Once you see the difference between paper brands, there's no going back.
The importance of rolling papers is underrated. Outside the depths of weed culture, many cannabis consumers are not fully aware of how papers affect an experience in terms of taste and product conservation. I've been smoking for more than 10 years now and only recently woke up to this revelation. Aside from obvious differences like a cough attack versus a smooth, clean drag, the right papers can make an eighth of flower last twice as long—or two nights, if you’re like me.
TL;DR: Choosing the right papers will make or break your smoking experience, but if you'd rather skip the line and go with something ready to light, we've got you covered with the top-rated pre-rolls in the country.
OCB X-Pert Slim Fit
Odet Cascadec Bolloré, now OCB, is another ancient rolling paper company. Think of them as Smoking's French counterpart. In lieu of Smoking's aesthetically endearing nod to the past, OCB offers a package from the sleek silver future with delicate papers now geared toward weed. My favorite is the OCB X-Pert Slim Fit. They have no taste, burn slowly, and though not the thinnest, they’re thin enough to produce less ash than others. Papers specifically designed for weed tend to lack the friction that makes them easier to roll for novice smokers. OCB's slight weight make them a good starting point for beginners.
Bottom Line: They’re solid papers that won’t make you break a sweat when it comes time to roll.
Smoking King Size Deluxe
Founded in Spain in 1879, Smoking is one of the oldest rolling paper companies in existence. While obviously conceived for tobacco, varieties have since expanded to king-size papers in Deluxe and Green (hemp-based), and are clearly intended for weed whether the packaging wants to admit it or not. A favorite among my friends, the aforementioned Deluxe King Size is a luxuriously slow paper presented in a black pack with antiquated, big band flair. These natural, ultra-thin white papers offer a suave alternative to traditional, stoner-centric options. They've been around 100-something years for a reason.
Bottom Line: Listen to Frank Sinatra while smoking with these and consider yourself a connoisseur of life.
Elements King Size
Elements prides itself on producing the most environmentally conscious of all papers. Made primarily from rice, sugar, and wind power, they create no ash, instead caramelizing the natural sugar gum as it burns. This Spanish company makes beautiful papers, but they burn faster than others and are more difficult to roll. However, the pack does feature a tiny magnet that snaps it closed. Very cool.
Bottom Line: If you’re eco-conscious and nimble with your hands, these might be just the thing for you.
Considered solely based on their widespread accessibility (they’re sold anywhere cigarettes are), those iconic orange packets of Zig-Zag rolling papers should exist only as a last resort. When driving through one of California’s largely deserted armpits, you might find yourself paperless, in which case the bearded icon will become your best friend. Otherwise, you’re better off pretending you don’t know them. Though they’re intended for tobacco and burn rather quickly, they're thinner than other gas station options, making them the only admissible option.
Bottom Line: Do it if you have to, don’t do it if you don’t.
Raw King Size Supreme
Raws have become hugely popular in recent years, growing from a secret staple of heady stoners to appearances in rap videos like Rae Sremmurd's By Chance. While the best papers typically come from Spain and France (where they smoke like there’s no tomorrow), Raw has reintroduced American exceptionalism with products openly designed for the herb. Their papers come in Classic Raw or Hemp and are made from a blend of naturally unbleached fibers, giving them a lovely brown translucence. I prefer the Classic to Hemp because they make for a lighter smoke. Little-known fact: When rolling papers are folded in their packaging, they have a distinct crease that can cause your joint to run. Raw circumvents the issue by packing the papers flat and making them wide enough to hold a comfortable crutch.
And the necessary novelty mention goes to…
Randy’s Wired Rolling Papers
Randy's are fun because they make you feel fancy. Though the papers themselves aren't great—kind of thick, burning too fast—a thin metal wire extends along the length of the paper. As you smoke, you bend the wire down into a little handle. This, for some reason, feels incredibly aristocratic in a silly way. Though your joint will probably run along the wire and burn a little unevenly, it is completely worth it.
Bottom Line: They’re a joke but also a lot of fun.
Look, as you can probably tell from this list, selecting the right rolling papers can be a more personal endeavor than you might've thought. But at the end of the day, choosing high-quality papers are like choosing perfect accessories: They accentuate your look without becoming the main attraction.
Photos by Anthony Tripoli.