There are many colorful ways to refer to a simple marijuana cigarette these days. In days past, they were referred to as “left handed cigarettes” and, most commonly, joints. But today, the term “pre-roll” is visible on many dispensary menu boards. Wondering how the pre-roll differs from a simple piece of paper stuffed with cannabis flower? Oh, let us count the ways.
Still the most popular.
Inhaling ground marijuana flower is still the most popular choice when it comes to consuming cannabis. Why? It produces an immediate effect compared to edibles, tinctures, or capsules. And for those who enjoy the flavor like a fine glass of wine, inhaling is the perfect way to partake by the seasoned cannabis connoisseur.
The downside to rolling joints is that it is messy and takes a considerable amount of practice to get them just right. And then there are the accessories that go with rolling your own such as trays, a grinder, the dried flower, which is often bought in bulk, papers, filters, and more.
Who has time for all of that business? Pre-rolls are a dream come true for those that still like to smoke their joints.
Enter the portable and convenient pre-roll.
Pre-rolls are ready-made joints, and they come in all types of shapes, sizes, and strains. Best of all, you don’t have to roll it yourself! That’s right…no, more sitting in front of YouTube with your bag of marijuana and papers in hand, wondering if you will get the rolling right and tight this time.
Now it may seem like all pre-rolls are made the same, but in reality, there are a number of variables that go into their creation. Strain choice, moisture content, size, shape, durability, and packaging all come together for this convenient cannabis consumption method.
Try a strain before you buy
Not everybody wants to purchase a whole gram of a particular strain. A pre-roll is a fantastic way to try before you commit to more. Most pre-rolls are strain-specific. If you tell your budtender what kind of effect you would like to have, they will point you in the right pre-roll direction. Some enthusiasts will take what is called a ‘dry pull’ – a deep inhale on an unlit joint in order to taste the full terpene & flavor profile of the unadulterated flower.
What’s in a pre-roll?
Shake or trim is often used in some pre-rolls. That is fancy cannabis lingo for the leftovers of dried flower trimming. But other more sophisticated pre-rolls use the whole ground-up bud. These can be more flavorful and potent. Be sure to inquire with your budtender if you are unsure what is in your pre-roll.
Pack it tight!
Regardless of the contents, a quality pre-roll should be packed tightly. This ensures that it burns evenly, leaving behind bright white ash. This is proof positive that the cannabis has been properly ‘flushed’ of excess nutrients two weeks before harvest, providing a clean, smooth taste.
When it comes to a pre-roll, moisture matters. If the cannabis is too dry, the consumption experience will be too harsh, leading to coughing and a burning sensation in the throat. But too much moisture can cause another problem, a moldy pre-roll, and nobody wants that. Science tells us that a 10-12% moisture content is the sweet spot when it comes to commercial pre-rolls for both experience and safety.
Does size matter?
When it comes to pre-rolls, size doesn’t really matter. It is a matter of personal preference. They can be short or long, skinny or fat, tapered or straight. Most pre-rolls are offered in either 0.5 or 1.0-gram sizes and are sold as singles or in packs of three or five. The positive side of the different sizes is that it allows people to control how much smoke is inhaled. Skinny pre-rolls deliver less smoke, while fatter ones allow more smoke to be delivered in one pull.
The anatomy of a pre-roll
A sleek, tapered pre-roll offers the advantage of a narrow cherry (the burning end of a lit joint), which will produce less smoke than a fatter joint, delivering a cleaner flavor in each pull. But less smoke is not the only benefit of a long and skinny pre-roll. A narrow pre-roll circumference loses less THC into the air and will burn more slowly.
Don’t forget the filter
Before sealing the joint, a “crutch,” which is another name for a recyclable cardboard filter, is inserted into one end. You might notice that the inner folds resemble a swirl or a zig-zag shape. Not only do these filters provide structure and support for the joint, but they reduce the amount of tar and crumbs of plant material that may otherwise be inhaled. It also provides a smoother smoking experience. But the best part of all…you can smoke the entire joint, not wasting a thing and not burning your fingers.
Sealed with a twist
Pre-rolled joints can be sealed in a number of ways, usually with a flat fold or with a twist. A fold is clean and compact. But a twisted end not only seals a joint tight, but it also acts as a convenient wick. This minor detail is often overlooked. Not everyone likes the flat fold seal. Why? Because they are prone to come undone, allowing the contents to come spilling out. So, when choosing a pre-roll, sealed with a twist is best.
What’s in a paper?
While the paper will not make a significant difference in the pre-roll, it may speak to one’s values when it comes to sustainability. The rolling papers themselves can be made of wood pulp, flax, rice, or hemp and can be bleached (white) or unbleached (cream or brown). The papers may also be organic or vegan.
In order to reduce the inhalation of chemicals or paper materials, consider pre-rolls made with the most unprocessed and thinnest papers possible, which also preserve the natural flavor of the cannabis.
Now that you know everything you could ever possibly want to know about pre-rolls, we hope you begin your experimentation with them. And with all cannabis products, it is recommended to start low and go slow. Once you know how a strain or product affects you, you can dose up from there.
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