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The Different Kinds Of Rolling Papers Explained

A good rolling paper made from natural materials improves the quality of the smoking experience. Several types of papers are available to address the cannabis smoker’s needs. The choice between wood, rice, hemp, or other fibres depends on taste, smoking speed, rolling skills, and other factors.

A good rolling paper can improve the quality of your joint and your overall smoking experience. However, no fine paper can substitute the skill required for a well-rolled joint, and learning how to craft impeccable roll-ups can take years. Despite the recent vaporizer boom, smoking cannabis in joints is still the most common way to benefit from cannabinoids together with all the aromas this plant offers us.

Traditional rolling papers are made from wood pulp, which has pros and cons when it comes to smoking. In the last 20 years, more and more cannabis-focussed, health-conscious papers have entered the market, with rice, hemp, and even transparent cellulose rolling papers produced to satisfy the demands of a more conscious public. Each kind of rolling paper has its own unique characteristics that appeal to different kinds of smokers. For example, taste, thickness, and burning speed of the paper are various features that come down largely to personal taste. To help you make an informed decision when buying your next pack of papers, here is a list of the most common materials and their characteristics.

WHITE OR BROWN?

Rolling papers may have different porosity to control ventilation and burning rate. Apart from this, the paper can contain additional substances that slow down the burning, stabilize the paper itself, its smoke, and its ash. White rolling papers usually have a chemical aspect because of the presence of chlorine or calcium carbonate, which help slow down the burn. Flavored and colored rolling papers also contain chemicals or even natural substances that have no real reason to be inhaled. Nowadays, many papers from respectable brands are made without chemical treatments or materials that improve combustion, reducing the possible harm and aftertaste of your smoke.

CLASSIC WOOD PULP PAPER

Wood pulp rolling papers are the most popular papers, and this has been true for more than a century. They can even be blended with other fibres, and their texture makes them easy to handle. On average, these papers are thicker than the newer types, even if they are actually available in a few different thicknesses—bleached or unbleached. White wood pulp papers are bleached while brown ones are not. Wood pulp is solid, and the handy texture of these papers makes them convenient for beginners because they hold their shape well, even in presence of a little humidity or shaky, sweaty hands. Wood pulp papers have a medium burn rate.

BARELY-THERE RICE PAPER

The best rice papers are made from all-natural ingredients, meaning it’s basically just processed and pressed rice. These rolling papers are usually thinner than others. This is a good thing for your lungs, but may require a little more effort when you’re rolling. This smooth paper might not grip well between your fingers and it’s pretty vulnerable to certain conditions, especially damp air. Forget smoking with these papers when it’s raining outside. Rice paper is thin, yet burns slowly. The little material used for a single sheet makes it a good choice for your health and for enjoying your weed without almost any external aftertaste. A similar result can be reached with flax, which is sometimes used in rolling paper blends. There are indeed rolling papers made from 100% flax that can be considered a nice alternative to rice papers with analogue characteristics.

HEMP IS A SMOKER’S FRIEND

Industrial hemp proudly came back in the last 20 years, and hemp rolling papers were immediately appreciated by the community. First off, these papers help save trees since they are made from hemp fibre. Their colour is mainly light brown because the bleaching process is usually not appreciated by cannabis consumers. Hemp papers are thicker and rougher than rice ones, providing a good grip when rolling. However, they have a similar tendency to absorb (and eventually release) humidity. They have a medium burn rate and go out less often than rice papers. Joints made with hemp papers might take on a delicate aftertaste that won’t spoil the aroma of the burning herb they wrap.

OTHER PAPERS

You can find papers of any crazy colour and flavour, or even transparent ones without added flavour that are made from cellulose. Novelty papers can be fun to try once if you just can’t resist. After that, it’s a good idea to gradually learn how to roll with the unprocessed, thinnest paper available in order to reduce the amount of dangerous substances you inhale and avoid spoiling the taste of good cannabis. The thinnest papers weigh around 10g/m², and all major brands offer different dimensions for these products. Again, picking a wider or longer paper, or one made from rice instead of hemp largely depends on individual taste and smoking behaviour. Have fun and experiment!

The rolling paper material affects the quality of the smoking experience. Wood pulp, rice, or hemp? Here is how to pick the right paper.

What are Hemp Rolling Papers?

In today’s tech-heavy world, cannabis is not the put-it-in-your-pipe-and-smoke-it substance we were all used to for so long. Now, there is technology for nearly everything, and weed is no different.

Volcano vapes were once the peak of innovation, but now the hall of fame contains electronics for dabbing, decarboxylating, and even infusing oils and butters. It’s great that we have these options, though, for many, the satisfaction of consumption comes from the original roll-and-smoke methods: joints and blunts. The best ingredient for imbibing in these classic methods? Hemp.

A short history of hemp rolling papers

Rolling papers were once made primarily from corn husks, but fiber papers grew in popularity in Spain, where the history of paper production began and where the first bits of tobacco from the Americas started their 400+ year rise to ubiquity. Cannabis was certainly around back then, but cigarettes themselves were rare, so joints were highly unlikely before the 20th century when pipes were the primary way to smoke.

Eventually, brands looked to cannabis itself to provide the rolling medium, and hemp papers were born. Hemp paper was actually the first paper ever created in 150BC, according to MIT, and cannabis flower was in use centuries before that, making hemp papers a full-circle technology developed by ancient civilizations.

Hemp papers are manufactured all over the world, with ‘premium’ offerings coming from the Spanish town, Alcoy, where papers were first popularized.

Though made from a classically “healthy” ingredient, these papers are not more healthy than any other paper. Smoke is smoke, and hemp fibers in rolling papers are still being burnt and creating ash and carbon, which is irritating to the lungs. The American Lung Association says, “Inhaling smoke of any kind — whether it’s cannabinoid-containing weed or tobacco or another substance — is bad for lung health.”

Do hemp rolling papers contain CBD?

Hemp rolling paper does not contain CBD. Rolling papers are made from hemp fiber, which grows on the outside of the plant’s stalk. The fibers are known as bast fibers and do not contain cannabinoids. Cannabinoids, such as CBD, are produced by the hemp leaves and flowers.

Do hemp rolling papers get you high?

No. Hemp rolling paper does not contain THC and does not provide the typical experience associated with smoking marijuana.

Where to find the best quality hemp rolling papers

No matter what rolling paper you like to roll up with for your smoking experience, make sure you don’t use anything that would be considered a bootleg product in your shopping cart. Counterfeit rolling papers are a growing issue as cannabis smoking becomes more common across the United States.

Smoking is not the safest way to consume cannabis, so you should know all of the risks. Many see hemp papers as ‘safer’ than other brands and general tobacco use, but don’t let brown dye confuse you, these papers are not healthier than beige natural fiber papers or bleached white papers.

Certain users report a better taste from hemp paper, but this is as subjective as strain preferences. Only you can choose your favorite way to roll a joint, and what hemp rolling papers to use.

Consider these hemp rolling papers

RAW Organic Hemp Papers

The ultimate classic papers, RAW has been a staple in the cannabis community for decades. Offered in a variety of sizes, the Organic Hemp Papers contain no dye or added chalks, so you can get the smoothest hit from your next roll.

Vibes Hemp Cones

Rolling made extra easy, Vibes Hemp Cones offer quick convenience in natural hemp paper. And coming in a box of 90 with each holding up to a full gram of flower, they’ll last you smoke session after smoke session.

Price: $105 for a box of 90

Hemp ZigZag Organic 1¼ Papers

An all-around roll for the environmentally minded, ZigZag Organic papers are made unbleached, ultra-thin, and with 100% renewable hemp fibers. Light one up for mother nature.

Price: $1.50 for a single booklet, $28.80 for a box of 24 booklets

Pure Hemp Unbleached Single Wide Papers

Unbleached and chlorine-free, Pure Hemp keeps your lungs in mind when crafting their pure hemp papers. Want to try a roll in every size? Consider the Unbleached Display Tower to last you all year long.

Price: $39.99 for a box of 50 single-wide booklets

Bambú Organic Hemp King Size Papers

Complete with a quality assurance starter sheet in every booklet, you know you’re getting a pure roll with Bambú.

Price: $87.50 for a box of 50 king-size booklets

Bonus: Mellow Fellow Corn Husk Wraps

If the corn husk rolling “papers” sounded like an interesting idea further up in the article, then check out Mellow Fellow. Slow burning and smooth, they also offer Banana Leaf and Veggie wraps for the adventurers out there.

Price: $2.49 for a pack of 2

Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

A short history of how hemp rolling papers were made and which brands to consider trying when you're looking to roll your own joints.