We have come a long way from rolling products in tobacco leaves, although this is still a great way to experience your top shelf flowers. That being said, pre-cut papers are the most common and convenient way to enjoy a joint.
Rizla, Raw, Swan, Elements, OCB, Snoop Dogg, Bob Marley… There are many companies looking to cash in on the ever-growing rolling paper market. With all this competition there has been a real trend towards innovation. But what is there to innovate? A rolling paper just something that you fill with material and burn.
So what is a modern rolling paper made from?
Rolling Papers are Made from Plant Products
This sounds great… 100% natural plant products. The truth is that plant products really could mean a whole host of things. Rolling papers have usually been made from wood pulp… Trees. Everybody knows that paper is made from trees!
More recently, companies like Elements have experimented with different materials. Ultra Thin Rice Papers have been a really popular option for smokers everywhere. This material imparts no flavour and truly let you taste your flower. Elements rice papers are not actually made from rice, but they offer a great smoking experience!
Rizla and OCB have fantastic products made using bamboo as the main material. Bamboo papers are ultra thin, unbleached and unrefined and because Bamboo is a fast-growing plant these papers are made from a super sustainable material. A great choice for the eco conscious toker.
There are also novelty rolling papers, such as transparent papers made from cellulose fibres. Whether you want something novel or not, all different rolling papers offer different experiences in terms of burn, taste and toke. There are many options out there.
We urge people to consider the environmental impact of the rolling paper choices. Even if you are not that interested in protecting the environment, you may want to protect yourself. While it is true that rolling papers include natural products, there are “plant products” out there that we may not want to smoke.
Rolling Papers Can Include Harmful Products
Rolling papers and cigarette papers are usually bleached to give them a white colour. In the cannabis world, rolling paper brands are now following the path carved by Raw. This rolling paper brand created the most popular unbleached and unrefined rolling papers. The company have continued to build a great reputation for quality products. Burning and inhaling something that has been bleached was not so appealing for many joint smokers, so Raw really tapped into a great part of the market.
Typically, rolling papers have always included burn additives and products like Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3… or chalk) in the manufacturing process. Such additives are widely used to make sure papers do not burn too quickly, or go out too often. As mentioned, many rolling paper brands are trying to clean up their products. There are still bleached papers out there, but the popularity of unbleached and unrefined is growing.
Glue strips on rolling papers can also be made from harmful products. Purist joint rollers prefer to use papers that do not have a glue strip. However, many companies use natural plant products in their products to try and appeal to the masses. The glue strip was a revelation when it first came along. It made the rolling process easy. The smoking experience is greatly improved too. Before glue strips, smokers just used to hold their roll together with their fingers! This technique is still common in many places in the world too.
What About Flavoured Papers?
Flavoured papers can divide opinion. Whether you like to use them or not, you should know that there are many additives in flavoured rolling papers. Inks and chemicals are included to give these papers their aesthetic quality and taste. Whilst these products are derived from natural sources and are safe for human consumption, that does not mean it should be smoked. Rolling paper manufacturers in the United States are required to submit their ingredients to the FDA for approval. Most countries have similar processes and standards too. There is nothing unsafe about these papers, but purists may prefer something less refined (or more refined depending on your perspective).
What is Next in the Rolling Paper World?
Early rolling papers came in large sheets that needed to be hand cut. They did not have glue strips to keep things together and flavoured papers were nowhere to be seen. As the cannabis market grows there is a lot of room for development. The industry as a whole has a very high carbon footprint (excuse the pun).
The quantity of raw materials needed in the cannabis and cannabis products industry is presenting a bit of a sustainability challenge. Most rolling paper companies can’t influence other areas of the industry, but they can look at the sustainability of their own products. The inclusion of sustainable products like bamboo is a great move for reducing carbon footprints. However there is a trend for rolling paper companies to include roach booklets as part of their packaging. Unfortunately, increasing the amount of cardboard packaging is bad for carbon footprints. It is time to slim down the packaging in the same way we have slimmed down the paper!