(Last Updated On: December 19, 2016)

Although most American marijuana enthusiasts use a bong or pipe to ingest their weed, a fair portion of the weed-smoking populace has made joints or blunts their primary or supplementary method of consumption. While the bulk of lung damage incurred through smoking joints is due to the combustion of weed at high temperatures (and not as a result of the burned paper).

It’s surprising how much different papers will affect other facets of the smoking experience, such as taste, burn rate and the effect on the throat and chest.

Careful of Chemicals

It’s quite common for chemicals to be added to traditional rolling papers (like Zig Zags) during the production process to make them lighter, finer and stronger or to make them burn longer. Bleaches such as chlorine or calcium carbonate are sometimes used.

Thicker papers not only make a faster burning joint with a harsher taste but have also been reported to cause greater oral and lung irritation. Many papers, especially blunt wraps, and colored papers may also contain potassium nitrate which is a substance that can cause respiratory tract damage and lung cancer.

rolling paper and weedPhoto credit: Wikipedia

Healthier Paper Choices

A general rule of thumb: Less paper is better. Thinner papers mean you are inhaling less smoke overall. The right kind of rolling paper can greatly increase the amount of taste and flavor you get from your joint. Rice and hemp papers tend to be a favorite due to their thinness as well as the slowness of their burn. Both are usually chlorine-free and unbleached and are better choices than thick tobacco papers.

It’s also wise to seek out papers that use all natural gums as adhesives instead of harsh, chemical glues.

Rizla liquorice paperPhoto credit: Flickr

A Better Smoking Experience

Just as no marijuana user wants chemicals in his/her weed, no smoker should have to contend with chemicals in their rolling papers! Natural, unbleached hemp and rice papers seem to present the safest choice for pot smokers and many companies are offering these as an alternative to the thicker, more traditional papers.

Just remember: When rolling a joint, your best move is to use only as much rolling paper as is necessary. This will allow you to experience the cannabis flavor in as pure and unsullied a manner as possible. If you’re wanting to avoid the risk, might we suggest a vape?

Written by Deborah Walker