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Top 5 hacks for when you run out of smoking papers

Every dedicated cannabis user ought to be carrying around a kit of essential items at all times. Omitting this crucial aspect of the stoner routine is just unprofessional. But even the best of us get caught out at times, and go to roll a joint only to discover there are no smoking papers to be found. You may find yourself asking: what can I use as rolling paper?

1. Find a substitute for paper

We all remember schooldays when someone managed to smuggle in an eighth but—surprise surprise!—didn’t manage to steal any smoking papers from out of their big brother’s stash box.

And then eventually you all end up huddled behind the sports hall frantically trying to roll joints out of toilet paper, magazine covers and old receipts, and you’ve wasted most of the weed so far trying to do it…

So thank heaven that those days are long behind (most of) us, and we now have an array of superior options to go for, in the astoundingly rare event that we plan poorly enough to run out of OCB’s and there’s nary a head shop to be found.

If you happen to be artistically-minded, or just the type of person that likes to do brass rubbings when out and about, you may be the kind of person who carries around tracing paper in their pocket!

Tracing paper is actually a pretty good alternative for smoking papers, if you have the thin, high-quality stuff. Much better than a magazine or a receipt, anyway—but yeah, perhaps not the most common pocket item.

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2. Gum paper

On the other hand, if you’re just a regular, uncreative Joe with no tracing paper about your person (you poor peasant), you may still be in luck if you happen to have a few sticks of gum in your pocket. That silvery foil stuff that your sticks of gum come wrapped in?

If you can rub the foil part off without damaging the paper underneath, that paper can act as a pretty reasonable substitute Rizla—and as a bonus, all the sugary-gummy residual goodness left on the paper should help stick it together, with a little help from your tongue.

3. Roll up a corn husk

Although this technically counts as a replacement rolling paper, it’s so good it deserves a section of its own. The outer layers of an ear of sweetcorn can be dried and used as a natural rolling paper, and probably represents the least harmful option listed so far!

The husk is naturally soft, flexible and fibrous, and retains these qualities even when dry.

Many countries that produce both corn and cannabis use corn husks to roll joints as a traditional method of consumption. In Jamaica, an island that is globally known for its high-quality cannabis, sun-drying corn husks to later use as rolling papers is a widespread practice.

Here they are typically soaked in water briefly prior to rolling, to ensure that their flexibility is maximised.

Mexico and the USA are other countries where cannabis users report use of this method—in the USA, pre-dried corn husks can be purchased in the Mexican section of many large supermarkets, particularly in the South.

As well as corn, fibres from several other plants can substitute for rolling papers—and may even prove preferable in terms of flavour, as many report the ‘papery’ taste to be absent. The fibrous inner membrane of bamboo is one substitute, and the bark (or the layer beneath the bark) of several trees is light and flexible enough to be used.

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4. Make a bucket/lung

Making substitute pipes is another approach to the problem of being caught out without smoking papers or bong. There are various different ways to achieve this, from using an apple or a bell pepper to constructing ambitious devices out of old electronics and scrap metal.

Here we’ll briefly describe two related methods that are capable of packing a serious punch, but do not require any hard-to-find items.

Both techniques require a 2-litre (or similar) empty bottle, such as one used to contain water or soft drinks. The bottle must be cut in two, approximately 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. A piece of tin foil shaped to fit the mouth of the bottle and pierced several times to allow airflow is also needed.

To make a lung, simply use tape to attach a plastic bag to the cut end of the bottle; once secure, scrunch the bag up inside the bottle.

  • Then place some cannabis onto the foil ‘gauze’, which should be loosely placed on the mouth of the bottle.
  • Use a lighter to burn the cannabis while using your other hand to pull the plastic bag out of the bottle—by doing this you create a vacuum inside the bottle, which causes air (and smoke) to rush into the chamber.
  • When the bag is fully extended, remove the foil from the bottle and inhale the smoke from inside the bottle.
  • A bucket (also known as a gravity bong) functions similarly, but uses a large (at least 10 litre) bucket filled around 2/3 full with water. The bottle is placed into the bucket and held down so that it does not float up.
  • The foil is placed on the mouth of the bottle, cannabis is placed on it and burned, and the bottle is slowly raised up, causing the vacuum inside to become filled with air and smoke.

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5. Do hot-knives

“Hot-knives” is one of the oldest and most well-known methods of consuming cannabis in the absence of a paper or pipe. It is also one of the simplest—but can potentially be quite dangerous, so great care must be taken especially if already intoxicated! All you need is a heat source such as a gas or electric stove, two knives and some cannabis.

Some also prefer to use a straw or a rolled-up piece of paper to inhale the smoke, to avoid getting too close to the source of the heat, but this is not always necessary.

  • Simply switch on the stove and bring it up to a medium-hot temperature. Once it is hot, hold the blades of the two knives immediately above the heat source for a short time (usually 1-2 minutes is sufficient).
  • Ensure that the handles of the knives are away from the heat source to avoid damage to them (and injury to you!). Then, carefully place a small piece of cannabis on to one of the knife blades, and press the other knife blade down onto it so that the cannabis is ‘sandwiched’ between two hot metal blades.
  • The cannabis should begin to smoke immediately, so be ready to inhale as soon as contact has been made to avoid wastage. The advantage of this technique is that it can be used for any type of cannabis—flowers, hashish and even concentrates! This wide ranging application is the reason that hot-knives remains one of the most popular and well-known techniques in the book.

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6. Buy a vaporizer

A permanent solution for the forgetful cannabis users is to find a different way of using. If you never want the problem of getting caught without smoking papers again, have a look at the pocket sized vaporizers that are out there.

It happens to the best. You go to roll a joint only to discover there are no smoking papers! What to do? Don't panic we have the best alternatives for you.

How to Smoke Weed Without Papers (10 Alternatives to Rolling Papers)

So you’ve run out of rolling papers?

Don’t worry, there are many alternatives to rolling a joint — and now would be a great time to find that old Hookah you bought on your vacation several years ago.

Everyone has a hookah in their basement, right?

Even if you don’t have any, we gathered some ideas on how to get properly stoned with household items (like hot knives).

Part 1: Household alternatives to rolling papers

If you don’t have any of the tools and devices described above, it’s time to find a solution in the things you already have in your home.

#1) Fenty Blotting Sheets

The princess of pot (aka Rihanna) just launched her own line of beauty products. We still don’t know if that was her intention, but her blotting sheets resemble rolling papers a lot.

Those who tried to roll weed in Fenty blotting papers are not really impressed. It seems you’ll manage to roll a joint with these only if you’re very skilled.

However, users report that Riri’s blotting papers burn out much faster than rolling papers, but that they can do the trick if that’s the only “rollable” thing around you.

#2) Corn Husk

This is also a great solution in case of an emergency, so during the corn season don’t throw your corn husk in the garbage. In Jamaica and even in California, corn husk is being used as a natural alternative to rolling papers.

Even when it’s dry, corn husk burns slowly and keeps your weed tucked safely with its fiber structure.

#3) Hot Knives

This is one of the oldest ways to smoke hashish and smaller pieces of cannabis, too.

Turn the stove on medium heat and place the stainless steel knives over the burner. Be aware of the hot handles so you don’t burn yourself. Once the knives are hot enough, place the bud on the end of one knife and squeeze it with the other.

You’ll see the smoke almost immediately so be prepared to inhale it. You can also use an empty toilet paper roll to inhale easier.

#4) Empty Cigarette

True stoners don’t like to even think about this method, but when there is nothing else but a cigarette, I say go for it.

If you smoke or have a friend who smokes cigarettes, just roll the cigarette gently in your fingers to empty the tobacco out. Once empty, fill the cigarette carefully with weed.

You should also try to pull out the filter with a needle, and replace it with a joint roach.

#5) Gum Wrapper

But not the whole gum wrapper. Most gum papers are made of two layers of papers: thin foil and an even thinner piece of paper.

This is a tricky one since you have to be extra careful and gently remove the thin paper from the foil. It even looks like a rolling paper, but just make sure you remove all traces of foil from it.

#6) Rose Blunts

By far, the coolest alternative to rolling papers, rose blunts are a bit tricky to make and you’ll need some practice before you manage to roll a perfect rose blunt. Rose petals are completely edible and therefore smokable. The best of all, you’ll need just three rose petals and an oven.

First, you need to dry the petals. Preheat your oven and line the petals on the pan. Put the pan in the oven for just 10 seconds so the petals can dry up a bit, but not too much.

Take the pan out, lick the bottom of the petals and “glue” them together so you end up with something that resembles a rolling paper. Put them back in the oven for another 10 seconds. Remember, they shouldn’t be too dry and “crispy”.

Then let them cool down for two minutes and roll it as you would a regular blunt.

Part 2: Accessories and gadgets you might already have

Let’s start with those pipes and bongs that you have somewhere in your house, or which you can easily buy online or in a local head shop.

To clear things up, smoking weed with these tools has both pros and cons, especially when it comes to your health.

#1) Bongs

Bongs are easy to use and fairly cheap to buy—in fact, there are great bongs for under $100.

Some people prefer smoking weed with bongs since they get you high just in a few tokes.

Once you get to know how bongs work, you’ll be hooked. There are many types of bongs, but only two that have reached superstar levels: Standard, and Gravity bongs.

Standard bongs are usually made of glass and they are available for sale in practically any head shop.

On the other hand, gravity bongs are usually made on the spot. They can be made from almost any household item at your home.

Here is a quick guide on how to use a bong:

  • Pour water so that the downstem is completely submerged;
  • Grind one gram of weed and pack the bowl;
  • Place the mouthpiece in your mouth while lighting the bowl. Draw until the chamber becomes full of white milky smoke;
  • Remove the bowl piece and inhale the smoke.

#2) Pipes

There are several types of pipes. You can use pipes that are made of glass, wood, metal, clay and many other materials.

Also, you can make a pipe from several household items but we’ll get to that later in the article.

The process of smoking weed with a pipe is very similar to bongs, but let’s go through it quickly.

  • Grind your weed and pack the bowl;
  • While you are holding the pipe to your mouth, cover the little hole on the side of the pipe (if it has any) with your thumb or index finger;
  • With your lighter, run the flame over your weed. At the same time, gently inhale the smoke. This way you’ll “draw” all the smoke into the pipe;
  • Remove your finger from the little hole and inhale the smoke.

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#3) Hookah

This is personally my favorite way to smoke weed without rolling papers.

The term “hookah” comes from the Urdu word huqqa (meaning pipe), but in different countries it’s known for other words like nargilah or shisha.

Hookahs originated in India and have spread all over the Ottoman Empire, where they became a popular way of smoking tobacco.

Smoking weed with a Hookah can seem a little complicated, but once you learn how to prepare your hookah, you’ll realize how easy it is to actually get high with it.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Hookah
  • Coals
  • Aluminum foil
  • Hookah tobacco or tobacco-free hookah flavor (optional)
  • Water
  • A pair of tongs (so you can easily pack your shisha)

Pour some water into the water base (fill it up to a bit over half).

There are two ways to pack a bowl, and which one you’ll choose depends on whether you want to use tobacco or not.

I also like to put a little bit of hookah flavored tobacco, and then place the weed on top.

The reason why I do this is simple — flavored tobacco adds a little bit of moisture to the mix, so your weed won’t burn out too quickly.

If you want to avoid tobacco, try adding some tobacco-free hookah flavors.

The other way is to just simply grind the weed and place it in a bowl.

Now, cut the aluminum foil into a square or two. I prefer to use two layers of foil so it spreads the heat throughout the bowl a little more evenly. Cover the bowl with both layers (or one) and then pierce the foil several times to make enough air holes.

Take one piece of coal with your tongs and light it up with your lighter. Put the coal over the foil. Depending on the size of the coal pieces, you might need more than one.

Your hookah is now almost ready. Put a mouthpiece in your mouth and inhale slowly. You will see the water bubbling while you pull that first puff.

If the hookah has two hoses, don’t inhale at the same time as someone else, because this will make the coal burn too hot and you’ll burn up your weed too quickly.

Bonus tip: My ultimate personal favorite when it comes to smoking without papers is smoking hashish in the hookah. The process is exactly the same same, but slightly better than weed because hashish burns slower.

I have to add that this way of smoking is not the best thing you can do for your health, even if you use tobacco-free products. They say that smoking hookah is more dangerous than smoking cigarettes.

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#4) Vaporizers

Vaping is one of the healthiest ways to consume weed since it produces much fewer toxins than smoking.

The most dangerous thing when smoking weed is the smoke itself since it contains chemicals that cause cancer. So keep in mind that over 100 toxins are still released when smoking a joint.

If you’re looking to avoid smoke and use cannabis without papers, vaporizers are just the thing.

The only con when it comes to vaping is that vaporizers and vape pens are a bit expensive, but once you buy one you can use it for years without worrying about running out of papers ever.

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Every vaporizer is different so before you start using it read the instructions carefully.

Make sure to first charge the battery and sterilize the device. Vaporizers usually need several hours of charging before you can use them.

Turn your device on for a couple of minutes to warm up. Most vaporizers have an indicator light which shows when the device is ready to be used.

Pack your chamber with 0.25 to 0.5 grams of weed. I don’t recommend breaking weed up with your fingers, as it’s important that weed is finely ground so that heat can activate the cannabinoids properly.

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The second step is to set the right temperature. The average temperature range (and the one you can use) is between 360° and 380° Fahrenheit.

When everything is set, inhale the vapor through the mouthpiece. While you exhale, you’ll feel just how stronger the taste is when compared to smoking.

In this article, we will teach you how to get high when you run out of rolling papers by using smoking tools and homemade DIY alternatives.