What Makes Hemp Buds Turn Purple?
Have you ever wondered why hemp and cannabis plants turn purple? Is it the genetics? Is it the weather conditions, like cold nights? Maybe multiple factors? In this short read we will go over what makes that "Purple Haze", purple in the first place and why it matters.
Blueberries, blackberries, purple carrots, eggplants, acai berries, marion berries, forbidden rice, and… hemp buds & cannabis? What do these colorful plants have in common? One very important thing - anthocyanins.
What exactly are anthocyanins anyways?
They are a type of polyphenol compound that is responsible for the purple, red, or blue color in plants. The color exhibited is determined by the level of acidity in the plant. When ingested, they can act as antioxidants; or, molecules that fight free radicals in your body.
Why do anthocyanins develop in hemp plants?
Over time, various species of plants have developed the ability to exhibit these vibrant colors for multiple reasons.
- The coloration provided by the accumulation of anthocyanins can help to attract pollinators like bees, while simultaneously protecting the plants from being eaten by herbivores usually attracted to the color green. This means that those purple hues may dissuade a deer from nibbling on your precious plants.
- They play a protective role against extreme temperatures. Growers will note that a cold night, especially late in the harvest season, can turn their hemp plants purple overnight!
- They protect photosynthetic tissues, essentially acting as sunscreen for the plants. Yes, even the rugged hemp plant can suffer from extreme sun and heat exposure.
Why do anthocyanins develop in hemp/ cannabis?
Anthocyanins develop in hemp and cannabis buds for some of the same reasons that they develop in other plants - as a protective role against extreme temperatures and certain spectrums of light. In fact, many indoor cannabis growers will manipulate the environment of their grow room to encourage the development of anthocyanins; either by adjusting the temperature or the spectrum of their grow lights. Colder temperatures tend to bring out these vibrant hues, so dropping the temperature at night is a tried and true method used by many hemp and cannabis growers. Additionally, during the breeding process, specific phenotypes of cannabis will be selected based on their ability to exhibit high amounts of anthocyanins (i.e. they turn bright purple), sometimes with or without environmental triggers. Sometimes a hemp of cannabis plant displays the purple color regardless of the environment and sometimes those genes must be switched on based on the conditions the plant experiences.
Now, once those specific phenotypes have been selected and stabilized, the CBD flower market is treated to the distinct colors and flavors of purple hemp buds seen in strains like Surver Haze, Hawaiian Haze, Purple Emperor, Immortal, Eden, and many more.
Why do anthocyanins matter?
Apart from the fact that they are responsible for producing some of the most beautiful hemp nugs we’ve ever seen, anthocyanins have been proven time and time again to be an important part of the human diet. Studies show that anthocyanin-rich diets may help protect against inflammation, cancer, obesity, heart disease and more. Purple kale, purple potatoes, elderberries, mixed greens and the like all contain super rich sources of antioxidants and are considered healthy superfoods. Not only do these plants look good, they are actually good for you!
Are we saying that anthocyanin-rich hemp plants are healthier than their green tinted cousins? Not exactly, as that remains to be scientifically proven. But we’re 100% saying that you should probably eat more blue and purple fruits and vegetables!
We're sure the purple hemp buds we have in certain hemp strains at Dreamland Organics would not only look great, but would have at least as many healthy effects as our other cultivars. Why not put a little color in your smoke and try some vibrant hemp nugs today?