Guide to Picking the Best Rolling Papers in 2022
With so many different products on the market, there are a multitude of options for adults to turn to. However, one of the most popular ways to enjoy and consume it, even to this day, is rolling your own with good old rolling papers. Now, to enjoy rolling your own to the fullest potential depends on two things: the first is the quality of the legal smoking herbs, and the second, equally as important, is the quality of the rolling paper. As you read on, we will show you how to pick out the best rolling papers that will have you enjoying yourself to the fullest potential!
What Are Rolling Papers?
Chances are, if you are stumbling upon a guide about how to pick the best rolling paper, you might already be familiar with what they are. However, if you are new to this, it might be helpful to have a quick little run-down of what rolling papers are before going into how to pick them.
A rolling paper, sometimes also referred to as a blank paper or joint paper amongst smokers, is a sheet of very thin paper made of some organic material used to roll smokable herbs. The rolling paper typically comes with a strip of adhesive on one side to close up and seal the herb into a bundle once you are finished rolling. Depending on the rolling paper manufacturer, they will come in various sizes, materials, and even flavors.
Material and Ingredients
While most people assume that rolling papers are only made of wood fibers like regular writing paper, there has actually been an increase in rolling papers made out of other plant materials such as esparto, flax, hemp, rice, and sisal.
The material of the rolling paper is perhaps the most influential part of your smoking experience. The ingredients that make up the composition of the rolling paper can impact the flavor and influence the burn time. Furthermore, popular brands like RAW Rolling Paper use only unbleached hemp paper. Bleached rolling papers are usually created through an oxygenation process which can use chemical additives like chlorine to remove all of the natural residues on the paper and are a pure white color. Unbleached rolling papers skip the oxygenation process, and their resulting color falls in the yellow, brown, or beige category or can even be dyed.
When rolling paper is made out of wood pulp or fibers, they are typically treated with additives to make them burn slower. However, if you prefer more of a natural smoke, you might want to go for rolling papers made of other plant materials. Most rolling papers tend to be relatively thin and wispy, ensuring you will get a good clean burn without a ton of excess smoldering material.
There are also novelty rolling papers made from some pretty interesting materials. You can find totally clear rolling papers made out of plant cellulose that let you look at the herbs you ground up and rolled and even 24-carat gold leaf rolling papers that glitter and shine. Since rolling papers are flat sheets, you can also print images on them. For example, you can buy rolling papers with flags on them or even ones that look like different printed currency.
Most usually, the adhesive that would stick the ends of a rolling paper together and ensure that it didn’t unfurl is gum arabic, which is gathered from the Senegal Acacia tree and is also known as sugar gum or acacia gum. Since gum arabic is water soluble and edible, it is used in many food products as stabilizers. Its sticky nature and edibleness make it a great choice as a binder for rolling papers.
However, not all rolling papers use gum arabic. Some actually use adhesives created from animal products. If you are a vegan or vegetarian smoker, read through all the ingredients just in case you want to avoid animal-based glues. Reading the ingredients is generally just a good idea, so you know exactly what you are putting into your mouth if you have any allergies, or just to see if the rolling paper is made of high quality or natural items.
Size and Shape
While it may be obvious that a longer rectangular slip for a rolling paper will result in a bigger joint, rolling papers come in several different sizes to serve every need in the market. The standard rolling paper size is around 70-100mm long but comes in a range of widths.
Rolling papers generally come in a range of six sizes for you to pick from, with each paper size having its own perks:
- Single Wide (68-70mm long, 34-36mm wide)
- 1 1/4″ (76-78mm long, 45-48mm wide)
- 1 1/2″ (76-78mm long, 60-62mm wide)
- Double Wide (76-78mm long, 63-88mm wide)
- King (100-110mm long, 55-60mm wide)
- King Slim (105-110mm long, 42-46mm wide)
Single wide might be the perfect size for you when you are just rolling a joint for yourself to enjoy. The smaller rolling paper sizes logically are able to hold less product. But if you are considering sharing amongst friends or plan on smoking several long drags, you might want to go for a bigger size such as the Double Wide or King sizes.
If these standard rolling paper sizes are not perfect for you, fortunately, there are also specialty rolling papers like spool rolling papers and pre-rolled cones. Like their names suggest, with a rolling paper that comes on a spool like saran wrap or aluminum foil, you are able to unroll the quantity you need and cut it off; meanwhile, with pre-rolled cones, you can just put your ground mix into the cone, pack and twist it, and it is ready to use. If you are not the best at rolling joints or sometimes feel lazy about creating them, these ready-made cones might be perfect for you!
The size of the rolling paper you are using will significantly influence the shape of the joint you come up with. The broader rolling papers will roll into fat cone-shaped joints, while the thinner ones will result in slimmer cylinders that might be pinner or slightly tapered on one side. The cone-shaped ones will be able to hold a lot more material than the thinner joints.
Unsurprisingly, different rolling papers have different levels of difficulty when it comes to rolling them. This is due to the material they are made of since some materials like wood result in stiffer thicker rolling papers, which are easier to roll and more beginner-friendly. On the other hand, the extremely thin rolling papers like the ones made of rice are harder to roll since they don’t have much substance to grip onto and roll with your fingers. You’ll want to start with larger and thicker rolling papers and then move on to the smaller and more delicate ones where you get more practice and become more accomplished at rolling them.
Burn rate refers to the speed at which the rolling paper burns, and the burn rate is influenced by two key factors: the thickness of the rolling paper and the weight of the rolling paper. Thicker rolling papers made of wood will burn more slowly than those made of rice or flax, for example. Slow-burning rolling papers offer a better smoking experience though they might slightly influence the taste. Joints featuring rolling papers made of wood tend to have a smokier taste, while those made of medium-weight hemp rolling paper have a somewhat earthy flavor. On the other hand, thinner rolling papers like those made out of rice and flax burn quickly and have very little to absolutely no taste.
Additionally, when your joint burns, you may notice that it burns faster on one side, which is referred to as an ‘uneven burn,’ or that it burns evenly, thus having an ‘even burn.’ The evenness of your joint burning does not have as much to do with the rolling paper quality or material as you might think. Instead, it has to do with how you rolled your joint.
Rolling papers can also be found in a variety of flavors! If flavors are not something you are typically into, be assured that there are still unflavored rolling papers available for you, particularly in the brand RAW as well as other clean/natural rolling paper brands. However, if flavored items are more your style, the brands Juicy Jay and Skunk carry a wide selection of rolling papers that will likely be to your tastes. Flavored rolling papers come in a multitude of fruity options, minty and fresh choices, and sometimes even in dessert selections such as cotton candy, milkshake, and maple syrup. Whatever flavor you desire, there probably exists a rolling paper for it; if not, it will likely come out in the near future.
Many experienced rollers utilize tips that you can roll into a spiral and insert at the tail end of your joint. Tips are great for many reasons, with one of the most significant being that they stabilize your joint and offer more support for where you put your fingers, allowing them to be on the joint without risk of getting burned. In addition, the spiral fold of the tip acts as a filtration keeping debris from getting into your mouth and keeping the heat away from your lips. A lot of tips are also made from food-grade silicone and thus can be reused. These silicone tips come with a metal filter inside them which is used to catch debris and ensure that you are getting a smoother smoke. Some rolling papers are sold with tips while others are not, so you have to buy the tips separately. In any case, having a tip for your joint comes in super handy, so when you are purchasing rolling papers, you might want to consider if you want to make a separate purchase for the tips or if you would like to just buy rolling papers where they come with it.
If sustainability is important to you, you’ll want to be purchasing your rolling papers from brands that have made an
effort to reduce their carbon footprint by using natural energy and recyclable, plant-based materials. Fortunately for you, several rolling paper brands are dedicated to being greener. Examples of green and sustainable rolling paper companies include RAW, Elements, Zig Zag, and OCB.
Rolling papers are all about the user experience, and brands recognize that. As previously mentioned, some rolling papers can be bought flavored or come with tips and filters, but rolling papers come with a lot of other perks too. Premium rolling paper brands will include special merchandise to enhance your smoking experience. You can expect things like wooden sticks to help you pack your herbs into your rolling paper, humidity packs to ensure that your legal smoking herbs stays fresh, or even spring-loaded pop-out trays for the rolling papers, which make them easy to access. Some of the best perks from rolling paper companies might be the importance they put on customers’ health by creating and selling organic products that don’t contain harmful substances.
Your ideal rolling paper will be a culmination of many things. The paper’s size and material will depend on your smoking style, while the flavor of the rolling paper and its ingredients will align with your tastes and health consciousness. If you like the ultimate consumer experience, you might want to buy novelty rolling papers that come in interesting and unusual forms or with additional products. Hopefully, this guide has taught you the ins and outs of rolling papers by now. You’ll now be able to find the perfect rolling paper to create your joints based on what type of material you want to use, how you want the smoking experience to be, the burn rate and flavor you desire, and so much more.