by Sage Vasquez October 04, 2021
Cannabis pre-rolls contain pre-ground cannabis flower, rolled and ready-to-go. Pre-rolls are simply cannabis joints that have been rolled ahead of time for you. Standard pre-rolls contain three components: cannabis, wrapping (or rolling) paper, and a small filter (crutch) at the end that goes into your mouth. Sometimes, pre-rolls contain infusions or other added cannabis products to increase their potency. Unlike bowls, bongs, or vapes, purchasing a pre-roll does not require any additional equipment or preparation. To smoke, a user simply lights the end and inhales.
Pre-rolls are one of the most popular cannabis products available. Beyond convenience, they’re effortless. Ideally, a pre-roll should provide the fullest experience of smoking a cannabis strain with the joy of not having to roll one yourself.
As with other cannabis flower products, there are different strains or varieties of pre-rolls you can purchase. The preferred type of cannabis strain varies by customer and depends on their desired effect. Pre-rolls are most often strain-specific. Here’s how cannabis strains are commonly categorized:
Indica strains are known for their calming and grounding qualities. Pre-rolls made with Indica are for those wanting a mellow experience. Indica strains will probably make you sleepy or generally not want to do much and are often prescribed to help with insomnia or stress.
Sativa strains are known to boost creativity and motivation and help significantly with anxiety and depression. You aren’t likely to get as tired with these strains, so they can be a great product for daytime use. Pre-rolls made with Sativa strains can also help with pain relief and appetite.
Pre-rolls made with a Hybrid strain have effects that fall somewhere in between an Indica and Sativa strain. Each strain of cannabis is unique, and this is especially true when shopping for pre-roll products containing Hybrid strains.
One advantage to buying cannabis pre-rolls is there are several ways for you to purchase them. If you are unsure about trying pre-rolls or simply want to test a strain out, it is perfectly fine to purchase only one. If you know you like the brand or cannabis variety used in the pre-roll and want more bang for your buck, they are sometimes sold in packs. Unlike some other cannabis consumption methods, pre-rolls are not very expensive, making them a great way to experiment with the many flower strains available on the market today.
As with any cannabis ingestion method, pre-rolls have several unique perks. First off, rolling requires a certain amount of dexterity and patience. If joints are your dominant mode for smoking, you also know that the process to roll your own can be messy. It’s easy to get cannabis everywhere, and there is a lot of waste connected with rolling joints. For buying pre-rolls vs. purchasing cannabis flower to roll your own joint, a pre-roll is by far the less messy option. Besides, no matter how long you’ve been smoking weed, rolling a joint is harder than it looks! There are a few additional perks to buying a pre-roll:
They’re portable. A single or pack of pre-rolls is easy to transport. For medical marijuana cardholders, this is especially helpful. When you use cannabis for pain management or other medical conditions, it’s important to be able to carry it along, so you have it when you need it.
They’re affordable. When you are just starting out your cannabis journey, the prices for marijuana equipment can be expensive. If you don’t know what form of cannabis consumption is for you, it’s not worth it to invest a lot of money in a high-end vape or an expensive hand-blown glass bong. What if you don’t like vapes or cannabis cartridges? Pre-rolls are much more affordable and often you can purchase them in singles, which is perfect for sampling a new strain without buying an expensive amount of the flower in a jar.
There are a few sweet perks that come with purchasing cone pre-rolls, but the disadvantages tend to outweigh them. As with any form of cannabis product, it is important to do your research. These are the most common shortcomings associated with purchasing a pre-roll:
They’re sometimes filled with low-quality cannabis. It’s understood that many cannabis dispensaries use unsold shake—stems, leaf, and other bits of the marijuana plant to fill their pre-rolls. Others will mix in older cannabis products like stale flower or expired oils.
They don't light or burn properly. The best grind for a joint is one that is not too fine or powder-like or too coarse with stems and seeds. It will allow the joint to stay lit and burn evenly. A joint filled with cannabis that has been ground too finely becomes difficult to pull through. A coarse joint may have air pockets and weak necks, causing an uneven burn and equally inferior smoking experience.
They need proper storage. This is technically true of all cannabis products, but it’s especially important to store flower products in airtight containers to be sure that they don’t dry out. Many are not stored properly thus leading to a poor smoking experience.
Don’t let these shortcomings totally scare you off from trying a pre-roll for yourself. Overall, pre-rolls are a viable choice for many consumers, and lots of cannabis users still prefer them to other methods of consumption. Ultimately, whether a pre-roll is “worth it” or not is up to the individual. For those who use cannabis frequently, there are probably more economical options worth trying. For those who prefer other consumption methods, such as edibles or syrups, and are looking for something to smoke occasionally, a pre-roll may meet their needs.
There are several simple ways to judge the quality of a pre-roll. When smoking does the pre-roll:
One way to determine the quality of cannabis in your pre-roll is to take a dry pull or drag off the end before lighting it. If it has a defined flavor profile and it tastes fresh, it's a pretty good sign that it will taste similar when burned.
If you’ve smoked more than a few joints, you know the frustration of a joint burning unevenly or canoeing as you smoke it. One side will stay unburned while the other will burn quickly, resulting in a peninsula of joint paper near your ash. This can happen when pre-rolls are crammed into the cone forcefully or are twisted tightly at the end. Some parts of the ground flower are more compact than others, slowing the burn in that section. Worse yet, there may be stems and other material included from a poor grind, creating that inconsistent burn.
Debatably, the cure of the cannabis flower is fundamental to providing a high-quality experience. The curing process allows the cannabis plant to lock in a definite level of moisture provided by the terpenes and other advantageous plant compounds while reducing chlorophyll and other unwanted composites. If done correctly, the cannabis will be dry and sticky, but not brittle or powdery. By not being overly damp, it will snap like a twig at the stem. The cure is very important, ensuring the flower burns evenly, as well as tastes fantastic at the same time. It’s a delicate process, and fluffy white ash is proof they did it correctly.
Your joint shouldn’t go out unless you’ve left it unsmoked for some time. Any pre-roll will extinguish if you get so baked you leave it hanging in your hand for five-plus minutes, but if you just took a hit and it immediately goes out, you’ve got a problem.
While smoking the pre-roll, do you see a ring of oil the color of honey beneath the burning cherry? Cannabis contains cannabinoids that, when extracted, take the form of thick, sap-like oil, light gold to dark amber—which is a good sign.
A quality pre-roll will have enough cannabinoids in it to release that oil as the flower burns. The heat drawn through the joint from every hit should melt those cannabinoids before the cherry burns the cannabis outright. That will look like a small oil ring being chased by the fire down to the filter tip.
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