For those in the market for rolling papers and wraps, a lot of thought was probably put into whatever they’re intending to roll or wrap up. But what about the roll or wrap itself? When did people decide this was a preferred way to inhale smoke, what are all these papers and wraps made from, and what are the differences between the various options available? When you are smoking anything from a Cuban cigar to a gas station cigarette, the material that it is wrapped in can be different. Often companies will use cheap papers to cut costs which can truly ruin their product. When you light anything the rolling paper is just as important as its contents which is why higher quality and specialty material rolling papers have become such a big business in recent times. As customers learn more and more about what they are actually smoking, they don’t want to ruin high quality tobacco or herbs on a cheap and chemical filled rolling paper. To learn a bit more about the history and materials of rolling papers keep reading below!
It’s impossible to pinpoint the very first instance of humans choosing to roll a substance in leaf for the purpose of inhaling smoke, due to the fact this event probably happened long before the beginning of recorded history. As far as the modern cigar and cigarette go, their origins can be traced to the Mayans, who burned rolled up leaves of tobacco and inhale the smoke. The Mayans would also use dried banana skins, corn husks, and even certain types of tree bark to serve as wraps. European colonialists would eventually begin the trend of using fine paper for rolling, a method which has more or less remained the standard to the present day regardless of the substance being smoked.
Modern rolling papers and wraps, for the most part, are essentially the same they were centuries ago; very thin paper and tobacco leaf. However, alternatives to these classic options are available and growing in popularity. The most popular by far is hemp-based rolling papers and hemp wraps meant to replace tobacco leaf. Unlike the harsh and heavily treated fibrous materials used for traditional papers and the dangers of tobacco wraps, hemp is relatively natural and far less hazardous when inhaled. Using materials like hemp or more natural paper is where the quality comes into play. A fitting comparison is eating a Ruth’s Chris steak with a side of microwave made mash potatoes, it is simply a waste!
The health risks associated with inhaling tobacco leaf smoke are well known, but less so about the hazards of rolling papers. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how using tobacco leaf for wraps is dangerous, however, most folks will continue to use traditional rolling papers without knowing the potential risks involved. One thing is certain: classic rolling papers are manufactured with potassium nitrate, commonly referred to as saltpeter – to make them burn slowly. Papers and wraps free from tobacco and chemical additives – such as those made from hemp fibers – are the safer bet in terms of potential health hazard.
Since they are typically classified as paraphernalia related to tobacco use, the sale of rolling papers and wraps is usually restricted, regardless of material. In most jurisdictions around the world, these products must be kept behind the sales counter, out of reach of the customer until age can be verified. One consequence of these regulations is that options, as far as inventory is concerned, varies widely. A preferred wrap might be sold in one convenience store, but not in another. Consumers are increasingly looking to the internet as a means to get access to preferred rolling papers and premier wraps.
The substance being rolled or wrapped for smoking is without a doubt the star of the show. But just like a great stage production needs a backstage operation to succeed, the rolling papers and wraps themselves ought to be examined as well. After all, they are also destined to be inhaled.