Rolling Papers: What You Need to Know

// January 31, 2017
Authentic old school zig zags

We pay so much attention to the quality of our bud: how it looks, how it smells, how it’s been grown, so on and so forth. But we forget that the rolling papers we use also contribute to our overall smoking experience. With so many brands and styles of papers on the market, it can be hard to decide which papers are best suited for our smoking needs. It’s predominantly a personal choice based on preference, but there are some simple key points that can help us to make up our minds!


When choosing papers the most important thing to consider is the material it’s made of. Is it laced with chemicals? Whitened with bleach? Is it a safe and natural product, or am I rolling my herb in a glorified version of printer paper? Common materials that are 100% safe include rice, hemp, and flax fiber.


Most brands carry standardized sized papers. The key questions to ask yourself are: 1. “How many people will be smoking this?” and 2. “How high do we want to get?”. For joints a ½ gram or less the standard/classic size papers or the 1 ¼ inch are pretty common and easily hold that weight of bud. If you plan to smoke a joint that’s more than .5-1 gram you should definitely consider the wide papers or the king size/king size slims. King sized papers can fit up to 3g’s per joint, so if you want to roll up a nice cannon these are your best bet.



Easily one of the more popular papers on the market, Raw papers have positioned themselves as the go-to paper for the younger generation. With endorsement from mainstream rapper Wiz Khalifa, it becomes obvious that Raw views themselves as a young, inspired brand that wants to remain relevant not only in the marijuana community but also in related culture.

You can tell by the translucent light brown colour that these papers are unbleached. Because of how thin they are, the papers burn nicely and don’t interfere with taste. If you look closely at the papers you’ll see they have a crisscross watermark, this embellishment is said to help with even-burning. One more bonus? They use 100% windmill power in their factories.

Material: They have 2 kinds- hybrid plant fibers (of which they don’t specify) or organic hemp

Sizes: Standard Wide, Classic 1 ¼”, 1 ½”, King size, King Size Wide

Bleached/Chlorine: No


Zig-Zag is one of the originators of the commercial rolling paper. Founders Maurice and Jacques Braunstein started the company in 1879 in a small paper factory in Paris. Sadly they began receiving negative attention from the masses based on their past usage of animal-based glues and chlorines/bleach. Their mixture of unknown fibers created a really thick, undesirable paper and people started seeing Zig-Zag as a stale brand. Luckily Zig-Zag has since adapted with the times and their new line is made of Flax Fiber. They’ve even upgraded their adhesive and switched to a natural Gum-Arabic that’s derived from the African acacia tree. Just make sure you’re buying a new run of their papers- some stores still carry their old stuff!

Material: Flax Fibers

Sizes: Standard 1 ½”, 1 ¼”, Standard Wide

Bleach/Chlorine?: Not their newer products


Smoking brand carries a huge selection of papers. They have everything from tree-free gum papers, to combo kits that include papers and tips! We love this brand because of their commitment to sustainability. All of their papers are FSC certified. FSC is a non-profit organization that promotes responsible management of our forests internationally. Their organic hemp line donates part of their profits to Trees for The Future, a charity that funds reforestation work. Where tree-sap was a positive switch on Zig-Zag’s part, Smoking believes it to be wasteful and has a specific tree-free line. Another bonus about this company is they give you almost double the amount of papers per package than most brands.

Material: Unspecified other than their organic line which is 100% organic hemp 100% BIO

Sizes: Single Wide, Classic 1 ¼”, 1 ½”, King size

Bleach/Chlorine: No


Elements Rolling Papers are unique in that they use rice for the paper and a sugar gum for the adhesive. They use strictly rice and sugar, all earth-friendly products and because of this there’s no ash created when burning (other than the caramel from the gum). They also use 100% windmill power and have a criss-cross water-mark that helps with even burning. The extremely thin papers can be tricky to grip when rolling, but with a little bit of practice this isn’t really that big of an obstacle. They also have a magnetic closure on their packaging, so your papers won’t fall out and get crumbled in your bag. Elements has done a lot of working making their packaging perfect. They’ve even trademarked their “Perfect FOLD” system, which basically has the papers interleaved at a 2:1 ratio, instead of folded in half, making it a lot easier to pack and roll your weed.

Material: Rice

Sizes: 1 ½”, 1 ½” Wide, King-Size Slim, 1 ¼”

Bleach: No

Time to Roll

Now that you have some information you can make an educated decision on which company and their said profile resonates most with you. Of course these are just the main 4, there are tons and tons of brands on the market. Hopefully you feel empowered to do your research before you accept just any product into your lungs! Happy Toking.

By Tee Krispil