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What Are Rice Rolling Papers Made Of and Other Rolling Paper Myths

What Are Rice Rolling Papers Made Of and Other Rolling Paper Myths

Posted by Custom Cones USA on Mar 24th 2023

Updated: July 1, 2024

The truth about rolling papers is often wrapped in misleading marketing language. Why are some labeled “rice papers” when rice is not used in their production, and why is “unbleached” a selling point when bleach isn’t used to make rolling papers? This generous use of adjectives has recently led to some interesting legal battles, which is why you are now finding rolling paper manufacturers offering tiny asterisk explanations for what their rolling papers are really made from.

Transparency is a high priority for us at Custom Cones USA, so instead of relying on marketing gimmicks and asterisks to move rolling papers, we go above and beyond to provide information that tells you exactly what you’re getting with our papers—no surprises! Below you will find what really goes into making rolling papers and the difference between all the different rolling paper types – this will help you make an informed decision on which type is perfect for your pre rolled cones.

What Are Rice Rolling Papers?

When people argue which rolling paper is the best, you will often hear “rice” paper touted as the best tasting or maybe organic hemp papers. The truth is “rice” paper is a made-up marketing term for rolling papers.

There are rice papers you can eat, like at a Vietnamese restaurant, but rolling papers are not made from rice or even rice fibers.

“Rice paper” may sound cool, but the boring reality is most white and brown rolling papers or pre rolled cones are made from wood pulp. Rolling papers originated out of the tobacco industry, where paper scientists have spent decades researching and creating the cleanest burning rolling papers. It’s easy to understand why someone would want to rebrand these papers as “rice papers” when “wood pulp” is the alternative. It’s not a beautiful sounding term, but that’s what it is.

Wood pulp is an ideal material because it offers enough thickness to hold its shape and is thin enough to limit the impact on flavor. In fact, wood fibers are the thinnest natural fibers used in rolling papers and can even be stretched during production to make ultra-thin papers. It’s these ultra-thin, highly refined wood pulp papers that often get labeled “rice papers,” but, as you can see, no rice went into their production. The only thing relating to rice is the color of the paper.

Unbleached vs. Bleached Papers

While we’re talking about white rolling papers and pre rolled cones, it’s worth addressing another myth. You’ve probably seen the term “unbleached” on rolling paper packages too. Can you guess what we’re going to tell you? You guessed it! Just another marketing gimmick!Bleach is not used in modern rolling paper production, even for the ultra-fine white papers, but because bleach is known for making things white, producers use the language to distinguish their products.

In other words, “unbleached” is a meaningless phrase. The real difference between white and brown wood pulp papers is in the refinement process. To be specific, white papers are refined further than brown papers to remove any of the pulp that would add color to a pre-rolled cone.

Therefore, technically the refined white rolling papers are the most flavorless rolling paper. But when it comes down to it, the difference between the white and brown rolling papers is very small and hard to notice. If you are an expert smoker and conducting a smoking test, you still need to be very careful and diligent to taste the difference. Since hemp is known for having very long and strong fibers, this leads to a bit harsher of a rolling paper, but again the impact is tiny compared to how much the flower and packing will dictate the flavor and burn of the pre-roll.

To be honest, because rolling papers are so thin, most consumers won’t be able to tell the difference between brown and white papers while they’re smoking them. Both do a great job of allowing what’s inside the paper to shine. The biggest difference between these two types of paper is mostly in how they look.

So now you might be wondering what is the difference between white rolling papers and brown rolling papers?

What are Natural Brown Rolling Papers Made From?

The popularity of natural brown and hemp rolling papers and pre-rolled cones has taken off, and one of the big reasons for their rise in popularity is that people think brown rolling papers are a more natural, and thus, healthier option.

Brown rolling papers and smoking cones are made with the same wood pulp as white papers, but they are simply less refined. This means the pulp refining process was stopped earlier in the brown papers, which leaves more of the original plant material behind, creating that more natural-looking brown hue.

The most prevalent plant components left behind in the brown papers are called lignans. It’s these lignans that give the paper its natural brown color. Hemp rolling papers can also be made white by finishing the refining process, but since most hemp rolling papers are branded as “all-natural,” they are typically left with lignans that help give hemp rolling papers a tan or brown color.

The real benefits of “natural” brown or hemp papers is that they are slightly thicker and stronger than highly refined white rolling papers. So, if you are looking for a stronger rolling paper, natural brown and hemp papers are your starting point.

What are Hemp Blunt Wraps?

A staple in the cannabis community, blunts are made by rolling cannabis flower into a hollowed-out cigar. The issue for cannabis producers is that cigars are wrapped in tobacco leaves and/or tobacco papers, and there are lots of laws that demand tobacco and cannabis products remain separate in retail establishments. To sell blunts legally, they needed an alternative like hemp wrap blunts or pre rolled blunt cones.

Hemp “blunt” wraps were created to be that alternative. Are they made from a cigar casing? No. Are they a tobacco product? No. Do they qualify as a blunt? Absolutely! Hemp wraps and hemp cones provide a sturdy structure and a robust, earthy flavor that is more in line with a blunt than a pre rolled joint, so it’s not that far of a stretch. The purist might always crave the tobacco element, but the cannabis industry has fully embraced the hemp wrap blunt and hemp blunt cone as its go-to for blunt products.

Compared to rolling papers, hemp wraps are much thicker and flavorful. Hemp wraps are typically a solid brown or green color and create a heavier smoke. Rolling papers are mostly all plant cellulose, whereas hemp wraps are made with mostly ground up hemp bits from the entire plant + hemp cellulose fibers to hold it together. We also offer hybrid hemp wraps and pre-rolled blunt tubes, made with hemp fibers, additional plant material and natural additives designed to help the hemp retain moisture better, so they are more pliable and stay fresher longer.

Some hemp wraps are artificially flavored and colored, so it’s important to make sure your hemp wrap blunts are compliant and will pass the strictest regulations and testing.

What are Clear Rolling Papers made from?

Clear “papers” are quickly becoming a novel option for people that are looking to get a little creative with their joint construction. We put quotes around “papers” because they are not made with natural plant fiber, so they lack the look and feel of traditional paper types. Instead, they are made from water, glycerin, and a heavily processed and modified, plant-derived fiber. These clear rolling papers are chemically and structurally very similar to cellophane cling wrap, which is pretty gross if you think about it.

Cellulose is one of the main building blocks of a plant’s cell wall, which helps give it the strength to grow upwards. Normal rolling papers are made from natural plant fibers, whereas clear rolling papers are made with fibers that undergo extreme processing and chemical modification. The vegetable glycerin is used to help keep strength by holding onto moisture, which decreases the rate at which these clear rolling papers burn. Glycerin is an organic compound that has no odor, is slightly sweet tasting, and is the base for many vape juice products

While these are fun to look at, they can be difficult to use, and there is very little data out there that can speak to their experience and safety. With so many issues and question marks, we have chosen not to include them in our store. If they ever do become a certified safe and reliable option, you can rest assured we’ll get them for you!

What Makes a Quality Rolling Paper?

A rolling paper can be made from a variety of materials, but the starting material is often a matter of preference rather than quality. Quality is more defined by what is NOT in your rolling papers or pre rolled cones, and how it is constructed. Here are a few things to consider when looking for quality rolling paper products.

A quality rolling paper won’t have chemical additives. Calcium carbonate (chalk) can be added to papers to give them, and the ash they produce, a white appearance. Titanium oxide, as well as chemicals like ammonium, sodium phosphate and potassium citrate, are commonly found in cigarette papers and are there to control the rate at which they burn. These chemicals get inhaled with the smoke as the cigarette burns. Not ideal for the consumer!

Beyond just the rolling paper, when it comes to pre-rolled cones, a quality cone will have a straight gum line. This means that you are smoking the minimum amount of paper because the rolling paper doesn’t overlap onto itself over and over again. Overlapping paper means that some parts of the joint are thicker than others. This can affect how it burns and can create issues like canoeing.

Lastly, a quality rolling paper will be free from pesticides and heavy metals. These are easily avoidable for most types of rolling papers, but they start to pop up when uncommon materials start being used for rolling papers. For example, roses require a lot of pesticides to grow at scale, and no one is particularly looking for heavy metals in the soil either. This typically isn’t an issue, as most roses are for looking at, but it becomes an issue when those rose petals are smoked.

At Custom Cones USA, we know what it takes to create a quality rolling paper and a quality pre rolled cone. It’s why we are constantly testing our products for additives, pesticides, and heavy metals, and it’s why we build our pre-rolled cones with a straight gum line.

Everything we do is intended to produce a quality experience for the producer and consumer. Have more questions? Feel free to reach out to our Pre-Roll Experts any time!

The truth about what rolling papers is wrapped in misleading marketing language. Why are some labeled “rice papers” when rice is not used in their production, and why is “unbleached” a selling point when bleach isn’t used to make rolling papers?