Rolling paper alternatives

Published Sep 2, 2021 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock/ arcoss

Figuring out how to roll a joint without paper isn’t as easy as it sounds because you’ll need to find a safe alternative that isn’t going to adversely impact the experience or your health, but we all end up at some point or another ill-equipped to do the job, making alternatives a necessity for full-time tokers. Luckily, there’s no shortage of rolling paper alternatives, and here we’re going to talk about the ten easiest, most affordable, and common products you might have around that could help.

1. Corn husks

Granted, not everyone has cornstalks lying around, but there are fields just about everywhere if you can get out of the city, and if you find a field of sweet corn, you could have a whole life's worth of rolling papers at the ready. That’s right! Though it’s a bit tricky to figure out how to roll and stick them, without any adhesive strip, a bit of time to dry, and a small dab of honey is sure to do the trick in a pinch.

2. Bible or dictionary pages

A lot of people have tried rolling joints with books when they run out of rolling papers, which isn’t a bad idea in theory, except for the fact that most magazines and prints are coated in plastic, heavy ink, or bleached to look appealing, and those are things you want to roll up and smoke. However, most old-school bibles and dictionaries, do you know the ones with the yellow-looking pages even from new? They aren’t bleached, and these books even come with a few extra blank pages so that you can avoid the ink.

3. Gum wrapper

Only certain gum wrappers will work for this because just like with books, many brands wrap each stick in a foil or heavily inked wrapping that isn’t going to taste or burn very well. Wrigley’s has a perfect wrapper that’s cut right to size for a perfectly shaped blunt, and there are other brands just like them who’ve followed suit. If it’s shiny, you don’t want to risk it, but if your gum is wrapped in thin sheets of simple paper, then they’ll work for this job.

4. Cigarette tube

In order to get a cigarette tube, you’re going to need to sacrifice a cigarette by emptying it out so that you can fill the empty void with some sweet, sweet herb. It’s important to note that it does take quite a bit of green to complete one of these rolls without some fancy scissor work to trim things down. Still, if you don’t have rolling papers, it could be a lifesaving solution to buy you some time while you wait to get to the store to buy more.

5. Paper towel

Paper towel is an excellent alternative for rolling papers, but you can’t just use any kind, because just like with the paper in books, a lot of companies use bleach to make the soft cushioned sheets resembles a nice, clean, bright white, and that’s not something you want to smoke. If by chance, you have access to those cheap bathroom paper towels, on the other hand, the ones that look brown and feel like sandpaper, often found in public bathrooms, they should be safe to use to roll one up.

6. Cigar casing

Cigars are delicious and in some cases, they can also be really expensive, which means you probably don’t want to waste them all willy nilly, but when it comes right down to it, if you’re craving a puff and don’t have access to rolling papers, you might find that you’re more than willing to make this small sacrifice. This is actually how blunts are made, as the tobacco leaf wrap adds flavour and intensifies the effect, plus it’ll make it easy to create a giant roll, and that should be more than good enough to get you through this hard time.

7. A leaf

Now, it is important to note that you can’t just use any old leaf for this because some plants can be hazardous to consume. A poison ivy leaf would be a terrible idea, but if you’ve got some bright, fresh veggie plants like sweet peppers, then you have a whole bunch of leaves that are safe to use for this. The only problem is getting a roll to stick because leaves aren’t exactly known for their ability to stick. Still, with some patience and time, it’ll work when you need it.

8. Tissue paper

If you don’t have rolling papers, then you can always turn to those piles of old gift wrapping for a safe and useful solution. Of course, regular wrapping paper won’t do the trick due to the dyes, glues, and plastic involved, but the thin sheets of tissue paper that are usually stuffed in and around a bagged present will work perfectly. Preferably, you’ll want a white piece to avoid any additives and dyes, and it’ll work like a dream to spin up a spliff, as long as you’re gentle with it. The edges will even stick with a dab of moisture, so it’s a great choice.

9. Rose petals

Gathering enough rose petals to roll a joint, maintaining the patience required to stick them all together, and then finally filling the fragile plant pieces with weed might be time-consuming, but this is more than your typical rolling paper alternative. Rose petals are so good that some stoners use them for fun or luxury, because the taste they add to the mix is incredible, and the colour of the roll when it’s done is breathtaking. Of course, it’s not ideal for everyone. Still, it’s one of the most preferred options on this list.

10. Brown paper bag

Last but not least on this list of rolling paper alternatives is brown paper bags, and though they might not look overly appealing at first, they offer a simple solution that truly does work. Just cut a piece that matches your usually rolling papers, and then fill it with a twist. You might have to hold the whole thing together as it smokes because small amounts of moisture will unwrap it, but the results are more than worth it.

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