Natural Leaf Wraps vs Rolling Papers – Why Natural Leaf Blunts are quickly becoming an alternative smoking experience
Rolling Papers have been a classic choice for any smoker of cannabis or hemp. For many of us it was the way we were introduced to the plant and the joint rolled in paper is one of the most iconic images of cannabis use.
However recently there has been trend of new types of rolling papers - in the initial wave of papers seen in this new era of recreational cannabis, many went for the eye-grabbing printed paper that either popped with foil or a unique printed design on the rolling paper. As time went on, this type of rolling paper has fallen out of favor with cannabis consumers, since having these features, ultimately sacrifices the smoking experience of high-quality, flavorful cannabis.
This scrutiny on printed papers combined with a focus on the medicinal effects of cannabis have catapulted the industry in the opposite direction toward natural smoking products like the Palm Leaf Wrap made from Cordia Leaf and the Toasted Palm Leaf Wrap made from Tendu Leaf. Instead of becoming a one-time purchase, the natural leaves offer a true alternative smoking experience.
Now increasingly biggest question has been: which leaves smokes the best, while not deviating too much from rolling paper and like rolling paper allow the cannabis flavors to shine?
The natural leaves have in the past been extremely popular internationally, with cured Banana being amongst the first ways human consumed smoke whether from cannabis, herbal products or tobacco.
However, in the United States, besides tobacco leaf wraps, natural leaves have historically been largely absent in cannabis consumption, until recreational cannabis finally started to be rolled out and manufacturers of pre-rolls and smoking accessories looked for ways to stand apart from classic rolling papers.
This first began with the Cordia leaf, which in the industry is most commonly known as the King Palm leaf, due to brand King Palm having a first mover effect and introducing the natural leaf products to the United States.
The Cordia leaf has a darker green color to it, which does introduce an earthy taste to the smoking experience due to the high amount of chlorophylls in the leaf (when you cure cannabis part of the curing process is removing chlorophylls from the plant to improve the smoking quality, same with tobacco hence why tobacco goes from being green to dark brown).
While the King Palm leaf has shown some shortcomings in terms of smoking experience, it has shown in the recreational and medical space that consumers are looking for natural product to elevate their smoking experience and that aren’t just made of rolling paper.
Now, there are products like Tendu leaves, Rose leaves, Gogi Berry Wraps, and Cocoa Wraps, that have made the natural leaf market both innovative and aesthetically pleasing, while not sacrificing the smoking experience of premium cannabis flower.
As we keep both the hemp and cannabis market clean, these natural leaf wraps not only look like the future, but offer a true enhancement to the smoking experience in a natural way for hemp/cannabis smokers worldwide.
As the legalization of cannabis has been widespread across the States, and smokable hemp becoming its own industry, many have attempted to dominate the smokable accessories market.
The rolling paper industry has shown that they are the standard and most popular way of smoking a joint currently. Due to this, many wanted to capture a part of this paper industry, and to differentiate themselves, figured that creating unique designs on the paper itself or making the paper from alternative source like hemp, would lead to success.
While these innovations like making paper out of hemp have largely been incredible for the industry, the paper with printed designs have largely lowered the smoking experience. Unfortunately to put these colored designs on the paper, it increases the paper thickness and requires a lower quality paper that just does not make any sense as cannabis breeders and farmers become more and more proficient at creating highly flavorful strains.
Still though, despite this Printed Rolling Papers and pre-rolls made from them began taking space on the dispensary shelf. Dispensaries see it as a way to give consumers variety when they came to the shop. And so colorful printed rolling papers did expose that having your pre-roll differentiated by look from all the other regular rolling paper pre-rolls on the shelf did capture the consumer’s attention.
Although these brands were able to attract the consumer’s attention and potentially even convince them to make a purchase, the key is still how to make them a repeat buyer. As while you can capture their attention, the smoking experience is what makes them buy again. Unfortunately for the printed paper market, it’s clear that that most clients would try the paper once to see what it was about, and would then never repurchase these pre-rolls again.
Dispensaries have opened up all across America and with this frenzy of new stores means more and more shelf space for new products. Though the printed papers did survive, they largely started to fizzle out compared to their initial hype, and soon they started to have the shelf space encroached by one of the first natural leaf brands, King Palm.
King Palm, founded in 2014, began introducing their Cordia palm leaves, which could be identified with the green colored wrap. In the past, clients were used to brown colored wraps, as brands like Backwoods, Dutch Master, and Swisher were the most commonly used smoking wrap.
However, with the tobacco leaf wraps being shown it is detrimental to your health, many consumers are looking for new more natural alternative.
The Cordia Palm Leaf has a distinctive smell to it which also leads to its earthy taste upon smoking. It was made tube shaped, to give a cigar like feel, and to further stand apart from the cone shaped products.
Since the leaf is thicker than regular rolling paper it smokes slower and with a thicker smoke. King Palm started with the 1 gram and 2 gram size and it was made for group settings where the blunt could easily be passed around.
King Palm wraps also featured a bio-degradable corn husk filter. Essentially it is a corn husk which is tightly rolled into a cylindrical filter. This tight filter provides resistance when you draw through it adding to the smoking experience of the king palm and reducing the earthy flavor you get with the Cordia leaf.
The corn husk filter also helped King Palm position itself as a healthy alternative to the normal blunt wraps. It’s 2 pack bags quickly become 5 pack, 10 pack, and even 20 pack bags, as consumers would go to retail spaces, and be able to quickly pick up their palm leaf wraps with their flower. They also began to collaborate with companies like Boveda to have their leaves come sealed in a bag with a moisture pack to keep the leaves fresh.
The introduction of King Palm was the surge the natural leaf market needed, but the question still remained if it offered the best smoking experience out of all the natural leaves. Consumers liked that the leaf was a nice green color but is a green leaf really better?
To fill the void this question posed, it led many competitors to begin to take notice of King Palm and begin race to produce the best smoking leaf was on. Brands like Million Bananas, High Hemp, and Juicy Jay wanting to offer either pre-rolled wraps or give the customer the option of rolling their own blunt with a natural wrap.
Using natural ingredients like banana and hemp offered the market diversity, as these products further showed there could be healthier options compared to the tobacco leaves. However, this also caused users to begin to compare each of them to see which one smoked the best.
With King Palm’s Cordia leaves having a strong taste, users who put the taste of the flower above all, began to want to find alternatives to the cordia leaf. It also become more apparent as testing came in for King Palm’s Cordia leaves, that the King Palms Cordia leaf could fail for limits of heavy metals and pesticides in the recreational cannabis market.
This was because the surrounding areas where the Cordia leaves are grown pesticides are often used and soil often contained high levels of lead leading to a contamination of the Cordia leaves. Certain states have higher limits for heavy metals and pesticides which is why Cordia leaves can be used but the strictest states like California it often is unable to be used.
Since hemp wrap is thinner in GSM (paper thickness), it does not affect the taste of the flower, and is able to pass these tests in all recreational markets.
The banana leaves are the medium between the two, as it’s GSM is not as thin as the hemp wrap but not quite as thick as a palm leaf wrap. Smokers began to fall in the spectrum of which leaves they liked best, based on which pros and cons each of them gave.
These brands have begun to experiment with putting extra flavors on their wraps, including using “terpenes”, which is quickly becoming a common term, that can surpass Indica, Hybrid, and Sativa in infamy. Just like these terms, however, they are misused, and the artificial flavoring of natural leaves is still up in the air, as more users begin to ask questions of what it’s truly made out of. As these growing concerns come up more, each of the natural leaf wraps deficiencies has proven that the ultimate winner in the market has not yet been found.
In this initial surge of natural leaf wraps, the retail space just continued to get bigger and bigger, and now newcomers have added even more interesting natural leaf products to the mix.
Although it’s in its infancy, there are more natural ingredients used to make smokable products, including rose petals, goji berries, and cocoa. These leaf wraps are posed to give the rest of the natural leaves a run for their money.
However, the recent leaf wrap that has taken the USA market by storm, has to be the Tendu leaf wrap. With its scientific named being Diospyros melanoxylon, the Tendu leaf wrap has been incredibly popular globally, in areas like Germany, Middle East, and Japan largely using them to roll tobacco. Since the Tendu leaf is flexible, does not crack when dry, and the soft texture, it makes it an amazing leaf to use for rolling, especially since it does not interfere with taste of its contents.
For years, the Tendu leaf has become one of the most popular wraps world-wide, though it largely did not have any presence in the United States. Along with its unique features, the Tendu Leaf was also proven to be able to pass the testing for recreational cannabis markets, as processes like toasting the Tendu makes sure to eliminate any contaminates. While these leaves were commonly used to roll tobacco cigarettes, it has surprisingly shown that it’s true use may actually be the wrap to create a cigar smoking experience in a natural and clean way for premium cannabis flower that doesn’t interfere with the flavor.
Along with the leaves themselves, the natural leaf market is also experiencing innovations in the packaging these products come in. Initially, simply having them in a mylar bag was the beginning, with simple branding on the front. However, mylar bags began to have a clear window in the front of the bag to then display the leaves. This allowed consumers to see what they would get and prevented anyone being afraid that once they left the store, the contents could be dried and cracked, like in Backwoods. Since these leaves are not regulated like tobacco products, the marketing done on the bags were also vibrant in color and added many words like certified organic.
Since the natural leaves are deemed to be much more premium than just normal rolling paper, it also started to get filled with premium flower, and be infused or coated with kief, to then be sold as a single 1 gram or 2 gram blunt.
As these products are priced at higher price point, the packaging began to matter too, as began to place them in glass tubes that had cork screws on top, which was far more premium looking than the ordinary plastic CR joint tubes.
The labels placed on these glass tubes were also started to look much more appealing, as brand, began to use finishes like foil and soft touch coating to further stand out. These products found in the dispensaries are resembling more and more the premium cigar market, as the market for smoking cannabis continues to grow, and it becomes more and more of a socially acceptable norm.