What Causes Marijuana To Turn Purple?

Marijuana comes in many different shapes and sizes. It also comes in many different shades. Some marijuana nugs could be light green, while some could be dark green. Some can even have a nice coating of white on them. But that’s not all. Marijuana can even turn into a color that might not make sense to some people: purple. But why purple? What causes marijuana to become this color? Well, let’s dive into it.

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What Are Purple Nugs?

Before we talk about what causes nugs to turn purple, let’s talk about what purple nugs are (it’s best if we are all on the same page here). Well, have you ever seen marijuana that looks like this:

Purple Nug

Or what about this:

Purple Nug 2

The first picture shows a nug that has a small amount of purple in it. The second picture, however, shows a nug that is almost completely purple. But what’s the difference in these besides shades?

Purple marijuana nugs look impressive to some, and can even be used to market marijuana. Some sellers use purple nugs to showcase their marijuana supply and get people to buy it. Some even claim that the purple in the nugs causes them to be more potent. But is this true? In this post, we will debunk this common myth and more.

How Do They Turn Purple?

So, to answer this whole post in one sentence, marijuana nugs turn purple due to the number of anthocyanins in them. Anthocyanins are naturally occurring pigments found in many plants. They can cause a plant to become a variety of colors, including red, black, blue, and (of course) purple. The color that the plant takes on depends on its pH level. Anthocyanins are the reason why some grapes are red, blueberries are blue, and blackberries are black.


Only certain strains of marijuana contain anthocyanins. This is why some marijuana strains have no purple in them. This is also why some strains have more purple in them than others. It all depends on the genetics of the plant and how it is grown.

Most weed looks primarily green, right? This is due to something called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll helps plants to make energy from the sun through a process known as photosynthesis. Normally, chlorophyll is dominant in plants. This is the reason why most plants (including cannabis) have green as their primary color, then may have a secondary color. In certain conditions, however, things can change and cause the anthocyanins to become more visible.

Those certain conditions include changes in temperatures and seasons. Just like a tree’s leaves can change colors in fall, a cannabis plant’s leaves can also change colors as the plant matures. If a cannabis plant were to grow in the wild, the leaves would change colors as the trees did, due to decreases in temperatures and longer nights. Colder temperatures cause chlorophyll to break down, allowing other colors to become more visible.

Some growers use this knowledge to their advantage to produce purple marijuana nugs. Now, you do need to use a certain strain of marijuana to even get a small amount of purple in your nugs, but there is a way to make the purple more dominant. As stated in the last paragraph, colder temperatures allow for colors besides green to show more. This includes purple. So, some growers may keep their marijuana plants under colder conditions for some periods to allow the anthocyanins to show more. Too much cold, however, could damage a plant and even cause it to die.

Another common myth about growing purple marijuana plants is that you can get more purple in them by starving them of nutrients. This, however, is a very bad idea. For one, it does not even work. Secondly, plants are similar to humans in the sense that they need nutrients to survive. Without the proper nutrients, a marijuana plant could become sick and die.

Is Purple Weed More Potent?

Putting visual aspects to the side, does purple cause marijuana to become more potent? The answer to that is no. Scientific studies have proven that anthocyanins and coloring do not affect the potency of marijuana. These studies have also found that anthocyanins contain certain antioxidants. These would only benefit a user who digested the anthocyanins, and not smoked them. But do not use purple marijuana just for its antioxidants. Search for a strain that is high in CBD, and you will benefit much more from that.

What are your thoughts on purple marijuana? As visually impressive as it may seem, it has nothing to do with potency. Thanks for reading!

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Evan Weston

Evan Weston is a contributor to Reefer Posts, a growing community for exploring the developing market of Cannabis and CBD-related products. He spends a lot of time researching the development of health-related products that utilize Cannabis and CBD oils. He also keeps tabs on the developing legal environment regarding medical, recreational cannabis use, and production.

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