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The Different Colors of Cannabis and What They Mean


Extracted pigments from vegetables, seeds, fruits, and even pigments from mined minerals help give us the rich array of colors we have all grown so accustomed to these days. Anthocyanins, along with temperature, help give foliage its color. In the case of cannabis, anthocyanins, temperature, and chlorophyll all play a role in the colors of cannabis. 

In this article, we’re going to explore the many colors of cannabis, how they came to be, and what they might mean for cannabis itself.

What Colors Does Cannabis Come In?

The most common color associated with cannabis is green. The base tone color of buds tends to be variant shades of green ranging from olive and forest green to lime and even neon green. 

Nevertheless, cannabis can grow in other colors. Some buds can look more yellowish, some brownish, and some can even be white. Buds are known to have hues of blue, red, pink, purple, and even black throughout them. The hairs on cannabis are typically brown, red, or orange but can also be pink, white, or yellow.

Long before cannabis testing became popular, most consumers focused on THC levels. These consumers used to determine quality cannabis by characteristics such as color, aroma, bud density, trichome coverage, and overall effect. Sadly, many people today focus on high THC because that’s what consumers come in asking for. 

Why is Weed Different Colors?

There are many different factors that determine the color of cannabis. One of the most important of them is cannabis genetics. The genetic lineage that a cannabis strain has will greatly impact characteristics such as color, especially when grown in an outdoor environment.

Genetics aren’t the only thing that plays an important role in the color of cannabis. The pH of the soil and food fed to cannabis plants, along with temperature, also play important roles in the final outcome of the color of cannabis.

Colors can also be unnatural in cannabis. When growers use or misuse plant growth regulators (PGRs), cannabis tends to have an overabundance of red hairs along with other characteristic traits, such as large dense buds displaying a lack of trichomes and aroma.

A lot of the cannabis today is grown in a controlled indoor environment. This is the cannabis that many people have gotten used to and is sparkly and sticky, slathered with resinous trichomes. The buds display beautiful colors such as blue, purple, and even black. The aroma slaps you in the face the minute you enter the room.

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The reason for this sensational potency isn’t because the seed grew perfectly on its own. Talented growers control the environment by monitoring pH and CO2 levels along with temperature and humidity levels to give cannabis the optimal chance and environment to thrive. When care like this is combined with quality genetics, amazing things happen.

Natural Colors of Cannabis vs. Colors Encouraged By Growers

Someone with good growing skills can do wonderful things with cannabis plants. By using good genetics combined with temperatures, pH levels, and lightning manipulation that are closely monitored, incredible results are achievable. Oftentimes, cannabis won’t just end up being beautiful and colorful on its own; it takes nourishing and love from a skilled grower to produce top-quality cannabis.

Sometimes, it also takes manipulating lights and temperatures to bring out the colors desired, and this is done by growers in various ways around the globe. 

While green is the primary color of cannabis, it is important to know that this is due to the presence of chlorophyll. This abundance of chlorophyll often masks the other pigments and colors in cannabis due to its intensity.

To bring out the naturally high levels of anthocyanins in some strains, all it takes is growing it outdoors and allowing the change of seasons and temperatures to cause a drop in chlorophyll, allowing these natural tones to come through. This can result in a bluer tone to cannabis. 

Other common cannabis colors include:

  • Indigo and other dark tones appear in some cannabis strains. Primarily, these tones can be found in hybrids linking back to genetics that originate from Vietnamese landraces that naturally contain these characteristics. 
  • Yellow tones in cannabis come as a result of high levels of carotenoids, such as what gives squash, carrots, pumpkins, and other yellow-toned plants and fruits their unique color. Yellow tones in cannabis can also come from the abundance of flavonoids that are yellow and can have an effect on the color of cannabis.
  • Purple cannabis is a favorite of many and is definitely a site to behold if you have never laid your eyes upon it before. It is important to know, though, that just because a strain has purple in the name, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be purple or have high levels of purple notes. Some strains, however, are prevalently known to have a purple color and have purple in their names, such as Granddaddy Purple, Purple Urkle, and Purple Haze. Like blue tones in cannabis, purple tones occur both naturally and can also be produced and pulled out more with light and temperature manipulation that results in increasing the anthocyanins in the plant. 

Some of the Most Popular Colorful Cannabis Strains

Rainbow Kush is one of the cannabis strains that lives up to its name. This tasty variety of Kush produces a beautiful rainbow of colors and a truckload of pallet-pleasing flavors to accompany those magnificent colors. Buds often display flashes of purple, orange, yellow, red, various shades of green, and even hues of blue throughout them. It’s almost like somebody took rainbow sorbet and turned it into bud.

Another beautiful kush is SFV (San Fernando Valley) Kush. This particular variety of Kush produces beautiful colors of purple. Some of the buds are so purple they almost look like they would be grape-flavored. Another strain of cannabis that produces gorgeous purple buds is Black Russian. Not everyone is a fan of purple. Some people love orange. This is where cannabis strains like Agent Orange are a favorite. 

Always keep an eye open for your favorite-colored cannabis. Chances are, if you find a strain of cannabis where that color stands out in combination with a good healthy amount of trichome coverage coupled with a pleasing aroma, it’s going to be some fire. You can tell a lot by the color of cannabis; ask anyone who remembers growing up in the days of round-town brown.

What is the prettiest strain of cannabis you have ever laid eyes on? Do you prefer black or purple tones? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and if you haven’t tried strains of various colors, we encourage you to experience and taste the rainbow! 



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