Blueberries, blackberries, purple carrots, eggplants, acai berries, forbidden rice, and… cannabis? What do these plants have in common? One very important thing - anthocyanins.
Great, but what are anthocyanins?
They are a type of polyphenol compound that is responsible for the purple, red, or blue color in plants. The color exhibited is determined by the level of acidity in the plant. When ingested, they can act as antioxidants; or, molecules that fight free radicals in your body.
Why do anthocyanins develop in plants?
Over time, various species of plants have developed the ability to exhibit these striking colors for a variety of reasons.
- The coloration provided by the accumulation of anthocyanins can help to attract pollinators, while simultaneously protecting the plants from being eaten by herbivores usually attracted to the color green.
- They play a protective role against extreme temperatures.
- They protect photosynthetic tissues, essentially acting as sunscreen for the plants.
Why do anthocyanins develop in cannabis?
Anthocyanins develop in cannabis for some of the same reasons that they develop in other plants - as a protective role against extreme temperatures and certain spectrums of light. In fact, many indoor cannabis growers will manipulate the environment of their grow room to encourage the development of anthocyanins; either by adjusting the temperature or the spectrum of their lights. Additionally, during the breeding process, specific phenotypes of cannabis will be selected based on their ability to exhibit high amounts of anthocyanins (i.e. they turn very purple), sometimes with or without environmental triggers.
Now, once those specific phenotypes have been selected and stabilized, the cannabis world is treated to the distinct colors and flavors of purple cannabis seen in strains like Granddaddy Purple, Purple Kush, Purple Emperor, Painted Lady, Pink Panther, and more.
Why are anthocyanins important?
Apart from the fact that they are responsible for producing some of the most beautiful cannabis we’ve ever seen, anthocyanins have been proven time and time again to be an important part of the human diet. Research shows that anthocyanin-rich diets may protect against inflammation, cancer, obesity, heart disease and more.
Are we saying that anthocyanin-rich cannabis can do this? Absolutely not. But we’re 100% saying that you should probably eat more blueberries!