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For pot pros and beginners alike, the psychoactive effects of THC are only one small aspect of the overall cannabis experience. Beyond the high, there’s the aroma, the flavor, the size of the buds, and perhaps most importantly, the colors.

From sparkly green flower and deep purple buds to strains dotted with bright red and orange hairs, cannabis buds reflect an entire rainbow of candy-colored hues. So what gives weed its vibrant colors, and what strains should you look for when hunting for that perfect purple bud? We have all the answers to your burning questions in the Jars Guide to Colorful Buds.

How Does Weed Get Its Color?

We’re about to get a little science-y on you but we promise it’s fun — this is weed science after all. So how does weed get its color? Well, it depends on what colors you’re talking about.

For our favorite green nugs, chlorophyll is the culprit, which you may remember from science class back in the day. This chemical compound that is found in nearly every plant is responsible for turning sunlight into energy for the plant. In other words, the same thing that makes your lawn green is the same thing that gives weed its traditional grassy hue.

When it comes to the more uncommon colors like red, purple, orange, and even black buds, the answer is a little more complex. Based on genetics and environmental factors like temperature and nutrition, the cannabis plant starts to produce pigments known as anthocyanins. While this word may sound like a bunch of gibberish, you’ve already seen these guys at work in fruits and vegetables like raspberries, cabbage, and eggplants — just like cannabis, anthocyanins give them their rich color too.

Smoke The Rainbow

Now that we have science out of the way, it’s time for the fun part: which buds are going to dazzle your smoking buddies with their colorful display. While each strain of cannabis is different, there are generally a number of strains you can count on for a colorful smoking experience.

Grandaddy Purp

Grandaddy Purple — otherwise known as GDP for short — has been a staple in California’s indica-heavy scene since the start of the early 2000s. Born from a cross between Purple Urkle and Big Bud, GDP is one of the weed world’s most notorious purple varieties, with a delicious dash of berry flavor to match its good-enough-to-eat purple coloring.


First introduced into the market by famous cultivator Ken Estes in the San Francisco Bay Area, Grandaddy Purple has set the bar for purple strains around the globe, with name drops by the likes of every hip-hop artist from Lil Wayne to G-Eazy. Needless to say, this purple bud is a fan favorite.

Forbidden Fruit

A blend of Cherry Pie and Tangie, Forbidden Fruit is a colorful strain that usually leaves people feeling relaxed yet euphoric and light. It gets its name from its drool-worthy tropical taste, with notes of mango and passionfruit, but long before you even discover the flavor, you’ll be enamored by its unforgettable appearance.

Color-wise, this near-perfect strain stands out from the pack with light green leaves that are layered on top of dark green leaves, all completely wrapped in a layer of fuzzy orange hair. Go one step further by breaking apart the nugs and you’ll be delighted with a display of pink undertones. All in all, one look at these buds and you’ll want to take a bite out of this Forbidden Fruit too.

The Black

A pure purple strain that can be traced back to both Canada and California in the wild wild west of pre-legalization times, The Black gets its heavy metal-inspired name from its dark coloring, with buds so richly purple that they’re often mistaken for black.

In addition to the Black’s dark and frosty appearance, its indica-dominant attributes will have you melting into your couch with a smile on your face. While it is a difficult strain to find, its reputation is unmatched in both color and effects.

Pink Kush

Rarely making an appearance as the main color, pink will often make show up on the little hairs found on nugs called stigma. While their color is subtle, it does make a big impact on certain strains like Pink Kush.

Sometimes called Pink OG, Pink Kush comes from the OG Kush lineage. In addition to its signature blush tone, it can also come in green or a mix of purple and green, with a slight pink shine tucked away inside the buds like a special surprise. Although these buds may sometimes appear to have very little actual pink on them, the full plant will grow with a stunning amount of beautiful pink stigma right before the buds are harvested.

Northern Lights

Resulting from a combination of Afghani and Thai strains, this cultivar is known for crystal-covered leaves that seem to twinkle like the night sky. The nugs are dusted with sparkly residue that makes this anxiety-reducing indica look like the cosmos — and may take your mind there too. It is known to send those enjoying it off into space and ready for a night of restful, pain-free sleep.

It also offers a spicy yet sweet flavor that makes it great for both at-home edibles and bong rips. While it may not be the brightest or the boldest on this list, its unique starry effect makes it sparkle just a bit brighter than the competition.

Final Words

While these are some of the most infamous colorful cannabis strains in the game, new strains continue to fight it out for the top spot every day. As we continue to dive deeper into the science of weed, we discover new ways to bring the plant’s color to life and onto our dispensary shelves. Pull up to Jars today and find what colorful buds we have for your smoking pleasure — we’re kinda like the pot of gold at the end of a weed rainbow.


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