Plants as white as snow?! That's the rumour sweeping the Web like wildfire and sparking interest both in and inside out the cannabis world. But is there any truth to this bit about marijuana as white as an iceberg? Is it simply a myth out there on the Web, or do albino marijuana plants really exist?
Cannabis forums are teeming with testimonies from growers who claim to be cultivating albino marijuana. They say that the answer is “yes,” that they are growing white plants with incredible snowy ends, the fruit of some genetic mutation. But other growers maintain that it’s all just a question of some trick lighting. Let's analyse the different theories underlying these plants' extraordinary white colour.
The yeti has been discovered! Albino marijuana whitens the Web
Albino marijuana was like the yeti of the cannabis world: tremendously elusive, seen by few, and doubted by many. Its existence had acquired legendary status due to its very rare appearances, until a few years ago photos began to pop up all over different cannabis forums, and the alarm went off alerting people to its existence.
The mystery of albino marijuana fuelled a myth in all the cannabis forums
The truth is that, in view of its incredible appearance, with radically white buds, the commotion caused by these plants is hardly surprising. The most qualified voices explained that it was a genetic mutation, caused by the genes that control chlorophyll production, although there were also those who attributed it to strong decolouration caused by high-intensity lamps.
This is called “variegation” and is an incredible mutation
But botanists and other experts from the plant world arrived and cleared up all possible doubts: “It's called ‘variegation’ and is probably one of the most striking mutations that can be witnessed in the cannabis world.” This anomaly occurs when the genes that control the production of chlorophyll are not expressed correctly, giving rise to plants with albino characteristics.
The incorrect expression of this gene yields some beautiful effects
When this mutation takes place there appear plants that are totally white, or with incredible patterns, coloured or colourless. It all depends on the cause of the albinism: if it is due to a double albino gene the whole plant is white. If it comes from a malfunction of the genes that regulate chlorophyll production, it will feature patterns or areas as white as snow.
And what about plants that are “albinoised” by high-intensity lamps?
The forums were also bursting with impressive white plants that looked quite enticing. The growers who planted them claimed (and it was no lie) that if the plants are placed right next to Ultra High- Intensity Discharge (U-HID) lamps, they begin to whiten, giving rise to incredible buds, genuine snow-covered spearheads!
The effects of sticking them right next to high-intensity lamps seem incredible, but they are deceptive.
The milky effect achieved is not albinism, but decolouration. With their great luminescent power, high-intensity lamps degrade the chlorophyll, as their wave spectrum is greater than that the plant can withstand. Put simply: they “burn” the photopigments of the chlorophyll and make it disappear. As a consequence, the plant has less energy to produce the flowers ‘active ingredients, which are of far less quality!
Beauties with low cannabis indexes
The value of albino marijuana plants is more aesthetic than cannabis-related, due to their peculiar genetics, which hamper or prevent the photosynthesis process. If they are authentic albinos, 100% “white ladies,” it is impossible for them to complete this process to feed themselves. If they are only partially albino they will be able to synthesise sunlight in the parts of their structure that are green and contain chlorophyll.
Despite their stunning appearances, these phenotypes actually yield very poor results.
Although at times they (those that are not totally albino) can yield good-quality grass, their productivity will always be lower than their green counterparts - especially if the decolouration also extends to the buds. When this happens (whether due to a genetic or luminescent factor) they will lack the key elements needed to produce optimal cannabis.
But how are albino marijuana plants nourished if they cannot carry out photosynthesis?
Most of the pure albino plants appearing in your garden will not survive very long. Their lack of chlorophyll pigment is lethal; without it, they don't have the tools to produce the elements necessary for their survival and growth. Thus, their offspring, from totally albino mothers, almost invariably end up dying.
The vast majority of totally albino plants do not thrive
That having been said, there are cases (which science has not been able to fully understand) in which the albino plants develop other mechanisms to obtain food (when they proceed from a seed). It is believed that one variety of albino marijuana could obtain its energy in a parasitic way, by depriving other plants or organisms of nutrients they had previously produced.