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Joints on the Fly: Rolling Paper Alternatives

Posted by Canna Randa on May 30, 2023

When it comes to rolling the perfect joint, you may have a tough time with anything except a high-quality piece of rolling paper. But let's face it, most people aren’t going for perfection every time they light up, and that’s O.K.! Sometimes, we need to cut corners for a quick fix. One of those cuttable corners is the rolling paper. 

Rolling papers, or joint papers, are usually made of some sort of natural plant material, like flax, rice paper, or even hemp. These materials will burn slowly and won’t impede the flavors of your weed. If you’re fresh out of papers and you’ve got some flower that needs smoking, here are a few reliable rolling paper alternatives at home when you can't make it to a smoke shop, like our dispensary near Park Ridge:

Pages From a Book

In a pinch, you can rip out a page from a notebook or novel to roll up into a quick joint. Keep in mind that not all book pages are the same. Pages with lots of ink, like from newspapers and receipts, make the paper disproportionately heavy. Furthermore, avoid pieces of paper that are covered in a sealant, making them resistant to burning. 

Some of the most frequently used books have exceedingly thin pages, including dictionaries, bibles, and encyclopedias – and in the age of the internet, who is using their 2,000-page dictionary anymore? Tear off a piece of paper with minimal text and start rolling like usual. Just make sure not to rip out any pages that you haven’t read yet!

Empty Cigarettes

You can also create a joint without rolling paper by using a cigarette. Start by taking an unused cigarette and emptying out its tobacco contents. This usually involves some squeezing and twisting, as you don't want to tear the cigarette apart. Once the tobacco is out, all you need to do is refill it with your own ground marijuana buds. 

Cigarettes also come with a built-in carbon filter which can be kept or removed. Transforming a cigarette this way can be a bit tedious, but the result is quite reliable. Be mindful that you’ll likely still have some residual tobacco in your empty cigarette shell, so you may feel a slight spliff buzz alongside the effects of your marijuana plant.

Gum Wrappers

If you’re a frequent gum chewer, remember to save your wrappers. As long as they aren’t severely crumpled up or torn, most gum wrappers can be used as rolling paper alternatives. To roll a joint, we recommend using wrappers without metal backing, as smoking aluminum foil can be toxic. If you’re extremely diligent, the aluminum foil layer can be removed from the waxy/filmy half, but the process can be tedious and often results in tears. 

To roll your gum wrapper joint, all you need to do is remove the gum (duh), layer on your ground weed, and start rolling. Pretty soon, your small piece of makeshift rolling paper will produce a small joint (with a hint of mint)!

Corn Husks

Embrace nature and try rolling up with a corn husk. While they may not seem like an orthodox solution, joints made of dried corn husks are quite common in some parts of the world. In other countries, corn husks are used to smoke all kinds of herbs, including hemp and tobacco. 

To make a husk joint, you’ll need to start by peeling an ear of corn. Once the corn is peeled, take the remaining husks and lightly heat them in the oven. After about an hour, you can take out your husks to let them cool. After that, you can get rolling! Dried corn husks are slow-burning, easy to roll, and won’t add any flavors that impede the taste and aromas of your flower.

Bongs & Glass Pipes

If you’re constantly running out of rolling paper, it may be time to break open the piggy bank and find a more permanent alternative. Just about anything you smoke in a joint can also be smoked in a hand pipe. If you’re using a glass pipe for the first time, be sure to read about how to smoke with a glass pipe before getting started. While they’re obviously more expensive than rolling papers, bongs and glass pipes can be used indefinitely as long as they are well maintained. When you make the switch, be sure to clean your bong or pipe regularly to ensure its longevity.

Alternatives to Avoid

While the number of rolling paper alternatives seems endless, there are a few materials that you should avoid.

  • Tin or Aluminum Foil: While some articles may tell you that foil wrap or an old soft drink can is an easy alternative, it should be noted that burning a soda can or tin foil emits toxic gasses that aren’t safe to breathe in directly.
  • Receipt Paper: Receipts use lots of ink, but even worse, they are covered in a layer of primer to achieve their glossy-smooth feel. You definitely don’t want to inhale from a receipt-rolled joint.
  • Printer Paper: Some forms of printer paper use bleach or chlorine during the recycling process. It’s best to avoid papers with these types of highly processed chemicals.

With seemingly so many options to choose from, you may wonder why you were ever buying rolling paper in the first place. However, after a few weeks of rolling a joint or a blunt of weed with corn husks and other rolling paper alternatives, you may miss the old feel of a reliable fold. Remember that the best way to roll a joint is whichever way is easiest for you!

What do you use when you are out of rolling papers? Hit me up on social media, and let's spark up a conversation!

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