What Do The Different Weed Colors Mean?

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weed colors cannabis
Author avatar By Parker Curtis
November 01, 2022
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Have you ever noticed how weed colors differ from one strain to the next? Some have bright green hues with dashes of orange, while others have more intriguing shades of purple or white. 

The most common color for buds is green in various shades. When you come across a rarer variety, you can’t help but feel fascinated. 

So, what colors can weed be? Why do cannabis strains come in different hues, and does it affect potency? 

Discover the answer to these questions as we unpack all the details below. We cover how the growing conditions affect the shades and how chemical compounds play a role. Join us as we learn all there is to know about different colored weed buds.

marijuana colors

What affects marijuana colors?

When cannabis crops grow, the environment, genetics, and other factors impact their color. In some cases, the leaves change shades during the different phases of maturity. 

Certain strains’ flowers turn blue or purple with temperature fluctuations. Others get attractive weed colors when there’s a change in the levels of the pH for cannabis. Let’s take a closer look at some of these factors. 

Growing Stage

When you examine a weed leaf during the early growth phases, the typical color is green. As they mature, some plants go through a process called senescence. 

The colors of the weed may change and lighten slightly. In most cases, these changes happen during the vegetative phase.

Temperature

To cultivate cannabis optimally, it’s essential to provide a warm environment. The exact temperatures vary depending on the strain, but a typical range is 65–85℉.

You shouldn’t drop the temperatures too much during the dark cycle for most cultivars. However, certain strains exhibit different marijuana colors from exposure to the cold

Cooler environments inhibit the production of chlorophyll, the pigment that gives plants a green shade. 

Nutrients and pH

When the nutrients and pH levels in the soil are suboptimal, it negatively impacts your cannabis crops. Their health deteriorates, which ultimately affects bud quality. 

One of the signs of a nutrient deficiency is discoloration. If the weed color is pale and there are dark spots on the foliage, it means your cannabis needs treatment. 

Low pH produces a reddish pigment, whereas high levels have blue hues. 

Trichomes

Have you ever noticed the small glandular appendages on marijuana buds? Those sticky glands are trichomes and add to the appeal of weed colors. 

During the late flowering stage, look out for the following trichome colors letting you know that harvest time is approaching:

  • Clear
  • White
  • Amber

The presence of trichomes affects the nugs’ aesthetics and, in some cases, makes them look as if they’re glistening. 

Genetics

Most cannabis strains come from a blend of cultivars. Landrace varieties are rare. The lineage affects the colors of weed in the descendants. 

Some cultivars that come from parents with anthocyanins inherit the blue hue in their genetics. Others have too much chlorophyll to reveal the secondary colors without grower intervention.

marijuana phytochemical

Colorful marijuana phytochemicals

There are multiple reasons science offers for the rainbow of available cannabis shades. The different colors of weed occur because of phytochemicals and biological compounds

Let’s delve deeper into some of the most common ones in cannabis plants.

Green color of weed (Chlorophyll)

Chlorophyll is the primary pigment available in the tissues of plants and makes up roughly 70%. It’s mainly responsible for two things.

Chlorophyll gives the green marijuana color and helps the crops absorb adequate light during photosynthesis. It’s the latter role that’s most important, and the reason plants contain so much of the pigment.

Yellow (Carotenoids)

Carotenoids display eye-catching yellow, orange, and red hues. Many crops display these colors during autumn as the leaves fall from the trees.

What color is weed when it contains this pigment? 

The shade varies. Some appear yellow or even slightly golden. The chemical makeup of each strain is complex. Combined with multiple environmental factors that affect crops, it’s easy to see why you can’t pinpoint the exact outcome.

When a strain has a high level of carotenoids, the weed colors show on the hairs of the buds and not the plant’s foliage. 

Orange color of cannabis (Carotenoids)

Cannabis with orange shades contains carotenoids. The pigment causes a variety of hues based on the chemical components present in the plant and the growing conditions. 

As with the yellow shades, orange-colored weed is visible on the nugs. 

Red and pink (Carotenoids and Anthocyanins)

A grower may get red cannabis because of incorrect pH levels, but the presence of certain pigments can cause this too. Carotenoids in your plant’s genetics might result in pink or red buds, but certain anthocyanins influence the cannabis colors. 

There are hundreds of anthocyanin molecules found in various flora. In marijuana, you can bring out their colors by increasing the light intensity in your grow room. The act stresses your plants, though, so don’t go overboard.

Blue and purple weed color (Anthocyanins)

In most cases, crops with anthocyanins in their genetics result in a different color weed, blue. Sometimes the shades are closer to purple.

To get attractive hues, growers expose the crops to cooler nighttime temperatures, which inhibits chlorophyll. The secondary shades then shine through.

blue and purple cannabis

White and cream colors (Flavonoids)

Some stunning marijuana buds appear to have minimal pigment. Flavonoids dominate these crops. Like anthocyanins, they result in different colors of weed, ranging from white to cream. 

In some cases, the shades are a pale yellow. Flavonoids play a crucial role in plant health by blocking out UV rays that could harm the crop. The color appears along with green hues.

Does weed color affect the potency of cannabis buds?

Some marijuana hues are captivating and leave you wondering if they have more intense effects. The truth is that marijuana bud colors don’t impact the nug’s potency, smell, or flavor

The myth might have risen to fame because of how certain pigments occur. If a grower exposed the buds to cold temperatures to reveal the secondary colors, they might have produced less THC. This action could stifle chlorophyll production resulting in reduced potency. 

The different colors of marijuana may impact how appealing they are but make little difference to how the toke will be. It’s best to assess cannabis potency on the THC levels and other strain facts.

Colorful cannabis

Cannabis is intriguing and comes in so many shades. The different colors are almost always a result of the genetics which decide what carotenoids, anthocyanins, or flavonoids are present in the plant.

The other factor is experienced cultivators playing around with temperature settings to bring out blue and purple hues.

Are you ready to find out what colors of marijuana will appear in your next harvest? Visit our seed store and start a cultivation journey today.


About the author: Parker Curtis

Parker Curtis has around a decade of cannabis-growing experience, specialising in soil-less and hydro grows. He’s mastering outdoor, greenhouse, and indoor grows.