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Rolling Papers 101

Image via Unsplash

Rolling papers have a long and rich history in the modern world. They’ve evolved from a simple newspaper twist to gum-edged rice papers to the wide variety of materials, sizes, flavours, and burning rates available today.

It’s argued that when tobacco was first brought to Europe via Columbus’ crew, it sparked the creation of the first blunted ends in Spain. You see, cigar production was centralized and controlled in Seville, Spain in 1614 and the discarded ends were collected and re-rolled with newspaper. Seeing an opportunity to improve the smoking experience and profit from this practice, Spanish merchants created a plain, non-printed rolling paper. 

These papers were eventually traded for a bottle of champagne and put into the hands of Frenchman Alexandro Rizlette de Cramptone Lacroix who’d previously used book pages as rolling papers. His family began producing a copy of the papers for sale in 1660 and added rice into the rolling paper recipe in 1865, thus creating the RizLa+ rolling papers company. In 1942, the company changed the game again when they added gum to the paper’s edge. 

Today, you can find papers in various sizes and flavours and materials ranging from hemp, pulp, rice, flax, and eplant cellulose. Let’s dive into some of the characteristics of each.

Hemp rolling papers

  • Made from hemp fibre
  • Not bleached, all-natural
  • Thicker than other rolling papers 
  • Medium burn rate
  • Earthy aftertaste

Hemp rolling papers are arguably the best choice for smokers of all experience levels. The papers are all-natural and provide good grip for people learning to roll or struggling with dexterity.

Pulp-based rolling papers

  • Made from processed and pressed wood pulp
  • Can be found in white or brown (bleached or non-bleached)
  • Thicker than other rolling papers
  • Medium burn rate
  • Some aftertaste

Pulp-based papers are a readily available and popular choice for people learning to roll because their thickness is easier to work with. 

Rice rolling papers

  • Made from processed and pressed rice
  • Super thin
  • Slow-burn
  • Hardly any aftertaste

Rice papers are ideal for experienced cannabis rollers. The thinness can be difficult for people learning or practicing their skills, but is appreciated by seasoned smokers. 

Flax rolling papers

  • Made from flax plant stem fibres
  • Typically blended with hemp or wood pulp
  • No aftertaste
  • Burning rate and paper thickness depends on blend

Flax rolling papers can a bit trickier to work with, but are preferred for beginners over rice paper options.

Plant cellulose rolling papers

  • Made from processed and pressed cellulose
  • Transparent
  • Extremely thin
  • Slow-burning
  • No aftertaste

These papers are arguably the most difficult to roll with, but they certainly provide a pleasant smoking experience.