Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 19, 2023

Maybe you’re a first-time smoker and you don’t know how to roll a joint, or up until now, you’ve been using a vaporizer or other ways to consume weed. No matter if you use medical or recreational cannabis, you’re here because you want to know what materials can be used to roll a joint.

Are rolling papers the best way to smoke weed, or can you use other alternatives to roll yourself a joint? Can you use regular paper, instead of the rolling paper used for tobacco, when rolling a marijuana joint? We’ll answer all these questions below, so read on.

Weed and the General Smoking Experience

As you may already know, weed comes from the Cannabis plant, which is a complex plant with around 400 chemicals. It consists of hydrocarbons, amino acids, terpenes, sugars, nitrogenous compounds, and the most important group of all, the cannabinoids.

The first of the most important cannabinoids, delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the compound that’s responsible for your “high” because of its psychoactive properties. And the second one, Cannabidiol (CBD), which is a non-intoxicating compound, is used for its anti-inflammatory properties. 

Both THC and CBD interact with our body’s cannabinoid receptors to produce the effects that weed gives you.

How Is Weed Generally Consumed?

You can consume weed through inhaling and ingesting methods. No matter what your personal preference is, you could try a wide array of different ways to either smoke weed, have an edible, or choose a more alternative method of consuming it.


Most people who start smoking marijuana use regular weed papers. These are thin papers used for making cigarettes. 

For rolling a joint, many marijuana smokers also use smoking papers like blunt wraps, hemp papers, or zig zag papers which nowadays even come in different flavors (vanilla, blueberry, apple, etc). Just pop onto Amazon, and you can find different natural wrapping paper in order to make your next joint, blunt, or spliff.


Your smoking experience may be enhanced if you try another way of inhaling weed, which is using vaporizers, or vaping. Vape pens are electronic cigarettes used to smoke either tobacco or weed.


Dab rigs are used for very potent marijuana extracts. You generally use a blow torch to light them and you inhale the vapor coming out.


Bongs are often used by groups of people socially. They can be made from glass, metal, wood, plastic, ceramic, and even bamboo. There are different types of bongs including gravity bongs, percolator bongs, multi-chambered bongs, etc.


Edibles often come in the form of different candies, cookies, and brownies that contain more THC than a joint. You use the canna oil in baking and then you eat the final baked product.


Topicals are different cannabis-infused oils and butters that are generally used as spreads on the body for muscle pain relief.

Can You Use Regular Paper to Roll Weed?

Sometimes you feel like rolling a joint, but you realize you’re missing rolling paper. And then you go to Google for answers.

Normal paper and gum wrappers are among the most commonly searched alternative papers for rolling a joint when you lack standard rolling paper. 

But can these kinds of paper be used instead?  

Even though it might seem that you can use regular paper to roll a joint, this is not the case. Regular paper burns differently than rolling paper and you may waste all your weed in the process. Plus, the taste is not as good, and it may be even harsher on your throat when you smoke it.

Your best option would be to go buy some rolling paper, use a bong, or maybe try some of the alternative methods to consume weed that you can do at home.

Alternative Weed Consumption Methods

When it comes to getting creative when smoking marijuana, leave it up to the stoners to find alternative ways to consume weed.

Younger generations are even more involved in the DIY culture, and as a result, you get bongs made from water bottles, plastic bottles, soda cans from juices, fizzy drinks, and more.

Your smoking experience can vary depending on the method you use, so let’s go over a few to give you some ideas.

Corn Husks

Jamaica is known for the high-quality cannabis it produces, and people there use the natural sun-dried corn husks as rolling papers for their weed.

Rose Petals

Even though this is not a very popular method, rose petals are sometimes used as a replacement for wrapping paper or blunts. Three rose petals are heated in a pan for a few seconds. They are later connected and used as a rolling paper. 

Apple Pipes

Fruits are sometimes used to make a pipe for smoking weed. A hole is drilled on the top of the apple as well as on the sides. The apple is later lined with aluminum foil, the foil is put inside the holes, and the weed is placed on the foil. Afterwards, you light the weed on top of the apple and smoke it from the side hole. This way you even get an apple pie flavor when inhaling.

Hot Knives

Hot knives have been mentioned as a homemade method to inhale marijuana. Users place the steel knives on the stone and heat them up. Afterward, they place the marijuana buds on one knife and squeeze them with the other knife. The marijuana starts to smoke and the vapor is then inhaled.


Plastic lungs or buckets are another way to consume weed and they mimic the functionality of bongs. A plastic bag is attached to a plastic container and it’s sealed. Aluminum foil is then placed on the mouthpiece of the container and holes are poked. Marijuana is placed on top of the foil and the bag is pulled in order to create suction. The weed is later lit and smoked.

Can You Actually Use Normal Paper Instead of Rolling Papers?

When googling online sources, one has to be careful about the information they consider relevant and reliable. There can be some sources that say you can smoke weed with a corn husk, which is a natural material, but there can even be sources that suggest you try using toilet paper or even bible paper, which is absurd. 

So, can you actually use normal paper to successfully make a joint? 

No. Using that kind of paper can only end in you wasting your weed and not getting the experience you initially wanted. A lot of underage people who are new to smoking marijuana often try making use of any random paper they have lying around the house in order to make a joint, but you should not go that way. Always make sure you double-check your sources in order to be on the safe side when you search for DIY methods online.

What Happens If You Smoke Paper?

As you would expect, smoking weed with regular paper is not the healthiest way to smoke weed. Smoking weed itself releases some byproducts such as carbon monoxide that can cause lung damage, but when combined with regular paper, it can be even worse.

First of all, the production process of paper involves the usage of over 50 industrial chemicals. Of course, not all of them are used at the same time, but it depends on the manufacturer and the type of paper being produced. All of these chemicals can be incredibly toxic when burned and inhaled, and not to mention carcinogenic. 

Some of the byproducts that end up being released in the smoke are nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), and polycyclic organic matter (POMs). For reference, inhaling sulfur dioxide (even in small concentrations) can be extremely irritating not only to the upper respiratory tract but also to the lungs. Volatile organic chemicals can also cause irritation to the nose, throat, and eyes, and can even lead to headaches, shortness of breath, and nausea. Polycyclic organic matter has been found to be carcinogenic.

Additionally, regular paper is always bleached by using various bleaching agents – something you really shouldn’t inhale when burned. And even if you use unbleached paper, it can still be treated with other chemicals that can cause serious damage to your respiratory system. Similarly, paper that has been printed contains additional chemicals due to the ink (which you’re better off not inhaling).

Regular paper is also stiff and hard to roll joints in. It burns much faster than regular rolling papers, which only means you’ll be wasting your weed and see it turn to ashes in a matter of seconds. The taste will also be very harsh and the smoke too, to the point where you’ll probably cough a lot.

Therefore, we say that it’s best to stay away from smoking weed with regular paper. It’s just not worth the risk. There are so many other ways to replace rolling papers that are much safer (and will produce a better flavor).

Conclusion – Better to Skip the Paper and Opt for Another Replacement

As a weed smoker, you must’ve found yourself in a situation where you don’t have rolling papers at least once. Most tokers have gone through that and you might’ve been tempted to replace rolling paper with regular paper, but found that it’s not nearly the same. While rolling papers are made out of natural materials, regular paper is manufactured with tons of chemicals that can be hazardous when inhaled. Thankfully, there are many alternative ways to smoke weed without using rolling papers, so you’ll never have to resort to using a material that wasn’t meant to be inhaled.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.