Rolling Paper 101
Rolling a joint is one of the historically iconic methods of smoking cannabis. With the onset of new methods of consumption hitting the mainstream, you may feel like rolling a J has transitioned from a task that every stoner used to be able to do, to one that leaves your group of friends asking, “alright… who here knows how to roll one of these things?” However, with the advent of some new types of papers hitting the market, the art of rolling one up may just be experiencing a second wave of popularity. That’s why we decided to put together a rolling paper 101 piece. Consider it our effort to keep the good times rolling.
How Long Have We Been Rolling?
Rolling papers are deeply entwined in both the ritual and social aspect of smoking. We did some digging and the first recorded use of rolling papers for a joint was around 1856 (let us know if you have evidence of something earlier!). A pharmacist in Mexico made records of laborers using a form of rolling papers, although it appears that they were using them for tobacco for the most part. 165 years later, we still find joy in rolling one up and passing it around our circle of friends (well…maybe 164 years…social smoking in a post-Covid world most likely involves each person having their own joint).
Types of Rolling Papers
Obviously, the ideal rolling paper lets you get the longest burn and best taste from your bud, but with the large selection of papers, where should you begin your search? Here are a few options to help you narrow down your selection:
Additives vs. Additive-Free
Though this one may sound like an easy question to answer on the surface, your opinion may be swayed if you smell a delicious blueberry scented rolling paper. We recommend not giving into these temptations. You’ve got quality weed with its own unique flavor profile, why would you want to dilute that with some overpowering flavor that has been added to your paper? Furthermore, just because the scent is excellent, doesn’t mean that it is safe to combust and inhale. We all love the smell of a new vehicle, but it seems a little less appealing when you consider that lovely scent is a result of off-gassing produced by all of the plastics and manufactured components of the vehicle.
Flavors aren’t the only thing that some brands add to their papers. Calcium carbonate and chlorine are also two compounds that you want to watch out for in your papers. Most legitimate brands these days try to avoid using anything synthetic, though watching for added flavors is still something to keep an eye out for.
The OG: Wood Pulp
The original go-to rolling paper, wood pulp-based papers were, until recently, the staple for rolling papers. Find an old-head and ask them what the harshest way they’ve smoked weed is. Without thinking twice, they will most likely tell you that it was any joint they rolled “back in the day”. That’s because, until the past decade or so, wood pulp papers represented the majority of rolling paper options on the market.
Don’t get us wrong, wood-pulp is versatile as hell and usually render a solid burn rate, but the chemicals typically added to the mix and their harshness has resulted in most becoming a relic of the past. There are so many better options available now!
The rolling papers of millennials. Rolling with rice sort of became the middle child of paper options. They’re stupidly inexpensive, stupidly thin, and stupidly convenient, exactly what millennials are looking for in a product. We would be lying if we said that we’ve not consumed our fair share of rice paper joints over the years, but we would also be lying if we said that we’ve never gotten halfway through a smoke session only to realize that there are three papers on our joint. These things are comically thin and can prove to be difficult to use for someone who is new to the rolling scene. They’re certainly less harsh than the aforementioned wood pulp papers, but didn’t you always feel like there was a better option?
The New King: Hemp Papers
Okay, that was dramatic, but we felt it was warranted. Hemp has staged a huge comeback in the past five years. With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp (which is technically just cannabis with less than 0.3% THC) has broken the regulatory barriers that prevented it from being used in so many products previously.
You’ve likely seen various types of products now touting “made with hemp” recently. With the new regulation making hemp production more accessible, manufacturers are now able to utilize this versatile plant in countless products, rolling papers thankfully included.
Hemp papers burn incredibly slow (which means your joint will last longer) and are typically free of bleaching chemicals or added flavors. Even purist who once swore off rolling (because they wanted a “clean” paper) in lieu of other consumption methods, have started making a comeback to rolling with hemp paper.
Of course, we can’t in good conscious try to tell you that any form of combustion is “safe” or “healthy”, but we are comfortable saying, “if you’re going to smoke regardless of the associated risks, we recommend giving hemp papers a shot”.
Hemp papers are also a nice throwback to the versatility of wood pulp papers. They [hemp papers] tend to be thicker and more malleable than rice papers, but without the dreaded harshness of wood pulp. Another commonly lauded benefit of hemp papers is that they typically don’t require the smoker to re-light the joint. If you’ve smoked much rice paper, you’re all too familiar with the sight of your cherry’ed tip going out before you can pass to your buddy.
If it wasn’t clear, get yourself some hemp papers! Let’s not let the longstanding tradition of rolling joints and blunts die off. Sure, the art of rolling may not be the most popular with all of the options available to smokers, but do we think there will be a point in time when rolling ceases to exist? Not a chance! In fact, we’re personally so confident that folks will continue to roll their bud, that we’re releasing our own selection of premium rolling paper products. Give them a shot and let us know if you’re a newbie or veteran roller and what you think!