I had no intention of buying the Purple Unicorn when I walked into Hashtag Cannabis in Fremont last week. But after I found the pot I was I looking for (a particular strain of kush that tastes like chai tea) the budtender said “you have to check this out” as she reached for a wax-dipped jar. “It’s unbelievably purple.”
In her hand was a jar of pot made by the pot farm Kiona that was so deep purple that it almost appeared black. The nugs were small and covered in frosty crystals, making the bud look a deep purple cotton candy. The label said Purple Unicorn. I needed to try it.
When I got home I put the pot in my grinder and out came a purply mix of weed that smelled lightly herbal. I loaded a bowl and inhaled a smooth and pleasant smoke that was immediately mentally relaxing. The high wasn’t overpowering, just a pleasant relaxing trip.
The purple you see in pot is caused by chemicals called anthocyanins, which are pigments that are found in abundance in grapes, blueberries, and raspberries. Kiona is an outdoor farm near the Tri-Cities and the pigment in their Purple Unicorn shifts with the changing seasons, according to John Careatti, who works for Kiona.
“Our earliest batches in the spring are more of a deep mauve, it then takes on slightly more red into the summer, and then a bit more blue to a deep dark purple which we have flowering now in the fall,” Careatti said in an e-mail.
Anthocyanins have been linked to a number of health benefits, including having anti-inflammatory properties, anti-carcinogenic properties, and anti-anxiety properties, although measuring these effects in humans has been difficult.
Careatti said their Purple Unicorn is their most reliable anxiety reducing strain.
“Again, this is somewhat affected by the batch,” Careattie said. “The spring batches are a touch more stimulating, and the fall batches tend to come out a bit more deep in their ability to calm. Coincidentally, the nose on the spring purple unicorns are a bit more zesty and vibrant, and the fall crops a bit more heavier and more dense.”
I think my jar must have been filled with the fall crop because these buds were dense and heavy, the type of pot that you should always run through a grinder to make it burn smoother and fully expose all of its aroma. This is the kind of weed that shows the dramatic variety of pot. Weed can be orange and smell like tangerines, it can be green and smell like bananas, and it can even be a purple unicorn.