10 Things that you can but probably shouldn't use to roll a joint

Published Dec 29, 2020 02:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Inna Dodor

When you want to take a few hits of that sweet green cannabis, nothing hits the spot quite like a joint. Despite all of the new, evolved, more technologically advanced devices that we have for cannabis consumption these days, smoking, specifically hitting joints, is the preferred method of delivery by most enthusiasts. It's fast, it's simple, and all you need to have on hand is a pack of rolling papers, but what happens when you unexpectedly run out?

How do you roll a joint without rolling papers?

Rolling papers that are specifically designed for rolling joints make the job fast, predictable, and easy, but once you run out, you'll be hard-pressed to find alternatives that will offer a similar experience. Though sometimes, when push comes to shove, we have to get crafty, and though most DIY paper options aren't exactly the best for your health, these tried and true alternatives will work when you don't have any other choice, as long as you're careful and patient.

1. Paper towel

Paper towel comes with a host of downsides, as you can probably imagine, especially if you've ever seen one catch on fire. However, if you trim them down to size, roll the grind tight, and use a small amount of moisture to dampen the paper just enough to avoid spontaneous and devastating combustion, this common household good can work in a pinch.

2. Aluminum foil

This one is kind of cheating, as you're using something that resembles more of a bong than a joint, but that's only until you spark it up. An aluminum wrapped roll with light just like regular joints, but once the filling burns so far, the tip will need to be trimmed away with a pair of scissors so that the remaining ash doesn't stifle the heat of the coal. They will get hot when they burn low, but they offer a similar experience to rolling papers.

3. Book pages

Rolling papers are just made of small particles combined with glue to hold them all together, just like most other office type paper products, but not everyone has a perfect stack of white paper lying around. On the other hand, books sit on our shelves collecting dust after we're finished with them, and they can function as multipurpose purchases if you grab the occasional page to use for rolling a joint. You want to avoid coloured ink and illustrations, but the rest is perfectly safe to smoke with.

4. An empty cigarette tube

Cigarette tubes are made by the very same companies that create rolling papers, so the casing is generally almost identical to what you'd expect in a pack of Zig Zags. The only difference is that the seams are already sealed, so it might take quite a bit of green to turn an empty cigarette tube into a cannabis joint successfully, but the experience will be more than worth it. All you have to do is pack them and go, so no twisting skills whatsoever are necessary.

5. Cigar wraps

Cigars are one of those things that many smokers will keep on hand just to celebrate special occasions, so if you find yourself to be out of rolling papers, then you might want to dig out any of these that you might have stashed away. It might not be an anniversary or a big game win, but when you want to get stoned without papers, one of the easiest solutions is to empty a cigar and replace the contents with cannabis. Its self-sticks comes reshaped, and it really doesn't get much simpler than this.


6. Newspaper

Most of us get the majority of our daily news from online sources like social media. Still, even if you don't get a good old-fashioned newspaper to your door, it shouldn't take long to find one, and they work perfectly as an alternative to rolling papers. You'll, of course, want to avoid the pieces with the most ink because that stuff really can't be any good for your lungs, but it'll burn long enough for you to get high, which is all you need sometimes.

7. Cardboard

If you've noticed a theme, then you'd be right. Paper will always burn similarly, and though at first glance it might seem a little bit too thick to reasonably work for joints, cardboard is readily available for free, and it works if you know how to prepare it. Simply peel away one of the solid outer layers, followed by the corrugated center, and then you'll be left with a thick and yet mouldable paper that can work perfectly for rolling a joint. It'll even burn more slowly, which is a bonus.

8. A paper bag

A lot of us have upgraded from the old school paper bags for our work lunches because they just aren't all that strong, but we still tend to keep a stack of them on hand just in case we need to take something light to go, which is a huge part of what makes them such a great alternative to rolling papers. They are already flat and easy to cut down to size. With a small amount of moisture, the material will even stick into place just like your regular rolling papers, offering both a comfortable and familiar experience.

9. Toilet paper tubes

This one is a lot like the cardboard process we discussed. Only there aren't any layers to peel away from one another. However, there is a line that you must follow as you pry the tub apart to reveal its natural shape without glue. It will spiral, and since it isn't' very wide, you'll need to cut the largest straight chunk possible from the center of it and then chop that down to the perfect size you need for rolling a joint. You might only get one or two from a single toilet paper roll, but this option really can work.

10. Saran wrap

We are going to start this one by saying with a clear and abrupt disclaimer that lets everyone know how this is a terrible idea. Still, after the clear rolling paper craze, many people tried to recreate the effects without spending the big bucks on the real-life versions. This led to the discovery of saran wrap and how well it can mimic the traditional burning of a joint with a clear paper's aesthetic appeal. So, while yes, you can use saran wrap to roll joints, it's not something that we recommend if you have any other choice, and even then, there are safer alternatives such as butter that won't compromise your health.

Rolling papers and blunt wraps might not be as safe as you think


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