes it promotes a red hue, though red seems to be rare when it comes to cannabis. So, your anthocyanin-containing bud could be blue, purple or even red, depending on the particular pH level of the plant.
While a cannabis plant is growing, it’s mostly green. Experienced growers can tell if a plant is healthy or not by the hue of green. This color is a result of the presence of chlorophyll. As you might remember from your years in school, chlorophyll is essential in photosynthesis, which allows a plant to grow by absorbing energy from light.
Chlorophyll deficiencies in a plant, as well as air temperature and other various environmental conditions in which the cannabis grows, can make the flowers change color too. The precise factors influencing a plant to change color are still up for debate, but various deficiencies — like shortages in zinc, magnesium, and calcium — might be the cause.
It’s also possible that when the temperature drops, the color of the plants will change because they sense a change in season. The same happens to the leaves of tree during fall. pH levels also play a major role in the change of colors.
Which phytochemicals can be found in your marijuana?
Blue and purple → Anthocyanin
White and cream → Anthoxanthin
Yellow and orange → Carotenoids
Green → Chlorophyll
Red → Lycopene
What about the potency of your marijuana?
Some will say that bold-colored strains are more potent than others. Others will say that the color of a bud has nothing to do with its potency or its taste. It might be all about bag appeal. Bright colors are more attractive, more luxurious to the eye. Perhaps those colors alone will have you feeling good even before consuming such a beautiful product.
But of more substance, according to a study published in 2004, “anthocyanin isolates may provide protection from DNA cleavage, estrogenic activity [...], enzyme inhibition, [and] anti-inflammatory activity.” This means that the anthocyanins could possibly act as healthy antioxidants. Only it hasn’t been proven smoking cannabis of a certain color, which contains these anthocyanins, gives you the benefits of a strong antioxidant. The verdict is still out on that one.
So, what’s the best way to know you’re getting the best cannabis product, regardless of the marijuana colors?
If you want to be sure about the potency of a bud, make sure it contains enough cannabinoids. This is the only way to be a 100% sure your product is potent.