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December 1, 2022 Rolling Papers 101

Rolling Papers 101

Rolling a joint is a time-honored method of smoking cannabis. With the introduction of new ways of consumption into the mainstream, you may feel as if rolling a J has shifted from a task that everyone used to be able to perform to one that leaves your group of friends wondering, “alright… who here knows how to roll one of these things?”

 However, with the introduction of some new types of papers to the market, the art of rolling one up may be experiencing a resurgence. Now is a great time to revisit rolling your own – let the good times roll.

Rolling Paper Varieties

The best rolling paper allows you to get the longest burn and best flavor out of your bud, but where should you start your search with so many options? Here are a few alternatives to help you narrow down your choices:

  • Additives Vs. No Additives

Though this may appear a simple question, your opinion may be swayed if you smell a delicious blueberry-scented rolling paper. We advise against succumbing to these temptations. Why would you want to dilute your quality weed, which has its distinct flavor profile, with some overpowering flavor that has been added to your paper?

Furthermore, just because the scent is lovely does not mean it is safe to burn and inhale. We all enjoy the smell of a new vehicle. Still, it becomes less appealing when you consider that the lovely scent results from off-gassing produced by all of the vehicle’s plastics and manufactured components.

Some brands add more than just flavors to their papers. Calcium carbonate and chlorine are other compounds to look out for in your papers. Most legitimate brands avoid using synthetic, but added flavors are something to look out for.

Rolling Papers

Here are a few rolling papers being used today:

  • Pulpwood

Traditional wood-pulp papers are classic because they’re the most uncomplicated and durable to roll. While they are the quickest and easiest way for a beginner to make a joint, they burn quickly and hot, which can result in a joint that smokes too quickly or unevenly.

  • Flax

Flax paper combines the best of both worlds: it’s as thin as rice but as easy to roll as wood pulp or hemp. Flax joints have less combustion because of their low profile, so you taste less smoke and more of the good stuff.

  • Fiber blends

Since each rolling paper material has advantages and disadvantages, a blend is sometimes the best option. Zig-zag typically blends wood pulp with other natural plant fibers for an easy roll and a slow, even burn. Natural flax fibers are used to make their famous white papers and classic orange packs.

  • Hemp

It’s nice to roll a hemp joint because you’re just adding more cannabis on top of the cannabis. Hemp papers are thinner, stronger, and easier to roll than other plant fibers, and their mild flavor will not interfere with the natural flavor of your cannabis.

They’re a little more challenging to work with than wood pulp, but they’re a great place to start. Hemp is a highly sustainable crop, making it an excellent choice for the environment.

Hemp papers are also reminiscent of the versatility of wood pulp papers. They are thicker and more malleable than rice papers but lack the dreaded harshness of wood pulp.

Another widely praised advantage of hemp papers is that they rarely require the smoker to re-light the joint. If you’ve smoked a lot of rice paper, you’re probably used to seeing your tip burn out before you can pass it to your buddy.

  • Rice

Because of their ultra-thin profile, rice papers are challenging but extremely rewarding. They can be a little slick, but they burn slowly and look great.

Stick with sap

It’s helpful to finish off your roll with an adhesive edge on your rolling paper, but the adhesives built into rolling papers can conceal a lot of chemicals. It’s best to avoid rolling papers that don’t list their glue ingredients.

Zig-Zag adhesive is made entirely of gum arabic, a kind of tree sap It’s made of the same material as postage stamps and provides a natural, secure grip.

Other all-natural options exist—some rollers use sugar glue. Gum arabic is the obvious choice in terms of safety and dependability.

The Bleach Debate

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While there is much debate in the cannabis community about whether unbleached papers are safer, there is only one significant difference between the two: color.

While some believe that “unbleached” means that white papers are made with household bleach or something similar, this is not the case. Zig-Zag white papers are produced using an oxygenation process that leaves no residue on the paper. The whitening process makes no use of “bleach” or chlorine. “Unbleached” means that the paper was not bleached, so it has the natural color of the fibers rather than the classic white look.

You can confidently smoke the tried-and-true white and orange packs if you like them. However, if you prefer unbleached, Zig-Zag has you covered. Their standard 1.25-inch papers are available unbleached, but they are just as easy to roll and smoke.

The ultra-thin King Slim unbleached papers are ideal if you prefer a larger joint. The packaging is also unbleached and printed with vegetable inks. All of Zig-organic Zag’s hemp papers are also unbleached, as nature intended.

On a Roll

Let us not abandon the long-standing tradition of rolling joints and blunts. Experiment with some different papers and see what works best for you. Sure, with all of the options available to smokers, the art of rolling may not be the most popular, but do we believe there will come a time when rolling will become a lost art? 

No way!

September 24, 2022 BLACK MARKET BUYERS BEWARE

BLACK MARKET BUYERS BEWARE

Fentanyl Found in Black Market Cannabis

There are many competitors for the title of, “America’s Most Dangerous Killer.”  In 2020, statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) showed that the title belonged to Heart Disease, claiming nearly 700,000 Americans.  Cancer, in all its ugly forms, took just over 600,000 souls.  In distant but nevertheless monumentally tragic third place, came 2020’s surprise candidate, Covid-19. 

But there is another killer climbing the ranks of the CDC’s death statistics – currently in 8th place, but rapidly closing the gap between itself and the big three in the past few years. This killer blends into the background of everyday society, its victims often ridiculed or briefly pitied before being forgotten – This killer is America’s Opiate Crisis.

The Evolution of the Opiate Epidemic

Many of us have heard of this issue before, having caught a passing headline or overheard some information about the rising statistics of opiate related overdoses sweeping the country. Perhaps we shook our heads, grimly clucked our tongues and said something along the lines of, “What a shame, someone should really be doing something about that,” and moved on.


The CDC has labeled the issue an epidemic; the number of Americans dying of overdoses each year has quadrupled since 1999. CDC statisticians divide the nearly 500,000 Americans who have died of overdoses since 1999 into three large waves of epidemic. The first wave came in the late 1990’s to early 2000’s and consisted primarily of overdoses on prescription opiates. The second, in 2010, primarily consisted of heroin related deaths. The third began in 2013, and continues to thrive and grow today. This wave of opiate overdoses was responsible for nearly 70,000 deaths in 2020 alone, and has been primarily driven by potent new opiates like Fentanyl.

Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opiate, in the same pharmaceutical family as morphine, 100 times more potent.

Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opiate, in the same pharmaceutical family as morphine, but 100 times more potent.  While it is extremely potent and can often be deadly on its own, it claims most of its victims without them even knowing they ingested the substance.  This is because Fentanyl and its other synthetic opiates have been piggybacking their way onto other recreational drugs.  It is increasingly being found at the scenes of overdoses, often mixed into another substance such as heroin or cocaine.  Some of the overdosed users deliberately chose to mix Fentanyl into their chemical cocktail, but more often the victims had no idea that their drugs had been cut with Fentanyl.

This begs the question, why are black market drug suppliers and dealers sneaking potentially fatal amounts of extremely powerful opiates into their product, knowingly deceiving and endangering their own consumer base?  The answer is that Fentanyl’s other superpowers make it extremely profitable to do so.  Not only are Fentanyl and its numerous derivatives significantly more powerful than old school  morphine, they’re also much cheaper and easier to produce than natural opiates.  This means that street dealers can find extremely profitable markups by cutting more expensive drugs like heroin, cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, PCP, or ecstasy (MDMA), with much cheaper Fentanyl and make their product appear even more potent at the same time.  People who consume Fentanyl cut drugs usually believe that they are getting their “usual substance,” only to be  suddenly rocked by an unexpected wave of super morphine.

So, hello, is someone doing something about this?  Well, on top of the CDC’s  diligent educational efforts, the DEA appears to be taking the issue quite seriously.  In April of this year, The DEA dispatched an official memo to all of its law enforcement partners, warning them about the severity of this crisis  The DEA has also stated that it is seizing illicit Fentanyl at record rates, reporting that they had captured over 2,000 pounds of the substance in the first three months of 2022 alone.   

         

After over fifty years of being knee-deep in the war on drugs, it is still unclear if the U.S. government is winning the war. What is clear is that the arms race between law enforcement and drug suppliers will continue to encourage the creation of ever more powerful drugs.

Know What You’re Buying

You can never be 100% sure what is in any unregulated or illegally-purchased substance.
Buyers of illicit drugs have always had particular reason to be wary of their suppliers, because consumers have no recourse should the product they receive appear inferior. In today’s black marketplace, anyone seeking to buy cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamine, or PCP has yet another reason to be very careful. You have to be very, very confident that your supplier is not cutting their product with Fentanyl.

While Fentanyl is typically found in harder drugs, there have been reports of Fentanyl turning up in black market marijuana in the U.S. It’s best to stick to regulated, legal dispensaries (in states where they’re available) if you’re considering using cannabis products and want to have extra assurances of their safety.

Black market marijuana suppliers are constantly incentivized to find ways of increasing the potency of their products.  Often this drive for higher potency leads to potentially hazardous growing techniques involving the use of powerful pesticides or soil laced with heavy metals.  marijuana can and often is cut with other substances for the same profitable purposes, and while Fentanyl is by far one of the most dangerous substances to mix with other drugs, unknowingly ingesting any combination of drugs laced together can be dangerous and potentially deadly.

Black Market

Pot smokers concerned about the dangers of laced products should seek safety by doing business with state regulated suppliers.

The only places which may be considered truly safe from the dangerous conditions which created Fentanyl are legal dispensaries. States which have legalized weed medically or recreationally have been able to create and enforce regulations on the industries they began to oversee.  Though still in their infancy, such government regulations and oversight have already proven effective in maintaining a certain standard of product which cannot exist in the unregulated wild west of the black market.  When and where they can, pot smokers concerned about the dangers of laced products should seek safety by doing business with state regulated suppliers.  Of course, options depend on geography and financial situation, and such refuge may simply be impossible for some marijuana users to find.  For them, and for anyone wishing to partake in any of the other illicit substances mentioned in this article, they’ll have to stay educated on the dangers they face.

On December 5th, 1933, the United States ratified the 21st amendment, repealing the 18th amendment prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, or sale of alcohol in all U.S. territories.  In doing so, the United States admitted it made a mistake. It faced the evidence of a monumental policy failure and changed course rather than plow on with its head down stubbornly committed to its blunder. 

Modern U.S. drug policy is no doubt an incredibly nuanced affair, carefully being weighed and managed by experts considering factors well beyond the reach of simple solutions based on nothing but common sense.  If we indulge in a brief look back at our own history however, we see a time when our country faced difficulties not unlike our own modern issues.  We may also see that eventually the answer to the issues of that time lay not in more aggressive policing, but in careful policy reform, de-stigmatization, and regulation.  No matter what, until national drug policy is addressed, the best bet for cannabis consumers is buying from licensed dispensaries.

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