Anthocyanins, derived from the Greek for flower and dark blue, anthos + kyáneos, are water-soluble pigments found in the vacuoles of plant cells and they are responsible for any red, purple or blue hues seen in the leaves, flowers, stems and fruits. Dark fruits and vegetables such as blackberries, plums, grapes, cranberries, cherries or aubergines represent a few examples of some anthocyanin-rich plants.
Anthocyanins in cannabis plants
In cannabis plants, the leaves, stems and buds normally reflect yellowish or green tones. However, some genetic strains display vibrant red, blue or purple shades. Therefore, when we describe some of our marijuana strains with bright colours in their names like red, purple and blue, they always manage to arouse the curiosity of cannabis growers.
At Sweet Seeds®, we have our own family of seeds that produce this highly appreciated purple, blue or red pigmentation when the marijuana plants are flowering – we call our collection of anthocyanin-rich plants The Red Family.
There are hundreds of different anthocyanins which when combined in a single tissue generate a wide range of intensities, shades and colours.
- Malvidin: imparts a purple colour.
- Flavones: yellow.
- Delphinidin: blue.
- Cyanidin: violet.
- Pelargonidin : orangey-red.
What causes this colour change in our marijuana plants?
The answer to this question lies in the plants’ genetics. We developed our The Red Family collection after several rounds of selective breeding and plant hybridisation and determining the appropriate genes required to promote these striking colours in our cannabis plants.
Just as the potency, aroma or size of the buds is established by the strain’s genes, the same is also true of the purple colouration. Most purple or lavender-coloured strains have usually been developed from an indica lineage or they are hybrids with a mainly indica composition. They almost always feature Afghan or Kush genetics. They tend to have a primarily relaxing and hypnotic effect, which is typical of indica plants.
Thanks to these studies and hybridisation programmes, we have managed to ensure that many of the strains in our The Red Family collection yield purple, blue or reddish buds in up to 95% of the plants. However, we are still striving to increase the intensity of the colours we have achieved so far in our family of red flowering plants.
Resins with red, blue or purple shades?
If you think that growing cannabis plants with red, blue or purple shades is something incredible, imagine extracting the resin from these beautiful plants. Anthocyanins are also found inside marijuana’s resin glands (trichomes), so the plants in our Red Family produce resin extractions of unparalleled beauty.
Other factors influencing the colour change observed in marijuana plants.
There are actually several factors that can cause some There are actually several factors that can cause some cannabis plants to produce purple, red or blueish buds. to produce purple, red or blueish buds.
- Climate: Different climates can affect the colour of the plant’s flowers. This is particularly true of areas with colder nighttime temperatures or in the case of marijuana plants grown outdoors which have to cope with an abnormally cool end to the summer.
This is because when marijuana plants are exposed to cooler weather conditions they produce less chlorophyll – the pigment that gives plants their green colour – which subsequently allows other pigments to become more predominant and visible. 95% of the plants grown from strains in our Red Family display these colourful shades naturally thanks to their genetics; the plants do not need to undergo any special processes. You will be able to watch as their leaves, buds and even the resin glands acquire a red, blue or purple colouration.
- Nutritional deficiencies: This is another factor that can encourage cannabis plants to change colour. Plants sometimes turn lavender if they lack phosphorus or nitrogen. While a sulphur deficiency can result in the appearance of purple stripes on the plant’s stem.
- Temperature changes: Another factor that can lead to plants changing from green to purple, red or blue are marked temperature differences between day and night. If, for example, the temperature drops by 10 °C or more after nightfall, this will increase the expression of anthocyanins and produce more colourful plants.
- pH levels: There is a strong correlation between pH level and the colour produced by anthocyanins. In highly acidic media, the plants take on reddish hues, while more alkaline conditions give blueish tones. And if the pH can be kept at intermediate levels between acid and alkaline, the cannabis plants will display purple or lavender shades.
Is there any relationship between anthocyanins and the medicinal properties of cannabis?
Flavonoids and anthocyanins have important pharmacological and therapeutic properties, which has awoken a lot of interest in the scientific community. After conducting various in vitro tests, researchers have shown that they have important properties such as antioxidant, hypoallergenic, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activity, as well as a neuroprotective capacity.
Humans eat flavonoid-rich foods every day. They are usually found in vegetables and are almost certainly the key to the health benefit derived by people who eat a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Some foods with a high anthocyanin content include cranberries, blackberries and goji berries, and all of these are considered to confer a lot of health benefits, above all thanks to their antioxidant properties.
Cultivate your marijuana plants and let yourself blush
Remember that marijuana plants can acquire purple, red and blue shades during the flowering stage. So, including some feminised seeds from our The Red Family collection in your next marijuana crop will make you blush when your plants start to show off all of their beautiful, bright hues in their leaves and buds.
Sweet Seeds S.L is not responsible for the misuse of the information contained in this article. Cultivation of cannabis may constitute a criminal offence or administrative misdemeanour; please refer to the legislation on cannabis in your place of residence. Sweet Seeds S.L. does not intend in any case to incite non-legal practices.