A Guide to Rolling Papers for Beginners

iStock / valentineandreev

What are rolling papers?

Rolling papers come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors, and can be made out of numerous materials, but they are all designed with the same purpose in mind, to envelope dry herb to smoke. Some brands like Zig Zag cater to tobacco consumers by advertising as the perfect tool for rolling cigarettes, but their highest customer base consists of cannabis enthusiasts.

Are rolling papers illegal?

Marijuana rolling papers are not illegal, however, there was a time when the selling of cannabis-related goods was more restricted. To get around that obstacle, most companies that have been successful in the industry, advertised as being intended for use with tobacco, which is why you might see a smoking sailor rather than a toking pothead on your favorite rolling papers and blunt wraps.

Can you buy rolling papers under the age of 18?

Rolling papers typically don’t contain tobacco or cannabis products on the shelf, so to some, it might come as a surprise that in Canada, the legal age to purchase rolling papers is 18. Vendors are required to ask for age verification, and anyone caught selling to a minor can be charged accordingly. That is because they are used in combination with products that are intended for adults, so they fall under the same rules as tobacco products.

Is there nicotine in rolling papers?

It is not uncommon to find additives used in the making of rolling papers, but nicotine is not an ingredient added to the mixture. The only kinds of cannabis rolls that do contain nicotine are called blunt wraps which are cured tobacco leaves. Any normal run of the mill joint rolling paper will not have nicotine in the wrap.

Which rolling papers are the healthiest?

This is a question that is highly disputed, as some view the healthiest rolling papers as chemical-free and processing-free, while others prefer food-based options like rice. However, the most popular among cannabis enthusiasts today are RAW rolling papers, which are vegan-friendly and made of 100% hemp fibers.

Overview of effects, health benefits, and drawbacks

Rolling papers offer some advantages over other methods of ingestion, but the majority of them lie in the easy to control lower dosing of THC, portability, and compact design. That is why it is so important to choose the right rolling papers, as harmful additives can cause unnecessary harm to your health. No matter what kind of smoke is inhaled, it can be irritating to the lungs over time and cause an increase in mucus buildup, coughing, and other respiratory conditions.

Despite that, to date, there is no direct link between consumers who use rolling papers as a method of ingestion, and conditions like cancer. Often, adverse side effects will clear up on their own after a time of cleansing, where smoking is avoided. The biggest drawback of this tool is that they are no good in the rain, and they don’t filter out the smoke in the same way that a water bong or vaporizer would. That is why they are so often utilized as a secondary option rather than the main method of consuming cannabis.

How using rolling papers distributes THC in the body


Rolling papers are a part of the inhalation category of ways to consume, and all that hold this title deliver the potent cannabinoids directly into the bloodstream through a complex system of receptors, blood vessels, and openings called alveoli that line the lungs. The moment you breathe in a large cloud of cannabis smoke, the THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids are thrown into your bloodstream, and the effects are almost instant.

The euphoric and medicinal effects take mere minutes to set in, and you don’t have to hold the smoke in place for it to happen. Once the results kick in, they can last for anywhere from 2-6 hours depending on the potency of the cannabis and how much is ingested. That is because the direct link to the bloodstream causes a sudden surge of cannabinoids rather than a slow absorption which forces the body to process them more quickly.

Long term and short-term results of inhaling via rolling papers

While there are no confirmed links between consumers who use rolling papers and medical conditions of symptoms, we do know that smoking weed can impact the lungs over an extended period. This is the reason why rolling papers make for an excellent choice in a pinch or as a secondary occasional method of ingestion, but medical patients are generally recommended to use alternative measures.

Average cost

Rolling papers average cost can range quite a bit with lower end regular versions selling for $2 per pack, and most expensive higher-end brands selling for between 10cents and $2 per paper. Since this is not a standardized or regulated industry, pack and paper sizes can also range from individually wrapped options to 50 rolling papers per pack.

Types of rolling papers

iStock / Elton Clemente

There are so many new and unique rolling papers released, that it is impossible to cover them all, so instead, we have compiled 4 categories by personal preference and highly sought-after features.


1. Hemp
Hemp is an excellent choice of rolling papers, for both the individual and the environment. These products are typically made with health in mind using all-natural hemp fibers, and other natural components like tree gum to create tasteless and healthier rolling papers.

2. Wood pulp
This category includes the famous Zig-Zag brand, with many including chemicals or additives to slow down the rate of burning. They can appear white or brown and are generally advertised as slow-burning. While these are the most used rolling papers, they are considered to be a lower quality choice that can significantly impact taste, and the price reflects that.

3. Rice
Rice papers are a bit more expensive than wood pulp papers while typically more affordable than hemp, and many cannabis consumers enjoy the health benefits of utilizing food-safe ingredients. These rolling papers are excellent for anyone who doesn’t want to thoroughly enjoy the natural taste and smell of the herb while maintaining the simplicity of a cannabis roll.

4. Flavored and colored
These rolling papers make up a small but highly sensationalized portion of the market, as the makers use aesthetics and additives to recreate the entire experience in a number of ways. Some have successfully marketed clear papers that look eerily like plastic, while others go off highly demanded flavors like mint, orange, and bubblegum to make sales. The trouble with some of these rolling papers is that there is no way to verify how safe they are to use, so if you do choose to use them, then proceed with caution, and pay close attention to ingredient labels.

Best kinds of rolling papers

iStock / eldadcarin

The very best kinds of rolling papers for you will depend on what you seek from the experience. Some consumers want the healthiest all-natural options, while others are enticed by a more exotic addition. However, there are a few hot and well-known makers of rolling papers that come highly recommended including:

  • RAW
  • Smoking Slim
  • Rizla
  • Zig Zag
  • Juicy Jay’s

Where to buy

It completely depends on which ones you buy, but the cheapest kinds are generally found at variety stores, where the most expensive are often featured in displays at head shops and online. So, if you’re looking for a quick fix then a cheaper option might work, but those who seek a variety to browse, a local headshop, cannabis dispensary, or online would be more suitable.

How to roll a joint with rolling papers

iStock / Photoprofi30

Learning how to roll a joint can be a tedious task at first, but it is one that pays off once you master the art and can create unique and exciting cannabis rolls to wow your friends. It might take a few tries, but a simple joint roll is an excellent starting point for beginners.

You will need:

  • Cannabis
  • Rolling papers
  • Grinder
  • Rolling tray (optional)
  • Cardstock (or filter)


  1. Grind up some cannabis buds and remove any stems or seeds.

  2. Hold one of the rolling papers using your index finger in place of where the filter will be and use the other hand to fill and pack it with herb grind.

  3. Once the paper has an even line of cannabis down the middle, shift the paper so that you are holding it between your thumbs and middle fingers. Roll the paper up and down between your fingers until the cannabis packs down and forms a uniform tube.

  4. Now use your thumbs to roll the tube upwards until it is wrapped with only the glue strip left exposed.

  5. Add moisture to the glue strip and stick it into place.

  6. Cut the cardstock to size and install it into the empty portion of the joint.

  7. Twist the filter until it opens and locks into place, and your joint is now ready to smoke.

General tips for use

  • For those who struggle, there is the option of a joint roller, but using an extra tool means more to carry around, which doesn’t help with convenience.
  • Always store rolling papers in a cool dry place to avoid sticking
  • Start with basic joint rolls before advancing to professional versions
  • Be sure to use a fine grind-free of seeds and stems to avoid ripping and breaking while rolling
Glass blunts are the perfect alternative to traditional rolling papers


Related posts