Is purple cannabis better than green?

Published Oct 14, 2022 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Olga Tsareva

What’s the first thing you do when you buy cannabis? Chances are you answered with some combination of visual inspection and a sniff test, but what are you looking for exactly?

Most stay on the lookout for crystal-covered nugs, a good indicator of healthy trichome production and maturity, and if it’s possible to give a bud a squeeze, cannaisseurs love to find the stickiest ones. Smelling cannabis gives us some idea of which terpenes may lay hidden amongst the plant materials, but what, if anything, does the colour tell us?

Purple is one of the most common colour variations found in cannabis even if it is just light hues. However, most consumers believe this feature alone is a great indicator of quality, and that’s not necessarily always true.

Here, we will address this common misconception, explain in detail what causes this glorious aesthetic appeal, and just in case it’s something you really want to try, we’ll end with a beautiful list complete with the most vibrant purple strains money can buy.

What is purple cannabis?

Certain types of cannabis produce stunning purple flowers, and though it’s beautiful to look at with an enchanting feel that might make you think it’s the potent elements within causing this behaviour, these cultivars simply have the genetics to look different. It is important to note that certain environmental factors may cause buds to turn a shade of purple, it’s the plant's genetic makeup that will produce this look time and time again, no matter what happens.

The colour is sometimes the result of anthocyanins, which are water-soluble pigments that may be purple, blue or red. When pH levels are neutral, almost any cultivar may produce flower with a purple hue. Chlorophyll blocks anthocyanins from view, so the pigments do not typically appear until the very last few weeks prior to harvest. Less light exposure is what triggers a reduction in chlorophyll production which may cause orange or gold hues instead.

Is purple weed better than green?

Though it might look like something that’s from out of this world, purple cannabis isn’t generally any more potent than other strains that produce green buds. Some experts point to the power that anthocyanins have to do things like reducing pain or relieving inflammation as a reason to consider purple strains superior, however, there isn’t much research on how smoking them might alter those properties.

There is one clear benefit of purple cannabis for cultivators, and that is because this feature is hard to accentuate even with strains that are known for being purple, so only those with knowledge and skills tend to succeed at reproducing it.

Purple strains

If you want purple weed either to grow or consume, then we highly recommend checking out one on this list of awesome purple strains. Some are more vibrant than others, but they should all boast at least some of this exotic colour:

  • Grape Ape
  • Tropicana Cookies
  • Purple Haze
  • Sherbert
  • Obama Kush
  • Purple Skunk
  • Mendocino Purple
  • Purple Kush
  • Purple Urkle
  • Candyland
All about exotic cannabis strains


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