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What gives cannabis flowers its colours?

Like all flowering plants, one way by which cannabis expresses its beauty is by producing colourful hues. From black to red, and from purple to yellow and orange, the colour spectrum of flowering cannabis is as diverse as its effects. If you’d like to order cannabis online in Canada, then here we take a look at what exactly gives rise to this wonderfully rich array of colours and what they mean for the end consumer.

Why is Cannabis Colourful in the First Place?

Ever wonder why plants go to all the effort of creating beautiful elaborate colour schemes? Far from it being an effort to impress humankind, the actual reason has its roots in evolutionary adaptations that help the plant thrive.


When cannabis plants thrive under ideal conditions in the early stages of growth, the abundant chlorophyll production gives rise to a deep green hue. But as the colder fall temperatures approach, they destroy much of this chlorophyll, and the plant begins to produce other colours in an attempt to save energy for the impending winter.


The colours that appear as a result are dependent upon the genetic profile of the strain in question. These changes have their origins in the unique evolutionary adaptations hardwired into the plant kingdom for survival.

How Genetics Contribute To The Color of Cannabis

The vast array of hues found in cannabis flower have their roots in the genetic profile of the strain. The genetics present give rise to the production of different compounds that later contribute to the colourful arrays that we associate with cannabis.


Anthocyanins are water-soluble pigments that produce hues that range from blue to red, depending on the PH level. The yellow, orange and red colours that we also commonly see in cannabis are due to the presence of carotenoids, the same pigments found in fruits like grapefruit and oranges.


Anthocyanins belong to a family of compounds known as flavonoids. These compounds permeate all of nature and are found in many other vegetables and fruit where they’re responsible for producing the wide array of colours we associate with a blooming garden.


Carotenoids are a class of phytonutrients. Commonly found in the cells of a variety of plants, algae and bacteria, they enable plants to absorb the light required for effective photosynthesis.

Common Colours in Cannabis and What They Mean

Purple, yellow, orange, red and pink are the most common hues present in cannabis flower. But where does each come from, and which strains exhibit the genetic profile to produce each?


Purple Weed

Purple is one of the more common hues present in many cannabis strains. But while attractive and pleasing to the eye, it has little effect on the potency of the cannabis.


If you’re looking to grow some purple flowers, then you’ll need to acquire a strain with large amounts of anthocyanin. More experienced growers can accentuate the intensity of the purple hue by lowering the temperature later in the growing phase to stimulate the natural genetic response to approaching fall temperatures. Strains such as Blue Cheese, Blue Mystic, and Northern Light are some of the most popular purple strains.


One of the common myths associated with purple weed is that it induces sleepiness. Many purple strains are widely known for their ability to sedate, but this has nothing to do with the colour. Rather, it’s the accidental plant profile that’s responsible. In the case of many well-known purple strains, it’s the high quantities of the sedating terpene myrcene and the anxiety-relieving caryophyllene that synergize with the major cannabinoids to provide a sedative effect.


Yellow and Orange Weed

Yellow and orange hues are due to the presence of carotenoids. If you’re a grower and wish to accentuate the production of these hues, then they tend to emerge much more freely in alkaline conditions — those with a high pH. When grown under such conditions, cannabis plants may have a much greater presence of carotenoids that eventually give rise to the yellow and orange hues.


The most popular strains with yellow and orange hues include Super Lemon Haze, Orange Bud, Olive Oyl, Nectarine, and Lemon Kush.

Red and Pink Weed

Red and pink cannabis flowers are relatively rare. Like purple weed, red and pink hues are primarily due to the presence of anthocyanins in conjunction with the right pH.


Many growers who wish to try and introduce a reddish hue into their cannabis flowers often try to do so by provoking a phosphorous deficiency.


Common strains that exhibit red and pink hues include Red Poison, Red Dragon, and Pink Panther.


White Weed

Unlike with other tones, a white colour in cannabis flower isn’t directly due to the presence of a particular plant compound. Rather, white cannabis reflects an abundance of trichomes — the small hair-like outgrowths that contain the cannabinoids and terpenes and other medicinal compounds of the plant.


The presence of a frosty encrusted coating of white indicates the high presence of trichomes in what is likely to be highly potent cannabis.


The Health Benefits of Colorful Cannabis

Flavonoids exhibit some beneficial health properties and are widely known for their antioxidant, immune-stimulating, and anti-inflammatory properties. Science shows that such factors can benefit overall health by fighting cardiovascular disease, cancer, and even the prevention of neurodegeneration.


According to science, anthocyanins interact with the CB1 or CB2 receptors present in the endocannabinoid system. By helping invoke what’s known as the entourage effect, these compounds can enhance the synergistic relationships that exist between the compounds in the cannabis plant for maximum medicinal benefit.


Order Cannabis Online in Canada

Whether we’re talking about medicinal effects or raw beauty, the cannabis plant punches well above its weight on both fronts. Science has finally been able to explain the origins of the impressive colour spectrum produced in cannabis flowers, and if it tells us anything, then it’s to reinforce that its inbuilt beauty reflects its potent array of medicinal effects.


If you’d like to order cannabis online in Canada, then at Top BC Cannabis, we’ve got you covered. We stock a wide array of cannabis flowers, much of it rich in the tones and hues mentioned earlier. With sections dedicated to our top Sativa, Indica and Hybrid strains, you’ll be sure to find just what you need. And if you feel like growing your own and trying to produce some interesting colour schemes at home, then be sure and check out our seeds section!





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