Why Some Cannabis Is Purple & Why It’s Frickin Awesome

Are you rolling up some delicious Granddaddy Purple? There’s something about purple weed that’s special. If you’re meeting with friends, and someone pulls out a tasty-looking nub, shimmering in hues of purple, pink, and orange, you know you’re dealing with some dank.

Traditionally, purple weed is synonymous with strength. Most strains are indicas, and they leave you locked into the couch, with a heavy narcotic effect that’s ideal for promoting sleep and pain relief. Some recent breeding programs incorporated purple strains with other genetics, cutting the drowsy effect with sativas that lift you up.

Regardless of the genetics, most people start salivating when they lay eyes on a frosty-looking purple nug. What makes weed go purple? What are the best purple strains? Let’s look at everything you need to know about purple weed.

why some cannabis is purple

Why Is Some Weed Purple?

Plants that turn purple do so because of their genetics. There are specific strains that turn purple, and you can’t force just any old strain to produce purple flowers.

Purple plants display color in different ways, depending on their genetic history. Some cannabis turns entirely purple, even the leaves and stems, while other strains only see the buds, and some of the foliage turns purple.

The parts of the cannabis plant that display purple properties include the following.

  • Pistils (Hairs) – Some purple might remain after curing.
  • Calyxes (Resin glands and buds) – Turn purple with strong coloring.
  • Foliage – Some leaves turn entirely purple, while others may display purple colors at the base, tip, or leaves’ edges.
  • Trichomes – Some plants get purple coloring on the ends of the trichomes.

If you’re looking for strains that retain the darkest purple color after drying and curing, we recommend going with the so-called “black” strains. The drying and curing process reduces the purple coloring in most strains but not the potency.

what causes purple weed

What are the Smells and Flavors Associated with Purple Weed?                 

When we think of purple buds, we think of grape flavors. Grape flavors can taste like fruit or candy, depending on the strain. If you’re really into fruity weed then check out our guide to the fruitiest sweet strains.

Most purple bud produces a dense smoke with a rich flavor profile. Purple genetics have some interesting flavors, and you can expect tones of lavender with a very herbal scent.

Depending on what the cross strain is there are also skunky-garlicy strains with purple undertones like Scotti-Face and Tropicana Cookies, which itself has a nice full-mouth cookie aftertaste which pairs well with the fruity tropical smell up-front.

purple marijuana

Do Growing Conditions Play a Role in Turning Cannabis Purple? 

Back in the day, the only bud that turned purple was the cold-weather strains like Purple Haze. When the air gets cold in the last days of summer, early fall, these purple strains come into bloom, slowly turning purple throughout the final few weeks before harvest.

So, why does bud turn purple? Cannabis plants with the purple gene typically have high concentration anthocyanins, a group of flavonoids with antioxidant effects. These polyphenols are blue, red, or purple in color, and combinations of these colors form the legendary pink strains.

Selective breeding of strains allowed growers to isolate plants offering purple coloring. As a result of breeding programs, we have some super-tasty purple cannabis strains available in indicas, sativas, and hybrids.

Cracking and growing seeds from these purple strains ensures you get a colorful plant during its lifestyle and after curing and drying the bud. Using LED lighting in your grow-room also helps bring out the colors in the anthocyanins found in the plant.

Finally, exposing your plants to a cold source in the dark cycle, such as dry ice around the roots, spurring the color change with your plants.                              

We recommend keeping your room at the following temperatures for optimal chances of turning your cannabis plant purple.

  • Warm Days (75-80°F)
  • Cool Comfortable Nights (65-70°F)
best purple strains

What are the Best-Selling Purple Cannabis Strains?

#1 Grape Ape (Indica)

The legend of Mendocino Purps crosses with Afghani and Skunk to produce this hit strain with connoisseurs. Its strong grape-scented aroma and flavor make it a tasty smoke or vape, with plenty of terpenes.

>If you’re reading this list and wondering how the hell people come up with these strain names, then check out our “how strains get their names” post, we promise it’s a fascinating read!

#2 Purple Urkle (Indica)

A potent strain thought to be a descendant of Granddaddy Purple or Medicino Purps, but no-one knows its real origin. It’s a strong high with powerful narcotic effects.

#3 Purple Berry (Indica)

This strain is an indica with Blueberry and Granddaddy Purple as the contributing genetics. You get dense flowers dripping with resin and colorful additions of pink and blue in the plant.

#4 Granddaddy Purple (Indica)

This cross of Big Bud and Purple Urkle creates one of the most legendary purple strains of the last decade. This plant has a deep purple color that almost appears black in flowering. You get a distinct berry/grape aroma and flavor profile.

#5 Purple Kush (Indica)

This strain features a combination of Purple Afghani and Hindu Kush. Surprisingly, it produces sensations of euphoria and an awake high that’s not characteristic of indicas. It’s an uplifting high with flavor tones of lavender and incense.

#6 Grape Skunk (Indica)

This citrus-flavored bud has overtones of grapefruit, blueberries, and grapes. Not surprisingly, it comes from the stock of Grapefruit, Blueberry, and Super Skunk, producing a flower that’s “loud,” stinking out the room.

#7 Purple Haze (Sativa)

Purple Haze is the original purple weed. Long before anybody started experimenting with genetics, Jimi Hendrix was puffing Purple Haze on stage while he wailed out the lyrics to the song. It’s a classic strain with a potent high and a distinctive purple color that overtakes the entire plant.

Purple Haze is considered by many to be a solid strain for focusing because despite it’s purple undertones, and despite purple flowers being more closely associated with Indicas this Purple Haze keeps your mind clear all while delivering a solid high, making it a great choice for studying or confidently crushing out some menial work.

#8 Purple Diesel (Hybrid)

This hybrid blends the pain-relieving power and mind-blowing strength of Sour Diesel with Bubba Kush, another strain know for producing a “platinum” color effect. This strain is heavy, closing your eyes after a few minutes on the couch. It’s the ideal remedy for insomniacs.

If you’re a fan of the diesel/gasoline strains and looking to spice it up with something a bit more exotic then Purple Diesel is probably worth a try if you find it at your local dispensary!

#9 Purple Space Cookies (Hybrid)

This bud is a cross between the legendary Durban Poison and the infamous Girl Scout Cookies. It’s a true B.C. strain with an amazing purple finish. The flavor profile is outstanding, giving you the flavor profile of DP, with the strength of GSC.

If you’re a GSC fan then you need to check out Cookies strains by Berner and company, you won’t be disappointed!

#10 Mendocino Purps (Hybrid)

Last but not least is Medicino Purps. This lant turns purple in the final two or three weeks of flowering, producing a mesmerizing effect.

Earning a spot in “High Times Top Strains of the Year” for 2007, it’s a building block for many modern purple strains. You get a powerful narcotic effect with overtones of berries and grapes, with a powerfully pungent aroma.

#11 Honorable Mention: Sirius Black (Indica Dominant Hybrid)

Sirius Black is a super deep purple indica dominant strain with a utterly decadent myrcene dominant terpene profile that produces a smell reminiscent of a big bowl of fresh picked purple grapes turning slightly soft out in the sun on a hot summer day.

When opening the jar it smells like grape Kool-Aid. Grown by Oregon Breeders Group and a personal favorite of Herb CEO staff the only reason this strain isn’t #1 is because it’s just not that well-known outside of Oregon.

Still, this flower is so dark purple it almost looks black, hence the “Sirius Black” nomenclature. The smoke is smooth and it can be had in dispensaries around Oregon for a very reasonable price, especially given it’s exotic nature.

>If you’re not married to purple-only strains and looking to catch up on strains with history and provenance then check out our “best selling strains” roundup where we highlight the most purchased strains across America based on dispensary sales data.

HerbCEO Final Thoughts

Herb CEO Summary

There’s a lot of misconceptions out there. For example many people believe all purple colored cannabis is by default Indica-dominant. While they do tend to lean that way that is more a result of breeding and sales than it is a law of nature.

Another common myth is that purple strains get their color only because they are grown with LED lighting. While LED lightning can help accentuate naturally purple tones programmed into the plants genetics, the light itself does not produce the color alone.

With these things in mind however we still encourage you to explore the world of purple, it’s a deep, rich, sweet, tasty little paradise and deserves more love.

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