Did you know there are photographers who make a very good living just by taking pictures of food? The best ones make $200,000 per year or even more.
The legal cannabis industry isn’t big enough to allow lots of talented photographers to make that kind of living by taking pictures of weed. At least, not yet. But there’s no question that seeing well-lit, well-composed photos of top-shelf flower can make your taste buds water.
And some strains don’t need much help from a talented photographer. These marijuana strains are so beautiful that they immediately catch your eye.
If you happen to see them in a dispensary, in fact, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to take your eyes off of them until they’re safely tucked into a bag and on their way home with you.
Which strains are those? And do their effects match their vibrant colors?
Let’s find out.
What’s Responsible for Weed’s Colors?
When we’re talking about beautiful marijuana strains, we’re primarily talking about the many colors they can display.
There are other factors, of course. The colors should be vibrant and bright, but the buds should be fat, tightly trimmed, and healthy-looking, with glistening trichomes blanketing the flower.
High-quality cannabis, though, can be green, orange, yellow, purple, pink, red, blue, or even black. And very often, the most beautiful marijuana strains will display an assortment of those colors.
What causes weed to take on different colors? In a word, anthocyanins.
Like all plants that depend on the sun, cannabis contains lots of green-pigmented chlorophyll. It’s needed to turn sunlight into chemical energy through the process of photosynthesis.
When weed plants are in their flowering stage, however, they produce less and less chlorophyll. That’s because the days become shorter when plants are grown outdoors, and indoor plants are exposed to fewer hours of light to tell them it’s time to flower.
Dwindling amounts of chlorophyll mean that other pigments in the plant will no longer be hidden by chlorophyll’s green color. The most important of those pigments are flavonoids known as anthocyanins, which may take on different colors depending on the acidity of their soil and their water supply.
For example, very acidic soil can cause anthocyanins to turn red, “neutral” soil can produce a purple flower, and alkaline soil may produce yellow weed. That doesn’t always happen; color also depends on the plant’s genetics and other growing conditions.
Here’s the important takeaway: the color of a cannabis plant has nothing to do with its THC or terpene content, so weed’s color doesn’t tell you how potent it will be. Potency depends primarily on the strain, growing conditions, and the way the buds have been treated during the drying and curing processes.
But colored marijuana definitely looks gorgeous. Here are some strains that will be feasts for your eyes as well as your taste buds and your brain.
5 Most Beautiful Marijuana Strains
Clichés become clichés because they’re true, and the one we’re thinking of is “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
You may think you’ve seen strains even more beautiful than these. You probably have, because we can’t judge with your eyes, only with ours. And here are the ones that have caught our attention.
1. Rainbow Kush
Yes, we’re suckers for colors. We loved the 64-color box of Crayolas as kids, too.
There’s no denying the fact, though, that the array of colors displayed by properly-grown Rainbow Kush is absolutely beautiful, with abundant clusters of bright green, purple, orange, and yellow buds. We dare you to walk by this strain at your local dispensary without stopping and staring in wonder.
The colors don’t indicate potency, as we’ve mentioned, although Rainbow Kush can approach 20% THC content. It’s an 85/15 indica-dominant strain that’s highly valued by medical patients for its effects. And surprisingly, it won’t lock you to the couch, either. It provides a mellow but functional high; some even say it enhances their creativity.
And did we mention that it’s an exceptionally-beautiful marijuana strain?
2. Black Russian
Yes, there’s really black weed. And to misuse another old cliché, black is beautiful.
In most cases, the black in the Black Russian flower isn’t 100% black. It’s more often very, very dark shades of purple or crimson with red tinges and pale hairs.
You’re right; we didn’t mention black when we were discussing the colors that anthocyanins can take on. We did mention purple and red (crimson counts as a shade of red), though, and there’s one other factor to consider.
A few strains, either because they are pure Vietnamese landraces or have been bred from landraces, have genetics that predisposes them to appear black. (Vietnamese Black is almost totally black and beautiful, too.) These strains are rare but gorgeous.
Black Russian is bred from one of them, Black Domina (along with White Russian). It’s a potent 80/20 indica hybrid with classic indica properties, likely to provide complete relaxation and sedation.
3. Purple Berry Kush
It’s not just the flower that makes this strain so attractive.
Sure the buds are beautiful, with color streaks that can be blue, purple, orange, and/or pink. But even the leaves are colorful, with bright purple patterns appearing on the green leaves.
Purple Berry Kush will delight your other senses, with a sweet and nutty aroma, a heavy flavor on blueberry and herbs, and THC content that can top 20%. As for the high, this 80/20 indica hybrid typically produces a dreamy, trippy state that progresses into a mellow experience that’s ideal for chilling with friends. It’s also known for its strong pain relief.
When you’re thinking about the most beautiful marijuana strains, don’t always focus on purple and black. Think about milky white, too.
We’re referring, of course, to trichomes. And in addition to its purple buds and orange pistils, Mimosa is one of the strains most likely to be covered with a glorious, extremely-thick layer of those frosty, glistening trichomes that signal weed goodness.
This 70/30 sativa strain is uplifting in small doses and sedating in large ones, with a delicious fruity taste and as much as 27% THC content. It’s great for stress relief, too.
Only about 50% of Shaman plants have beautiful color — but that 50% is worth finding.
The pink or purple buds may take on different shades, and they are accented by pistils that can also be either pink or purple. Flower from the colored plants doesn’t taste quite as sweet, but its spice is still delicious.
Shaman is sativa-dominant, so it starts with the euphoric head rush you’d expect, providing energy that can verge on the psychedelic. Soon, though, it morphs into a soothing high that can relax you or even put you right to sleep.
Most Beautiful Marijuana Strains: FAQ
Q: Can growers manipulate their plants’ colors?
A: To a degree. Changing the pH of the soil (pH measures acidity) can bring out certain colors, as can nutrient deficiencies. Some strains only show their inherent colors in specific temperatures, and others may become more vibrant when exposed to additional light. That’s a tricky business, though, which might also damage or kill a plant — and some plants simply don’t have the genetics to display colors other than the trademark green of cannabis.
Q: Are anthocyanins always responsible for a cannabis plant’s color?
A: They’re usually the flavonoid that determines the color, but a few others found in marijuana plants can also play a role; carotenoids are sometimes responsible for orange- or yellow-colored weed.
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Milne, B. F., Toker, Y., Rubio, A., & Nielsen, S. B. (2015). Unraveling the intrinsic color of chlorophyll. Angewandte Chemie, 127(7), 2198-2201 .
Cash, M. C., Cunnane, K., Fan, C., & Romero-Sandoval, E. A. (2020). Mapping cannabis potency in medical and recreational programs in the United States. PloS one, 15(3), e0230167 .