What are rolling papers?
Rolling papers are wrapping paper sheets made for mass-produced or roll-your-own tobacco. These special paper sheets are usually made with thin, lightweight, non-wood plant fibers such as rice straw, flax, hemp, etc. They usually come in rectangular shapes, with one of their long edges lined with glue that holds them in place when folded.
Rolling papers are used to make marijuana cigarettes, commonly referred to as joints. Source
They also come with many peculiar features, including transparent or colored (bleached and unbleached) finishes, a special level of porosity, as well as additives that enhance their burning capacities. They’re also usually treated with harmless chemicals to make them lighter yet stronger, and come flavored or unflavored.
What are they used for? Who uses them, why?
Although rolling papers are used in mass-scale cigarette production as well as roll-your-own cigarettes, they’re also (if not mostly) used as a delivery system for cannabis. When used for cannabis, they’re commonly referred to as “joints” or “blunts”, and are smoked like roll-your-own cigarettes.
A good rolling paper can enhance the quality of your joint, as well as your overall smoking experience. There are different kinds of rolling papers, each with its own unique properties that are most suitable to certain kinds of smokers.
What are the alternatives?
There are many other cannabis consumption methods other than rolling papers. Many users opt for these alternatives due to health concerns associated with the fact that rolling papers have to be burnt, and therefore can release harmful carcinogens when inhaled into the lungs.
Alternative ways to smoke cannabis. Source
Here are the four most popular alternatives to rolling papers:
1. Vaporizers: This alternative is relatively newer than others, but is growing more popular by the day. Originally invented as a healthier method of consuming tobacco, vaporizers are used to turn chemical compounds in cannabis into vapor that is then inhaled. There are many different types of cannabis products that can be vaped, including nugs, oils, waxes, distillates, shatter, budder, etc. Given the release of vapors instead of smoke, vaporizers are not only versatile and convenient but also a much safer alternative to smoking with rolling papers, as far as toxins and carcinogens are concerned.
2. Pipes: This is one of the oldest delivery systems for cannabis. They can be made with a wide range of materials, including wood, glass, and metal. Each material is associated with a smoke that tastes slightly different and appeals to different types of smokers. In most cases, they’re also discrete and convenient, making them easy to carry.
3. Bongs: These are also very popular due to their capacity to deliver intense instant hits. Bongs are a great alternative to joints, not only because they deliver hits more quickly and intensely, but because they’re much easier to set up than rolling a joint. Like pipes, they can be made from a wide array of materials, including glass, plastic, clay, wood, metal, etc. They also come in an endless variety of designs, including multi-chambered, gravity, and percolator bongs. However, one drawback is that bongs need water to function properly, and that can be a problem if water isn’t available or if the bong is leaky.
4. Corn husk: This is an ideal option for health-conscious smokers. Since it’s all-natural, it’s deemed the healthiest way to smoke cannabis. Dried corn husks are quite fibrous, as such they hold marijuana contents tightly and burn slowly like rolling papers. They also easily roll with the punches.
What other things do you need to have available to you along with your rolling papers?
Smoking experience is generally subjective, as each smoker has various preferences. However, to ensure a great smoking experience, you need to prepare your joints using a smoking kit which, in the least, includes a rolling paper, a weed grinder, crutches and, of course, a lighter.
The grinder will help you achieve a fine consistency by breaking up molds of nugs in the joints that can undermine your smoking experience. Grinders are usually made from metal, plastic, or wood. But metal grinders are more efficient and durable than the other types.
Also, to prevent your joint’s end from getting sloppy and becoming difficult to draw smoke from, you need to attach a crutch to optimize air flow in the joint. Not only do crutches make for easier inhaling, they can also provide a cylindrical frame that makes it easier to roll a joint.
Rolling papers are essential for cannabis users who prefer smoking to other methods of consumption. They provide quicker highs when compared to some other methods, and very easy to carry. However, when compared to some other methods, using rolling papers have some draw backs. Chief among them are its health risks, given the fact that inhaling smoke may mean inhaling harmful toxins. Another drawback is that using rolling papers may require some skill to get the roll just right.