Hemp Papers vs Rice Paper? Which One is Best?

Experienced Cannabis smokers are quite rightly very particular about the type of rolling paper they use. This is because quality rolling paper improves joint construction and adds to the overall smoking experience. This brings us to the hemp papers vs rice paper debate.

But what about those new to rolling and anyone who wants to try a different type of rolling paper? The choice of available papers is huge. They are made from different materials, come in different colors, and there are a variety of flavors to boot.

Because each type of rolling paper comes with its own characteristics, what suits one roller may not suit another. Having said that, there are some factors that serious weed smokers place as a priority. These include taste, thickness, and paper-burning speed.

It is also the case that the two most popular types of rolling papers are hemp papers and rice papers. To help you decide which is the right roll for you, here’s what each one offers:

Hemp Papers

Hemp has been used for thousands of years to produce such things as clothing, rope, and paper. Commonly referred to as industrial hemp it is a close relative of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Hemp is also highly resilient and known to grow in just about any climate. It can also reach 10 feet in height.

Hemp rolling papers have gone through upturns and downturns in popularity but currently, more weed smokers than ever are turning to them. In the first instance, they are far more environmentally friendly because unlike rolling papers made from wood pulp, they are made from hemp fibers and that means they save trees.

Secondly, conscientious smokers will find that the color of hemp paper is mostly light brown. This is because the bleaching process used in many other types of rolling papers is not appreciated by the majority of cannabis consumers.

Being one of the strongest fibers around, it is possible to extract two types of fibers. These are known as long bast fiber and short fiber. Short fibers are often referred to as pulp fiber or hurd fiber (also known as shives). All paper produced from pulp fiber is far softer than that made from the coarser long bast fiber. It is also much easier for manufacturers to produce paper from short pulp fiber than it is from long bast fiber.

In short pulp rolling paper manufacturing the fibers are extracted from hemp plant storks. These fibers are then turned into a slurry. From there it is processed and rolled into very thin paper sheets.

When looking at hemp papers vs. rice papers the former tends to be thicker and rougher. The advantage here comes with a good grip when rolling. On the potential downside, they do tend to absorb humidity which will eventually be released.

Hemp papers also come with what is known as a medium burn rate and this means they go out less often than rice papers. When using hemp papers it is usual to get a distinctive aftertaste. Some find this pleasant, others do not. Again, whether you enjoy this mild, musky taste or not comes down to personal preference.

Rice Papers

When looking at rice papers, smokers should make sure they are made using all-natural ingredients rather than the kinds that have other additives such as flax. Going the all-natural route will mean your papers are really just pressed, processed, and thinned-out rice.

These rolling papers are usually much thinner than other types and are thought to be better for your lungs. Because of their thinness, rice papers tend to require more effort to roll, and, particularly for those new to rolling, may not grip so easily between your fingers.

Having said that, practice makes perfect, and what better way to practice than regularly rolling thin rice paper joints!

One other thing to be aware of, due to the way rice papers are made they can be vulnerable to damp air. This means there are better options for smoking in rainy or damp conditions.

While rice paper is thin it does burn slowly and also allows weed smokers to enjoy their spliff without any additional aftertaste.

Sizes and Adhesive

Regardless of whether you go for hemp or rice papers, it is important to choose the size of joint that suits your needs and the gum used to stick the rolled joint together.


Different rolling paper manufacturers have their own measurements for the different papers produced. However, it is safe to say that the leading brands follow similar sizings. To guide you through what is best for different smoking occasions here are some of the most popular sizes:

  • Single wide: Those looking for a relaxed solo smoke often find this is the size to go for. These single-wide rolling papers come in at 2.677 inches (68mm) long and 1.388 inches (34mm) wide.
  • 1 1/4-inch: If you are looking for a solo smoke that gives more capacity then the 1 1/4-inch is the way to go. These papers are 2.99 inches (76mm) long and 1.77 inches (34mm) wide.
  • 1 1/2-inch: If the 1 1/4-inch length is right for you but you are looking to pack more of your favorite strain into your spliff then the 1 1/2-inch will certainly do the job. They are the same 2.99 inches (76mm) in length but have a larger, 2.36-inch (60mm) diameter.
  • Double Wide: Double-wide papers are not the easiest or most popular to roll with. If rolled to perfection then you will benefit from a seriously fat, herb-filled joint. Get it wrong and you could end up with more paper to smoke than weed!

         Double-wide sizes do vary but will typically come in between 2.48 inches and 3.46 (63mm and 88mm) in width with a             length of 2.99 inches to 3.07 inches (76-78mm). However, if big, bulky, heavily-loaded joints are for you, try the double             wides.

  • King Size: We have all heard of them and many smokers will already have given king-size papers a go. These all-around favorites come in between 3.93- and 4.33-inches (100-110mm) in length and 2.16- and 2.36-inches (55-60mm) in width. If it is party time then king-size papers are the perfect choice for long and thin pinners right the way up to tapered baseball bats!
  • King Slim: These are a cross between the king-size and 1 1/4-inch papers mentioned above. Coming in at the king size length their width is similar to that of the 1 1/4-inch. King Slims are great for the experienced roller, but not the best choice for those new to the art.


Another important factor when rolling your joints is to bear in mind the type of gum used to stick the paper. Some papers have stronger glue than others and that can change the way you roll. It will depend upon the amount of gum applied as to whether you need to lick the paper lightly or a lot.

Whichever you prefer it is recommended that you go for Gum Arabic adhesive. This is 100% natural glue that is non-toxic. The rolling result of papers with this adhesive gives rollers a sealed joint that will see them through to the end of their smoke regardless of the size of the paper used.

Hemp Papers vs. Rice Paper – Which one is for you?

This is really down to personal preference because the type of rolling paper you prefer will be the one that does it for you. But one thing is for sure, using quality rolling paper of any kind will improve your overall smoking experience.

As explained above, both hemp papers and rice papers give a different smoking experience. However, whichever you decide to try it is strongly recommended to go for a quality, all-natural rolling paper.

Due to the wide variety of rolling papers available it is easy to experiment until you find the type(s) that are right for you and the social occasion. With that in mind, it is recommended to order different sizes of both hemp and rice rolling papers and try each out to get a grip on what best suits your rolling and smoking style.

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