Cannabis leaves turn purple due to cooler temperatures (typically below 65 degrees Fahrenheit) and/or the presence of a group of flavonoids called anthocyanins. While pleasing to the eye, weed with purple leaves is not inherently “better” or more potent than weed with green leaves.
Why Some Cannabis Leaves Turn Purple
Purple cannabis is simply a cannabis plant where the leaves or buds take on purple coloration or shades of purple hue. This is usually due to the presence of anthocyanin, a water-soluble pigment. The more anthocyanin, the more purple the plant appears. Anthocyanins may appear red, blue, or black as well. They often appear in many fruits and vegetables, including berries, eggplant (aubergine), and purple cauliflower.
Cannabis is more likely to turn purple in colder temperatures, as cold breaks down chlorophyll (which is green) and allows anthocyanins to become dominant.
The Benefits of Anthocyanins
Anthocyanins are compounds called flavinoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In plants, anthocyanins attract pollinators and provide some protection against various stressors.
Additionally, anthocyanin specifically may have the following benefits:
Anti-diabetic: anthocyanin may lower blood glucose and improve insulin resistance.
Anti-cancer: anthocyanins may inhibit the spread of cancer cells.
Antimicrobial: anthocyanins have been shown to be effective in preventing the growth of gram-positive bacteria.
Antiobesity: anthocyanins regulate metabolic control and can reduce lipogenesis (fat creation), oxidative stress, and inflammation, which lead to obesity.
Anthocyanins may also improve blood lipid profiles and prevent certain cardiovascular diseases.
Is purple cannabis better than other types of cannabis?
There is no “best” type of cannabis — only the best one that works for you. If you find that you prefer purple-colored varieties, and then use those varieties! The color of the buds does not in and of itself confer quality.