Follow the Paper Trail – Why Different Rolling Papers Affect Your Smoke
Why Different Rolling Papers Affect Your Smoke
By Kieran Delamont
It’s one of the most overlooked aspects of the smoking ritual – the choice of rolling paper.
Raw and Zig Zags, hemp and wood pulp, bleached and unbleached, king size and double wide, when it comes to wrapping your smoke, there are an endless number of options.
Stick to Natural Rolling Papers
Most varieties used to be made with a combination of linen, hemp and cotton but these days what’s available at your local are made with wood-pulp leftovers.
Right off the top, rule out bleached-white papers, which may also contain chlorine. Colour-dyed rollies are also a no-no as they are likely to contain traces of colouring agents, which will end up combusting straight into your lungs. Bad news.
Stick to natural, unbleached papers. While they won’t make for a visually appealing, bone-white joint, they’re far easier on your respiratory system.
Also, as a general rule, the thinner the better.
More paper equals more bad stuff and a harsher smoke. Thicker paper also means a faster burning joint and more of your cannabis going up in smoke than feeding your head or whatever ails you.
Doing a Slow Burn
To get the biggest bang for your bud, you’ll want to make sure your cannabis burns slowly.
Part of that depends on the quality of the cannabis. Crappy dried-out weed will burn quickly, but uncured moist weed will also be hard to keep lit. Your choice of papers will affect your burn.
A rolling paper made out of natural fibres can both improve the quality and duration of the joint.
Hemp papers are gaining popularity, and are less processed than your garden variety wood pulp papers. But hemp can require pesticides to grow. The package should tell you if your papers are pesticide-free.
Papers made from rice fibre tend to produce less ash than hemp and regular papers. But they also tend to burn unevenly if the joint you’re smoking isn’t lit and rolled just right. And the last thing you want to do is to canoe your joint.
Flax fibre and plant cellulose rolling papers don’t contain your run of the mill toxins and are as thin as they come, but that can make them a challenge to roll, especially if they’ve been left in your pants pocket for any length of time and the gum has worn off. But more importantly, they’re not known for the best smoke.
A joint well rolled is a joint well-smoked, the saying goes. And while most smokers will know the difference between a RAW and a Zig-Zag, many may not know a Backwoods from Swisher Sweets.
The latter are used to roll blunts. At the most basic level, a blunt is a joint rolled with cigar papers or tobacco leaves that are sometimes flavoured. The tobacco in the cigar is usually emptied out and replaced with weed.
Blunts have a completely different look than joints, with their mud-brown exterior and rough texture. They also offer a different smoking experience than a joint, the biggest difference being taste.
An unflavoured blunt wrap will impart a distinct tobacco taste, while wraps come in a huge variety of different tastes and scents. (Juicy Hemp Wraps are a popular option).
When you’re choosing a blunt wrap, the key is to choose something that a) stays together; b) burns properly; c) you can get your hands on pretty easily. For most people, that last part means whatever cigars your local corner store has in stock.