Every smoke circle, group chat, subreddit, and message board has had the same forum going for decades attempting to definitively answer the question: which are the best rolling papers? Every smoker has their own distinct rolling style, technique they use and result they’re going for, so it follows that we all have distinct preferences for the papers we express our perfect joint skills with. While we don’t look down on folks who choose to use cones or don’t have the dexterity to roll, we’re only covering hand-roll papers here, but we’ll mention when brands have pre-rolled cones.
With the National Cannabis Competition and its featured joint-rolling competition a little over a month away, we wanted to cover options that we think will raise enthusiasm for the art of rolling joints. We’re in an age where a glass piece can arrive in the mail in as little as two days, and there are more vape brands than smartphones, but smoking an old school joint sometimes unlocks flavor and effects that nifty gadgets can’t access. Joints are also the preferred testing method by some of the most popular cannabis brands, as well as part of our quality tests here at Gentleman Toker, so smoking a J isn’t going out of style any time soon.
The King of Kings
One branch of the debate of “who has the best rolling papers” is “who has the best king size papers?” The one-two punch of size and elite quality comes from Elements King Size leaves. The leaves are 1 1/4" wide, as opposed to the slim size of many other papers on the market. Elements are made from rice paper, and weigh roughly 14 GSM (grams per square meter), which measures up to the “Ultra-Thin” label on the box. Elements King Size leaves have become popular among enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike owing to the papers’ expert smoothness.
Rolling masters can pack more than 4 grams of ground flower into a properly rolled joint with Elements King Size rice rolling papers, crutched with two tips rolled around each other. This selection has remained a classic because of how easy it is to find Elements in smoke shops, as well as their popularization from use in hash holes or “donut rolls,” which are hand-rolled infused pre rolls with high-quality flower and a bit of live hash rosin, usually crutched with a wooden or glass tip. Elements King Size are also available as cones that smoke just as smooth, but they don’t have nearly the same capacity as the loose leaves. It’s worth noting that Elements papers are frequently counterfeited, so the best place to buy them is always at your local smoke shop.
The Best Rolling Papers for Beginners
I might take a bit of flack for this, but I truly believe that Juicy Jay papers are the best papers for people to use when they begin rolling. For starters, rolling takes a good amount of practice to master the technique. Often folks will buy a large amount of pure hemp or lower-quality flower to pulverize in a large grinder and practice rolling up, and the flavors from Juicy Jays help cover the lack of flavor from weak bud. Second, Juicy Jay papers are a bit firmer and weightier than most rolling papers, which is helpful for beginners who haven’t developed muscle memory in their hands. Specifically, the firmness helps rollers get the initial tuck straight and tight around the area where the crutch meets the flower.
Juicy Jays flavored rolling papers were developed by Josh Kesselman, who also runs both the Elements and RAW brands. This product was their first foray into the cannabis paper market, and has become a pretty refined product. They have 1 1/4“ width regular-length papers in almost every flavor you can think of including Raspberry, Blackberry Brandy, Peach, Butterscotch, Candy Cane, Watermelon, Strawberry, Coconut, Banana, Chocolate, Menthol, Orange, Cherry, and Blueberry. The flavor isn’t overbearing like candy; Juicy Jay papers taste light and natural. The papers are also printed with graphics of the flavor you’ve chosen, which is helpful to differentiate joints when you’re rolling up different varieties of flower. Juicy Jay papers are available at local smoke shops and almost all reputable online retailers.
The Ultimate Expert Rolling Paper
OCB is an eco-friendly French manufacturer that has been making rolling papers for over 100 years, and their OCB Ultimate Slim leaves are definitively the thinnest papers on the market at 10 GSM. The difference is marginal, but noticeable in a side-by-size comparison. While the 14 GSM leaves are a little bit smoother than the OCB Ultimate Slims, OCB will have you inhaling the least amount of paper of any of the options on this list, which affords you more flavor. The natural gum adhesive is also not particularly intrusive, and you can fit roughly 2.5 grams of flower per leaf, which provides a full-force smoking experience.
These thin papers are my go-to for hand rolling because I appreciate the flavor notes I find when smoking. Generally, OCBs can be a bit more difficult to roll because of their thinness, but with enough practice you’ll barely notice the difference. OCB also has a paper in the 14 GSM class called OCB Solaire that gives similar flavor benefits as well as enhanced smoothness. They’re also a bit easier to procure and roll than Ultimate Slim. OCB makes their papers out of natural wood fibers, which means they won’t ash as light as hemp rolling papers, but are great for lighting a joint with an even burn all-around. You can get OCB papers online through Amazon and Rolling Paper Depot, as well as from local smoke shops.
Old-School Rolling Papers for Longtime Connoisseurs
If you’ve been smoking for a long time, odds are you started rolling with papers before they had adhesive, or “gum,” on them. If you still crave that experience, Club Modiano ungummed slims are the papers for you. To seal this paper, you just tear a little bit of the paper off one of the edges and add moisture to the frayed edge like you seal the adhesive with normal papers. The seal is strong enough to finish rolling and stuff a little bit extra in, but the rip tolerance isn’t quite as strong as papers with adhesive.
Club Modiano papers are also seed pulp papers rather than hemp, and the main benefit of these leaves is that you can get the purest expression of the combusted flavor. While the adhesive is minimal on the OCBs, the marginal difference is noticeable to longtime smokers and flavor chasers. Another benefit is that a crease in the seal doesn’t mean you’ve wasted your paper, as you can always mold, tuck and seal again with the same paper. These papers were recommended by Jason King in his Cannabible series; they still hold up as a proper connoisseur smoke almost 20 years later. You can get Club Modiano papers from Rolling Paper Depot.
The Pink One
If you’re a fan of RAW and Elements, Blazy Susan is a suitable alternative for you. My favorite thing about these leaves is that they’re pink. The leaves use thin wood pulp papers that smoke smoothly. Blazy Susan assures customers that the pink dye used in papers and tips is “natural based, vegan, and GMO-free!” and “not Red Dye #40 or Red Dye #1,” which means they’re flavorless and shouldn’t lead to any throat irritation. Cones are also available. By buying Blazy Susan papers you’re supporting a small business in Denver, and the papers burn just as evenly as the other best rolling papers you’ve smoked.
The Tried and Trusted for Tree Toking
Even though this is the third Josh Kesselman selection we’ve listed on this round up, you can’t write a roundup of the best joint papers without mentioning the best RAW papers. RAW has always stood out amongst enthusiasts for being one of the safest and best tasting hemp papers you can get, and RAW Black Organic is the latest development in the line-up. Josh Kesselman originally conceived RAW to be the first brand of unbleached papers with no chalk or additives for cannabis smokers, as an alternative to papers that were designed for loose tobacco smoking.
RAW Rolling Papers
RAW has iterated and improved on its formula over more than two decades, and the result is one of the cleanest smoking, smoothest burning, and least adulterated papers you can get. Black Organic is RAW’s highest quality organic hemp at its thinnest, and the papers provide cannabis smokers with a tried-and-true experience. RAW has built up a network of smoke shops across the US, and Kesselman assures fans the best place to get RAW rolling papers is at a brick-and-mortar store. These papers are the gold standard for rolling papers in the US. They have cones as well.
The Golden Ticket - 24K Gold Rolling Papers
Shine Rolling Papers are absolutely a novelty choice, but I decided to include them on this list because I think it’s something smokers should treat themselves to at least once. It’s like Andy Dwyer in Parks and Rec turning every dollar he had in his bank account to singles. It makes you feel like you’re on top of the world, even if it’s just for a second.
These papers are made from hemp and edible 24K gold. They also offer cones. They start at roughly $11 for a single leaf, but if you have an extra Benjamin and find a few quarters in the couch, this selection is a fun experience. You can get these papers from the Shine website.
The Last Nug
There are a lot of great rolling paper brands out there that you can find at your local smoke shop, but it’s easy to go into the store and get hit with analysis paralysis. Sometimes, the choice is as simple as picking the obvious selections from Elements or RAW, but there are some other gems out there many folks haven’t tried yet. A lot of people smoke one kind of paper for years, and are surprised when they smoke a new one they like more for the first time. Some refuse to smoke anything else but their one tried-and-true brand. (And others still have never rolled a joint in their lives!) At the end of the day, there are tons of good options for coming together to roll or stuff your favorite flower in a perfect joint, spark up and sink into supreme relaxation.