The relatively new-in-history method of joint-smoking, is the most widespread method of ingesting cannabis today. And though the simple products seem rather bland and uninteresting apart from serving a purpose, their extreme widespread usage worldwide has led to new trends and designs in joint papers and wraps.
Joint papers and wraps are popular when it comes to smoking cannabis. However, other healthier options are available like vapes, gummies, oils, creams, and more. Plus, these days, its not all about standard THC, as tons of other compounds are now on the market like delta-8 THC, THCV, CBN, and HHC. We’ve got great deals for all your holiday shopping needs, so check out what’s on offer and make all your friends super happy this year. Make sure to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter. Also save big on Delta 8, Delta 9 THC, Delta-10 THC, THCO, THCV, THCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!
A little about joint smoking
When we talk about joints, it encompasses two different basic things, which can both go by either name (depending on where in the world you are), or can be differentiated by a basic point. We’ll use that basic point here. A joint is a smoking method made by grinding up cannabis flowers and rolling them in paper specifically made for this purpose. A spliff on the other hand, is this exact same thing, but with a percentage of tobacco mixed in. This percentage can vary by the desires of the smoker, and can range from a tiny amount of tobacco to keep it burning, to mostly tobacco with just a sprinkling of weed.
Since hash (a hard resinous cannabis concentrate) can’t be smoked on its own without a pipe, use of hash in a spliff is commonplace in hash-smoking countries. In this version, hash is melted or broken up, and mixed with tobacco, which is rolled in the same papers.
Wrapping cannabis can be done one other way. Rather than standard joint/spliff papers, there’s the option of blunt papers or wraps. These are effectively used the same way, with either only cannabis, a mix of cannabis and tobacco, or a mix of tobacco and hash. It should always be remembered that a smoker can replace tobacco with alternative herbal concoctions which can also be used for joint and blunt rolling.
What are rolling papers and wraps made of?
The first joint I ever rolled was done with weed stolen from my stepfather. It wasn’t good stuff, though I wouldn’t have understood this at the time. I remember it looking like a mess of sticks and dried plant material, more in line with schwag of today. He had back issues, and was probably smoking it for relief. This was back in the mid-90’s in Pennsylvania, when cannabis was pretty uniformly illegal.
I didn’t know about grinding or anything like that. Nor did I know about rolling papers. I tore off a piece of standard lined notebook paper, wrapped the weed in it in a flimsy little roll, which obviously didn’t stick together as there was no glue, and lit one end while attempting to inhale. As a non-cigarette smoker, I didn’t really know how to do, and I don’t remember getting high. Not that time, or the couple times I tried after. But I do remember a horrible taste, a terrible burning in my throat, and coughing for quite some time. It was well into the future that I learned what rolling papers really are.
Breathing in wood smoke is bad, we already know this. So it’s no surprise that the papers used for rolling joints, spliffs, and blunts, are not standard paper from wood (though some cheaper brands do use wood pulp). Instead, joint papers are generally made of other plant-based materials like hemp, flax, or rice straw. Blunts on the other hand are a bit different. They’re styled after cigars, and the standard method uses tobacco leaves which are wrapped around the marijuana (or marijuana and tobacco mix). It is more common now – especially for cheaper brands, to use tobacco pulp to make these wraps, rather than tobacco leaves.
In terms of how they’re stuck together, higher end rolling papers use a strip of glue, which is called gum Arabic, and which is made from the acacia tree. Other options include using cellulose sugar, or natural gum. Obviously, no real glue is used, as that is also dangerous to breathe in, like using wood for paper.
For quite some time, the standard has been to have little pre-sized papers, sold in packs that comes in different sizes depending on how big a person wants their joint to be. The papers have a little glue on one end so they can be rolled and then stuck together to stay in place. Some brands also provide small rectangular cardboard filters which are rolled up and then stuck in one end. Though they do nothing to provide actual filtration, they do make for a good way to hold the end of the joint.
New trends in joint papers and wraps – hemp rolls
One of the new trends in joint papers and wraps comes from the idea of these predesigned sizes. Companies like RAW and Hempire are now putting out joint rolling papers that are simply in a roll, where the user can determine how long they need their paper to be for each specific joint. This makes it easier to get the correct paper size for the desired size of the joint. Maybe you just want a few quick hits, maybe you’ve got a half hour to kill and want to blaze through it.
A nice short personal joint might require a lot less paper than a big spliff meant to make it around a group of 10 people. With this new invention, it’s no longer necessary to pick pre-designed sizes, and hope they meet the correct needs. Maybe you want it smaller than small size papers, maybe you want to make a joint much bigger than standard large papers.
RAW offers this product as 5 meter (about 16.5 ft) Organic Hemp Rolls, while Hempire offers 13.12 ft (about 4 meters) for its Pure Hemp Rolls. These rolls work just like regular joint papers, with a glue band down one side of the paper roll, and are just about giving users the ability to choose the length of their joint. Rolls with different thicknesses can be bought, since it’s the length that can be determined by the user, not the width. These rolls resemble toilet paper rolls, and come in bigger boxes to accommodate the roll.
New trends in joint papers and wraps – terpene infused
Another new trend has to do with blunt papers. Not only can blunt papers come in a variety of flavors like grape, honey, or strawberry, but they can now come already-infused with different terpenes. Terpenes, as we know, are compounds within a cannabis plant that are responsible for the smell of the plant, the taste of it, and some of its effects, including helping to provide synergistic effects (entourage effects) with other cannabinoids and compounds within the plant. Different terpenes, therefore, are good for different purposes, and aid in the cannabis experience whether for medical or recreational purposes.
Hempire shines here as well, with an entire line consisting of tons of flavored wraps, and an array of choices with infused terpenes. Now, the company doesn’t specify on the site, or the packaging, just what combination of terpenes is used, but I expect in the future more specific information will be given on this, with wraps specifically designed for different smoking purposes. Maybe wraps for the morning will contain different terpenes than a wrap meant to help a person sleep.
I did find that the Hempire wraps I tried, Rilla-G with terpenes and Clemen-Terp with terpenes both had issues with the glue sticking well. It’s quite possible the papers got too hot at one point, or some other unusual occurrence happened to make them not work as well. While the papers smoked fine, tasted good, and provided extra terpenes, they were difficult to seal. This, of course, does nothing to undermine that the wraps themselves are a cool new invention in blunt rolling, but it did make smoking them a bit tricky. I have not had this problem with other Hempire rolling papers.
New trends in joint papers and wraps – organic
The idea of organic is always around, but now it’s being applied to joint papers and wraps as well. Some brands like RAW advertise a safer smoking experience all the time, with unbleached, unrefined papers, devoid of chalk, dyes, and additives to promote burning. The company does, however, go a step further than this with some products, offering organic hemp wraps in different sizes.
Even OCB, a standard in the world of joint-rolling, now offers Organic Hemp rolling papers. Not only are the papers organic, but they are housed in paper booklets made of recycled cardboard and using vegetable inks. Long-running brand Rizla is offering a similar product with its Natura papers which use 100% organic hemp, responsibly sourced, and unbleached.
Yet another very well-known brand is also jumping on the organic train. Zig-Zag now provides Organic Hemp Papers which are 100% vegan, and non-GMO. These papers use hemp which is sourced from organic farms, and which provides a very smooth taste and slow burn.
When did this start?
Joint/spliff smoking does not go back as far historically as other smoking methods like pipes, bongs, and edibles, although when exactly it started is still hard to say. The first mention of the use of spliffs came from Mexico, wherein 1856 a pharmacist out of the University of Guadalajara wrote about local laborers smoking cigarettes with cannabis mixed in. A first mention of this kind generally happens once a trend has already gotten big enough to be noticeable, so it suffices to say this tradition had already been going on for some time. Where in Mexico it started (or if that was even the first country to adopt the practice), cannot be said.
Perhaps this explains the popularity of the song ‘La Cucaracha’ (the Cockroach), a well-known Mexican ditty that tells the funny story of a cockroach unable to get up since he he has no more weed to smoke. This song is also the basis for using the term ‘roach’ for the end of a joint, when there isn’t any weed left.
The first advertisements for medical marijuana cigarettes came out in 1870 in The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. The brand selling the spliffs was ‘Grimault’s Indian Cigarettes’, and the product, a mix of cannabis with other herbs, was advertised to be a medicine for respiratory illnesses. Probably not the kind of treatment that would be advised today!
Everyone has their own preference when it comes to how to light up. Some people prefer joints to spliffs. Some people prefer blunts to joints. Some like a flavored smoking experience, while some prefer the natural taste of cannabis. Some like smoking small joints alone, while others stick together rolling papers to create joints big enough for a whole room.
However you want to do it, the options are getting wider. Meaning you can now roll it up with your choice of joint papers or wraps that meet the needs for your desired smoking experience.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.