'Albino’ Cannabis

No, it didn’t grow in the sewers of New York: Squashing the myths.


Many years ago a legend was born of albino cannabis growing in the sewers of New York City. Drug raids which caused people to discard their plants and seeds in the toilet meant they ended up in the pipes and sewers, leaving the strong and resilient ones to transform and evolve into a white fungus-like plant. The result was an albino strain of weed that grew without sunlight, reaching 12 feet in height, clogging the sewer system and thus being discovered by NYC sewer workers.

As intriguing as this legend sounds, it’s complete farce. Cannabis, like any green plant on this planet, needs sunlight for photosynthesis. It cannot cope without it; it has not reached an evolutionary stage that could allow it to thrive in lightless cave-like environments. While a sewer system has plenty of water and fertilizer, there’s no sunlight! Curious how some cannabis is grown? Learn More: How to Cultivate Using the Screen of Green Method

‘Albino’ Cannabis is Light-Bleached Cannabis

Yes, white cannabis does in fact exist. But it did not come into existence due to lack of sunlight. In fact, white strains get their colorless appearance when exposed to too much light.

While growing, light exposure as well as temperature deviations can change the plant’s colors. Some breeders will cultivate specific strains at lower temps to enhance the deep hues of purples and blues. Similarly, breeders can expose their plants to more light to light-bleach their strain. However, this is usually counterproductive.

Light-bleached strains generally have lower THC levels because the excessive light and heat obliterates the cannabinoids it produces. So while white cannabis may look really pretty, as if the flowers have been dipped in sparkling confectioners sugars, they more than likely won’t produce a high or stone worthy of your time. Many terpenes can become ruined in the process as well.

Learn More: Understanding Cannabis Terpenes

Some Thoughts to Consider

Miss Green Thumb of AllGreens Denver released pictures of an Orange Velvet crossed with Jack the Ripper to produce a strain of Agent Orange. It was exposed to too much light and thus had the albino, bleached appearance. This raises a few questions such as how differing strains’ genetics react to too much light and whether or not any produce more THC or other cannabinoids depending on light exposure.

All we can do now is push for legalization and approve of more growers taking to their gardens to expose the truths behind different cultivation techniques and their effects on the strains we enjoy today.