By now, you’ve likely heard about hemp joints, aka CBD joints or hemp pre-rolls, since they’ve become a must-have in the hemp community. Smoking hemp is being advertised as the healthier alternative for tobacco smokers as it does not contain nicotine and is not as carcinogenic.
Ready-made hemp rolls allow for an easy and smooth transition for those who are tired of rolling their own joints or simply prefer pre-rolls. But how do you choose the best kind? Let’s find out below.
What Exactly Are Hemp Pre-Rolls?
Hemp pre-rolls offer a cost-effective and convenient alternative to traditional cannabis smoking, saving you the hassle of rolling your own joints — a process that often requires experience and skill if you want a good result. You can simply light them up and inhale.
Using crushed or ground up hemp flower, these rolls enable you to consume CBD by inhalation. Of course, not all rolls are the same; they use different hemp flower strains with various configurations and flavors, e.g., mint and menthol.
Hemp pre-rolls are usually shaped in a cone-style design to resemble homemade joints, while a few companies feature the standard cigarette design. You can find a few headshops selling hand-made hemp joints, but it’s a fact that most brands now use specialized machines to produce huge quantities in less time. Not to worry though, most companies inspect their final products to check that their rolls are neither too loose nor too tight.
Are Pre-Rolls Legal?
Hemp has been legalized in dozens of countries worldwide such as Germany, South Africa, Russia, and more. As for the US, the growth and manufacturing of hemp have been legalized at the federal level through the 2018 Farm Bill; however, each state’s legislation is different.
Federal and state laws regarding smokable hemp are still a delicate issue. While hemp is federally legal, the distinction between hemp and marijuana is not clear in more than a few states. For example, in North Carolina, smoking hemp is considered the same as smoking marijuana since the legal 0.3% THC levels in hemp pre-rolls are not being taken into account.
Sadly, legal hemp and potentially illegal marijuana often get mixed up by the authorities, leading to hemp being considered harmful and dangerous. Because of this, many areas in the US might still enforce a strict ban on hemp and you might face difficulties when found in possession of it.
Wherever you’re located, always check your area’s laws and limitations before buying hemp flower, pre-made rolls, or any such product ― and be especially careful when carrying them during travel.
What’s in a Roll?
Hemp pre-rolls typically contain about one gram of crushed or ground hemp flower. A range of 0.5-0.75g is more commonly preferred for solo use, while there are rolls packed with a little more than 1g that are aimed for sharing with friends.
As you can imagine, the quality of any pre-roll largely depends on the quality of the hemp flower inside. To give you an idea of the ranges, the premium, top-shelf CBD flower is harvested from the upper half of the hemp plant and trimmed by hand, eliminating seeds and traces of other parts.
Smalls, or B-grade flower, usually refers to the smaller flower buds which are harvested from the upper and lower half of the hemp plant. Smalls are still high-quality flower, just smaller. There is a chance of finding traces of seeds; however, that only matters if you buy smokable hemp flower as whole buds.
Finally, trim is the lowest grade of hemp flower that typically comes after processing the higher grades. Essentially a by-product, trim is gathered after the outer leaves pass through screens and end up in the bin. This grade of hemp is better for cooking with or making low-grade CBD oil, but it’s not frequently chosen for smoking.
Which Strain Should I Choose?
With the market currently on the rise, hundreds of hemp strains are still being cultivated, though not forgetting the classic ones found in every headshop. Choosing the right strain in your hemp joint depends on the flavors you like and the effects you want. If you crave an uplifting smoking session in the middle of the day, Sativa-dominant strains are best, such as Sour Diesel, while Indica-rich strains, like the famous Bubba Kush, are your go-to for a relaxing nighttime smoke.
However, another super important factor of a hemp flower strain is its terpene profile. Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in the hemp plant as well as other herbs. When manufacturing new strains, cultivators like to breed plants to have unique terpene levels and combinations.
You should conduct thorough research on which strain would best suit your taste as the full terpene profile practically carries the flavor. For example, limonene is lemony and sweet while myrcene is fruity, musky, and has a tropical tone. Alternatively, linalool is more floral with a lavender aftertaste while alpha-pinene has a piney scent and earthy flavor. In certain cases, terpenes even influence the strain’s effects.
Of course, in addition to taste, scent, and effects, safety is the most important factor when choosing a hemp pre-roll to try. When choosing any hemp product, look for quality brands that feature thorough lab test results with clear cannabinoid and terpene counts.
Is the Paper Important?
The hemp flower strain's quality, flavor, and physiological effects may be the most important factors to consider when going for any hemp product, but keep in mind that you’re not inhaling the hemp flower alone when you are smoking a roll. The rolling paper used will affect the overall smoking experience, and not all of them are the same.
Few companies produce top-notch smoking paper as it’s regarded as a secondary element. However, when smoking, you want your paper to be sturdy enough to hold your delicate hemp flower but not tight or thick enough to overpower the taste of your pre-rolled joint. You also want the paper to burn evenly, neither too slowly nor too quickly. In addition, when looking for pre-rolls, you should go for those sealed with a natural adhesive.
The three major kinds of paper used in pre-rolls are wood pulp, rice, and hemp, each bringing different qualities to the table. Wood pulp is regarded as the sturdiest type but has been reported to leave a harsh aftertaste. Meanwhile, rice paper is lighter and thinner, although its delicacy could potentially cause a mess if not handled properly or used in windy conditions.
Finally, the latest innovation of hemp paper is considered to provide the best balance between the sturdiness of wood pulp and the lightness of rice paper. Plus, hemp paper is eco-friendly and the least likely to contain unwanted toxins. On the downside, this is the most expensive choice and does have an aftertaste and possible humidity absorption.
How Much Do Pre-Rolls Cost?
Rolling your own joints might seem like a good idea, but pre-rolls are definitely the better option if you’re a beginner. Making your own rolls requires a decent grinder, rolling tray, papers, tips, and, ultimately, experience and skill additional to the hemp flower.
Since pre-rolls are extremely convenient, the higher price is a given as more labor has gone into pre-rolls than hemp flower packages.
Most pre-rolls are typically priced around $5-12 each, while upper-range products might go as high as $25-30 a box. Buying single rolls is more expensive but ideal for trying different hemp strains. On the other hand, buying a box would serve you better value for money, especially after you’ve found your favorite strain. It goes without saying that the higher the quality, the higher the price.