Your Definitive Guide to Pre-Rolls

Curious about smoking cannabis but don’t know where to start? Well friend, you don’t have to be a pro at rolling a joint to get all the benefits. Thank Goddess.

Introducing: pre-rolled joints or simply pre-rolls. Unfortunately, they also come with their fair share of misinformation and historical baggage. But the fact is, they’re a truly excellent way to enjoy your weed. Especially when you’re a newb. And we’re about to tell you why.

Here’s why pre-rolls are one of the best ways to consume weed—and everything you’ll ever need to know about them.

What’s a pre-roll?

If you don’t know how to roll a cannabis joint, never fear. The market is filling with more and more pre-prepared, pre-packaged smokeable products or joints. That means, you can go into a cannabis dispensary and buy pre-rolls that are ready to smoke. Your job is to spark up and smoke. You did it!

What’s in a pre-roll?

Depending on the source of your pre-rolled joints, they may contain a mixture of bud, shake, and trim.

Bud

The key ingredient to look for in any high-quality pre-rolls is bud or nug, a.k.a the ground-up bits of cannabis flower. They’re the parts that smell great and get you high. But given the nature of joints, you’re probably not going to rip open your joint just to take a peek at what exactly is inside. The best way to combat this? Research. The brand behind your choice of pre-roll should be able to reassure you via its best practices, the ratio of THC to other cannabinoids and terpenes present in the bud, and overall certification. If you’re skeptical, feel free to unroll your pre-roll and see for yourself.

Shake

There’s this common idea that pre-rolls are predominantly made up of shake—essentially the bits of bud that have fallen off the flower in the process of harvesting or packaging and may have dried out or had their trichomes (the potent little crystals all over the cannabis flower) damaged in the process.

And because some dispensaries make their own pre-rolls using the shake they’ve collected from the bud they sell, there’s a common misconception that all pre-rolls are made of shake and therefore suboptimal.

But if you buy your pre-rolls ready-made from a reputable brand with a transparent production process, well you can rest easy that you’re smoking the good stuff—not just the crusty run-off.

Trim

Okay, so trim is differentiated from bud or shake in that it’s not made up of the cannabis flower at all. It’s more likely to be plant debris such as crushed up leaves, stems, or seeds, which are lower in THC—which is to say the chemical compound known for getting us stoned. It’s filler, basically. As such, avoid it.

If you find yourself in possession of a schwaggy pre-roll, you’ll find it was probably hand-made with dispensary off-cuts, and you’ll also find it’s harder to get stoned and it could feel harsh on your lungs. All the more reason to support brands that pride themselves on collecting the best flowering parts of the highest-quality grows.

How pre-rolled joints are made

While the process of manufacturing pre-rolled joints varies from brand to brand, the process is generally the same across the board: the flower goes from farm, to manufacturing, to packaging, to store. Want to get more specific? The best way to find out how your pre-rolls are made is to ask the brand you’re buying from.

How to compare pre-rolls

Not all pre-rolls are made equal, bb. Here’s how to compare and vet your pre-rolls, so you only smoke the best. Because you don’t deserve anything less.

How to tell if a pre-roll is good quality

In the professional opinion of Miss Grass (that’s us), the best way to think about good quality cannabis pre-rolls is the old adage: “Good in; good out.” That means it’s all about the grow. If a brand’s cannabis grower is trustworthy and favors natural growing methods where possible, that involves the sun. Although it’s worth noting that sungrown plants, while favorable, are less consistent in their strength and compound ratios. A greenhouse grow that, allows for sunlight where possible, will help make sure the pre-rolls are consistent in their effects every time.

If a brand’s manufacturing process prioritizes creating the highest quality product—not just premium flower but also in packaging and ease of use—then you know you’re in for a treat. So the easiest way to tell if a pre-roll product is good quality? Do your research.

It goes without saying, but that also means avoiding those hand-made pre-rolls that so many dispensaries are making and packaging themselves for a penny. They do that for a reason and the reason is shake and possibly schwaggy off-cuts. Instead, research the trusted brands who make manufacturing pre-roll products their true business. A good brand’s packaging will always tell you about the ratio of cannabinoids and terpenes as well as provide some information on expected effects. If you ask your budtender (whether virtual or IRL) they’ll also be able to provide you with certification that goes into the product’s ingredients in more detail. Ahh, peace of mind.

How to tell if a pre-roll is fresh

A fresh cannabis pre-roll is a pre-roll that’s been packaged well. The reason packaging is important is because pre-rolls exposed to lots of air over long periods of time are going to dry out. A dry pre-roll is the opposite of a fresh pre-roll. Dry pre-rolls will feel scratchy upon inhaling, and may “crackle” a little when lit. Conversely, if you find your pre-roll seems a little moist, it probably wasn’t dried out well enough during the production process.

How to keep pre-rolls fresh

If you want your cannabis pre-rolls to stay fresh, just keep them as sealed as possible. You might also want to look for smaller or mini pre-rolls because with smaller run sizes, there’s less chance of holding onto old, stale flower.

Does price of pre-rolls matter?

When considering the price of pre-rolls, there are a few variables to keep in mind. Namely, the size and the count of the pre-rolls. Both will have a significant impact on the price of the product. 

Some companies might offer a single, super large pre-roll joint with a super high THC ratio for the same price, or more. So it’s all relative and honestly, it depends on your priorities as a consumer.

State-by-state regulations for pre-rolls

Pre-roll products vary widely state by state. For every state where recreational cannabis use is legal, there are different growers, manufacturers, and brands. For instance, you’d be amazed at how hard it is to have a California-based brand be able to supply a customer in Washington with their product. Such is the way of regulated markets, at least for now.

Even if you purchase the same brand of pre-rolls in Colorado as the ones that are sold in Nevada (because the brand you like is multi-state) then the growers and manufacturers will be still be different, and for that reason, potentially the product.

What people look for in a pre-roll

If you’re interested to know how the average weed-lover uses pre-rolls, and why, you’ve come to the right place. Over 1,000 passionate and conscious cannabis consumers among Miss Grass’ audience recently took part in a real-talk survey on this very topic. Here’s how our majority-female audience consumes weed—especially pre-rolls.

When it comes to the old THC vs CBD preference, most women smokers prefer...both

It may not come as a total shock to you, but the majority of cannabis-friendly women we surveyed have no preference when it comes it smoking THC or CBD blends of flower; 66 percent of them like both—and we second them! Meanwhile, 32 percent of the people we surveyed prefer straight-up THC a.k.a getting high. The remaining 3 percent prefer CBD. All power to them.

Infographic pie chart showing that 66% of cannabis-friendly people smoke both THC and CBD-dominant flower, 31% prefer THC, and 3% prefer CBD.

Exactly how popular are good ol’ fashioned joints, you ask?

According to our survey, half of all weed-smoking women say they prefer smoking a joint to any other form of cannabis consumption. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, ya know? Another 45 percent say they usually reach for a pipe, bong, or vape.

Infographic pie chart showing that 50% of people who smoke weed prefer ol’ fashioned joints, 45% pipe, bong or vape, and 5% other.

But what do women want from smoking joints, anyway? 

We asked the Miss Grass audience what they want from the joints they smoke and, fairly unsurprisingly, 90 percent of our weed-loving fam smoke joints do it to reduce stress. Relatable! And so are the other two main reasons those surveyed smoke joint: 70 percent do it to improve sleep and a whopping 83 percent simply do it to have fun. Same, girl. Same.

Infographic bar graph showing that 90% of people smoke weed to reduce stress, 83% smoke to have fun, and 70% to improve sleep.

What kind of high do women want from pre-rolls?

According to the hundreds and hundreds of women we heard from, the most popular type of high that people want is a “slight but functioning” high. Meaning, you’re high, but you’re not all-out stoned on the couch. Instead, you’re having great convos and getting stuff done. We like that. The next most popular high people want from pre-rolled joints is a “relaxing” high, while 18 percent want a “giggly” high (who doesn’t?), and 12 percent of those surveyed do in fact want to get super duper high. All power to them!

Infographic pie chart showing that the majority of people who smoke weed like a “slight but functioning” high, 33% relaxing high, 18% giggly high, and 12% super high.

Smoking weed versus drinking alcohol—the age old question

Maybe you’re wondering how smoking pre-rolls or other joints affects your desire to drink? Well, for our audience of conscious cannabis advocates, weed has replaced alcohol in their lives in 65 percent of cases. And they’ve never looked back. For 20 percent of women surveyed, weed and alcohol play different but equal roles in their life, so they thoughtfully engage with both. The other 15 percent? They don’t drink or smoke, or both.

Infographic pie chart showing that for 65% of people weed replaces alcohol, 20% of people consume both, and 15% don't drink/smoke.

How popular are hemp CBD pre-rolls?

That’s a great question! After all, many people come to Miss Grass because of our curated and highly-vetted range of non-psychoactive hemp-derived CBD products. Out of the women we surveyed, the majority (55 percent) haven’t actually tried smoking hemp pre-rolls but are totally curious. Which we love to hear! Meanwhile, 25 percent already love hemp pre-rolls. And the remaining 20 percent aren't so keen. Meaning, they’d prefer straight up THC.

Infographic pie chart showing that 55% of people haven’t tried hemp CBD pre-rolls, but would, 25% love them already, and 20% say not for me.

Advantages of pre-rolled joints

If you have issues rolling your own joints—whether for medical reasons, because you don’t like to roll, or simply because you don’t know how—then you’ll know one of the biggest draw cards for pre-rolls is their convenience. You don’t need any special skills or any special equipment. Just a light and maybe an ashtray. Newbies rejoice! How much easier could it be?

Depending on the brand of pre-rolls, you’ll also be largely avoiding plastics or other disposable, non-biodegradable products. It’s 2020, baby! Let’s look after mother nature. When you throw out an environmentally-conscious pre-roll product (like Miss Grass Minis!) you can throw it guilt-free into your recycling bin.

Also, if you know anything about pre-roll joints you’ll know that sharing ones with friends is the most social of ways to consume weed. It’s a classic for a reason, ya know? It’s the social lubricant that alcohol wishes it was—it allows you and your group to feel chill, friendly, creative, talkative, and relaxed (with none of the shady decision-making and aggression).

Cons of pre-rolls

Like with any cannabis product (or food product for that matter), some pre-rolls are excellent and some will suck. The best way to avoid the cons? Do your due diligence as a consumer. Common “cons” of pre-rolls include low-quality flower due to the presence of shake and trim, not being able to know what’s inside to avoid low-quality product, and a general misunderstanding of the plethora of amazing pre-roll brands available today.

To avoid low-quality flower, buy branded, pre-packaged pre-rolls—not the handmade ones full of dispensary off-cuts. They’re cheap for a reason! And if you want to make sure that what’s in your branded pre-roll is actually good quality rather than clever marketing, ask your budtender or brand customer service rep to provide details on flower ratios, farming or manufacturing practices, and anything else you’re curious about. It’s what they’re there for.

Any reputable brand will be happy to provide you with a Certificate of Analysis (COA) upon request. Or, they’ll make it available on their sites or in stores. If they don’t want to provide you with a COA, feel free to R.U.N away and get your pre-rolls somewhere else.

Lastly, remember that pre-rolls are still the process of shaking off their reputation as the hotdogs of cannabis (cheap and crappy ingredients). But while certain stereotypes remain, the hotdog days are truly gone. As long as you avoid dispensaries or brand that give off a distinctly hotdog stand vibe, metaphorically speaking. Branded pre-rolls all the way!

Where to find pre-rolls

If you reside in a legal state, you’ll find your local dispensary is still the best place to find branded pre-rolls. That way, you can see, smell, and touch the products before you decide to buy them. You can also lean on the experience and knowledge of the budtenders who work there. Tell them what kind of effects you’re looking for—relaxation, pain relief, better sleep, creativity etc.—and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

If your state has legalized recreational cannabis, you’ll also be able to buy quality pre-rolls online, either from virtual dispensaries or directly from the brand’s website. Which is super convenient. And speaking of convenience, delivery services make buying pre-rolls as straight-forward as ordering Postmates. All you need is a phone and a strong desire to stay home in your track pants.

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