Purple Weed: What's So Special About Purple Cannabis?

By Alan Ray
Published: July 4, 2018 | Last updated: May 17, 2022 08:49:58
Key Takeaways

Purple: the most powerful wavelength of the rainbow and historically the most significant and interesting color. It’s rarity in nature has given it a supernatural aura, which has also made it the color of royalty. But is purple weed as special as its color may suggest? Alan Ray investigates.

There is little doubt the desire for purple weed is growing steadily. At times, some dispensaries in the Lower 48 report having trouble keeping up with demand. Given its unique and eye-catching colors, this is understandable.

Nevertheless, aesthetic beauty is merely one of the perquisites associated with purple cannabis. Hidden within the rich purple hues are treasure troves of good medicine proven to help reduce stress and tension. Additionally, its aromatic properties throw a flavor party for the taste buds while affording the smoker a euphoric high of respectable magnitude.

Over the years, breeders have crossbred several types to create strains of purple weed whose effects can range from meditative to vegetative. Many purple strains are indica-dominant, which means attached to a lofty head high is a body stone that leaves the consumer feeling laid back and calm. There are also predominantly sativa strains that offer a more cerebral high without the heavy body attack.


How Does Purple Weed Get Its Color?

flowering cola of Berry Diesel purple weed strainPurple weed gets its color from compounds called anthocyanins, which are part of the flavonoid family.
Like other plants, cannabis gets its distinctive colors from flavonoids. Flavonoids, or bioflavonoids, derive their name from the Latin word flavus, meaning yellow. Flavonoids are a wide-ranging group (there are more than 6,000 known types) of phytonutrients responsible for the vivid pigments we see in fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are also powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties and immune system benefits. Strawberries, kale, grapes, citrus fruits, spices, and more, all are rich in flavonoids.

Initially, the only purple weed available—and it was rare—was weed that was grown outdoors and subjected to colder than recommended temperatures. Over time, however, clever geneticists, seed breeders, and experimenters created purple cannabis strains that took the guesswork out and put the color in. Oddly, some legitimate strains of purple weed aren’t even purple in color despite their heritage. Blueberry is a good example of this.

A purple color doesn’t necessarily mean your weed is a true purple strain, though. That requires genetics.


Other Causes of Purple Cannabis

Purple or red cannabis stems may be cause by the breakdown of chlorophyll.
If your favorite strain wasn’t engineered to be purple yet is that color, there are a few factors that could contributed to the color change.

With cannabis, cold temperatures can affect the plant’s color, much like how cool weather changes the color of deciduous trees during the fall. For outdoor plants, the colder air brings with it a signal to stop producing chlorophyll. Chlorophyll, which is necessary for photosynthesis, is the dominating pigment in the plant and accounts for its green color. As the cold weather sets in, chlorophyll gets broken down into smaller molecules. When that happens, different pigments within the cannabis plant can develop. Sometimes these pigments are purple.

Too cold of a temperature can also freeze the cells of the plant, causing damage to the pathways needed for water and nutrient uptake.

Without certain nutrients such as phosphorus, some plants can turn purple.

A plant’s pH level can also affect the color, with the leaves of red cabbage being a strong example. If the soil is acidic (below 7.0), then the leaves become reddish in color. When the pH level is neutral, the leaves turn purple.


Ask a Grower: "My cannabis stems are turning purple and red. Is this genetics or is there something wrong with them?"

5 Benefits of Purple Weed

hand holding a bud of purple weedPopular purple weed strains include Purple Urkle, Purple Kush, Granddaddy Purple, Purple Kush, Grape Ape, Purple Haze, and Purple Diesel.
Aesthetics aside and medically speaking, a broad and diverse range of benefits for the body and the mind come with true purple weed. These include:

  • High-quality and long-lasting highs
  • Excellent stress reliever
  • Heightens creativity
  • A proven sleep-aid
  • Effective pain relief

Admittedly, it’s a short list, but with a little research, you may discover other purple strains that effectively address your specific medical needs. Given its ever-growing popularity and beneficial properties, it is little wonder purple is the new green that many consumers are turning to for a profusion of healthy and happy reasons.

On a related note and contrary to urban myth, turning a genetically non-purple weed purple does nothing to improve the quality of the smoke.

If you’re looking for a good purple strain, the usual suspects include such famous names as Purple Urkle, Purple Kush, Granddaddy Purple, Purple Kush, Grape Ape, Purple Haze, and Purple Diesel.

When window shopping, just one look will tell you why this amazingly beautiful and medically effective smoke keeps disappearing from dispensary shelves with such high frequency. It’s Haagen-Dazs for the eyes and nirvana for the mind. And while sometimes scarce, purple is still much easier to find than it is to rhyme.


Share This Article

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Written by Alan Ray

Profile Picture of Alan Ray

Alan Ray has written five books and is a New York Times best-selling author. Additionally, he is an award-winning songwriter with awards from BMI and ASCAP respectively. He lives in rural Tennessee with his wife, teenage son, and two dogs: a South African Boerboel (Bore-Bull) and a Pomeranian/Frankenstein mix.

Related Articles

Go back to top
Maximum Yield Logo

You must be 19 years of age or older to enter this site.

Please confirm your date of birth:

This feature requires cookies to be enabled