Keep Rolling: 5 Rolling Paper Alternatives at Home

What can I use as rolling paper
By Rachel Sims Updated March 8th

Fact-checked by Alexandra Arnett, MS

For many cannabis enthusiasts, rolling papers are a tried-and-true go-to method for burning and smoking weed. Simply put, they’re a classic – a staple for various consumers’ smoking sessions.

However, while these thin sheets of paper are a mainstay for many, they’re not without limitations. You may run out of them unexpectedly, leaving you wondering what to use instead. Or, maybe you’ve been on the hunt for a more natural smoking solution. There are several reasons someone might need a rolling paper alternative at home. 

Fortunately, there are other reliable rolling options many consumers already have at home. From corn husks to apples, this guide explores readily available rolling paper alternatives. Knowing what’s safe to use can help you become more versatile and resourceful, expanding your overall cannabis experience.

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Why Use Alternative Rolling Papers?

Running out of traditional rolling papers is a common enough scenario. There are other reasons someone might turn to a rolling paper substitute, though.

So – why use alternative rolling papers over commercial options?

Potential Health Drawbacks

While they’re widely used, rolling papers may have some drawbacks. Many rolling papers contain additives or are bleached as a part of processing the papers. Bleach and other additives may introduce unwanted chemicals into your smoke session, which may be a reason to seek alternatives.

Rolling Paper Origin

RAW’s recent lawsuit serves as a reminder that it’s essential to know the origins of smoking accessories. 

Here’s a quick partial summary:

  • Within the lawsuit, RAW had to clarify the true origin of its rolling papers. 
  • Product labeling originally stated the papers were made in Alcoy, Spain. 
  • Now, it’s been made clear that the rolling paper booklets are made in a different part of Spain. And RAW sources the unbleached, certified hemp for its papers from southern France. Paper rolls then go on for further processing in another part of Spain.

The lawsuit further highlights the importance of product transparency and the need for reliable alternatives. It’s important to stay informed about the materials and manufacturing processes. It may allow you to make more conscious choices for safer alternative rolling papers.

A More Natural Experience

Using a rolling paper substitute may be a more natural, organic smoking experience. Some of the methods listed in the next section may help you savor the flavor of the plant better. That’s also without the interference of any synthetic materials like traditional rolling papers may have.

Experimentation, Creativity, and the Environment

Some consumers are simply looking for a new, creative way to consume cannabis. The sense of novelty and exploration can add an extra layer of excitement to cannabis consumption.

Traditional papers may not be readily available for you. Knowing other possibilities is valuable when you don’t have access or the budget to accommodate papers.

And some consumers opt for natural rolling paper alternatives as a way to reduce their carbon footprint.

What Can I Use as a Rolling Paper if I'm Out?

rolling paper alternative

It’s a handy skill to know what to use as a rolling paper alternative at home. These options might add a unique twist to your smoking experience. First, though, be sure you already know how to roll a joint. Having that skill at the ready will make rolling the alternatives much easier.

Corn Husks

First up is an entirely natural solution to traditional papers. Corn husks have a reputation for producing smooth, even hits. They burn slowly, making them an ideal alternative for a pleasurable smoking experience.

To roll cannabis with corn husks, dampen the husks slightly and let them sit for a few minutes. The moisture helps them stick together, making it easy to roll the bud.

Apple (the fruit, not the brand)

Technically, any dense fruit or vegetable will work, and that also includes pineapples, zucchini, cucumbers, and pears. With them, you can make improvised pipes that work well as alternative rolling papers. 

  1. Hollow out the fruit or vegetable, then carve out a bowl. A melon baller or a small knife both work well.
  2. Create a carb (the airflow hole) and a mouthpiece hole. A screwdriver or skewer works for the pipe tunnel and carb hole.
  3. Use a safety pin to poke tiny holes to create better airflow. 
  4. If available, use an extra pipe screen in the bowl to help prevent it from spitting in your mouth.

Lettuce/Cabbage Leaves

Do note that lettuce and cabbage leaves won’t burn as slowly as some other alternatives. However, they can still work in a pinch, and they provide a unique flavor to the smoke. Use large, sturdy lettuce or cabbage leaves as a rolling surface.

Flower Petals

Certain flower petals, like rose petals, are a natural and safe option to smoke. Rolling with dried rose petals can also add a touch of elegance to your smoke session.

  1. To create a rose joint, line up the dried rose petals carefully on a rolling tray. The key here is patience, as this step may take some time. 
  2. You’ll need to seal the rose petals together using saliva before packing cannabis into them. 
  3. Roll the petals and tuck the bottom edges underneath the top edge, sealing it, too, with saliva.

Note: if you only have fresh rose petals, toast them in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Toast them for a few minutes to help dry out the rose petals. Now, even fresh ones are ready for rolling.

Coffee Filters

Coffee filters work in a pinch if you need an alternative, and they’re generally considered safe for smoking. Just ensure you’re using an unbleached coffee filter as rolling paper. Likewise, make sure it’s free of any coffee residue or flavors. You need a clean coffee filter for this one.

Note that coffee filters are often larger than needed for rolling. You may want to trim the excess down to a more manageable size before you start rolling.

  1. Once you pack the cannabis into the center, fold the coffee filter over the bud. Make a cylinder-like shape and roll it tightly from one end to the other. 
  2. Seal it with a lick or other type of moisture. Then, twist the ends to secure the cannabis on both sides.
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Safety Considerations

Using a rolling paper substitute can be convenient and creative, but it’s essential to be aware of certain safety considerations.

Avoid Harmful Materials

Not all alternatives are safe for smoking. Some materials, like glossy papers, may release toxic fumes when heated. That may potentially harm your health. It’s crucial to avoid any coated, treated, or otherwise processed materials.

Experiment Cautiously

Don’t use just anything as an alternative. Do some research beforehand. Likewise, try to test a small sample to ensure it doesn’t produce any harsh or unpleasant odor or smoke.

Bleached Materials

Bleached papers like pages out of magazines or books and print paper should all be avoided. The bleaching process introduces potential chemicals into the paper, releasing harmful compounds when burned. When inhaled, these compounds may pose health risks.

Inks and Dyes

Lastly, many papers, especially in magazines or books, contain dyes or inks not intended for inhalation. Inks and dyes can produce toxic fumes that are harmful to the respiratory system. Stay away from papers with printed content across them as alternative rolling papers!

In some cases, you may not have anything available to serve as a rolling paper alternative. If that happens, you might consider making weed gummies or other cannabis edibles instead.

How to Make Your Own Rolling Paper Substitute

What to use as rolling paper at home

Corn husks are easily accessible and serve as a fantastic, all-natural rolling paper alternative at home. This step-by-step looks closer at how to roll cannabis using corn husks.

Materials You Need:

  • Dried corn husks
  • A small bowl of water
  • Ground cannabis flower

Step One: Prepare the Husks

Select a dry, clean corn husk. Ensure it’s free from any excess silk, debris, or dirt.

Step Two: Soften the Husks

Dampen the corn husk by dipping it in a small bowl of water to make it more pliable for rolling. However, don’t oversaturate it! You only need the husk to be slightly damp.

Step Three: Pack Cannabis

Load your flower into the center of the corn husk. The amount depends on personal preference, but try to avoid overloading it. It’ll make rolling much easier.

Step Four: Roll It Up

Next, fold the sides of your corn husk over the bud. Try to create a cylinder shape. Begin rolling tighter from one end to the other. Ensure the cannabis stays well-enclosed within the husk during this process.

Step Five: Seal, Light, and Enjoy

Finally, secure your new corn husk joint by sealing it with saliva or another small amount of moisture. Do this along the edge of the husk to help it stick together. Once it’s sealed, it’s ready to light. Light the end evenly and enjoy the smoke! While it might not be a pre-roll, it does offer something unique to the cannabis experience.

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The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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