Competition in the rolling paper industry is stiff. Companies have designed and produced paper for smoking since the 1700s. Machines still pump out, interweave, and stack sheets of paper. More recently, the rolling paper industry is driven by hemp and convenience, albeit cones are seldomly infused with hemp-derived terpenes.
Falling behind without hemp
Hemp was always supposed to be king following legalization — from fueling our cars to building towns. The weight hemp and terpenes have on cannabis consumers can be found in the papers. Rolling paper companies lagging behind their competition are trying to offer hemp-based cones infused with terpenes, even rose petals.
Zig Zag rolling papers, born in 1800s, fell behind competitors. Nature appeals to cannabis consumers — rather than cardboard or marketing terms — and what pulp is more natural than hemp. But I asked Lorenzo De Plano, Vice President of the Zig Zag brand if throwing terpenes in the mix adds anything beyond flavour.
Zig Zag’s introduction to cones
Zig Zag — distributed in North America by Turning Point Brands Inc. since 1997 — started with paper booklets in France in 1876. Non-infused cones are among their recent innovations. But the company started producing them before De Plano’s employment.
“The introduction of cones was something that we had entered into the market over the last few years in a much more material way. So that’s when we really start pushing them actively.”
“Our focus has been on grabbing and innovating the brand and adapting what we call the next generation of products. That’s what we’re really focusing on developing.”
Lorenzo De Plano, Vice President of Turning Point Brands and Zig Zag.
Reasons for choosing cultivars
Consumers predominantly choose their cannabis based on THC, with a false sense of understanding for Indica and Sativa. Underneath it all, terpenes are a major factor in different chemovars.
“We looked through hundreds of different terpene profiles. And then what we did is we developed four unique terpene-infused cones made with hemp wraps. It’s a unique way of getting flavour in the product that we think will be more natural.”
“What we concluded was that, of the selection we chose, we wanted something that was a little more unique. So rather than doing a strawberry scented cone, we have have more of a strawberry shortcake cake infused cone.”
Are terpenes just flavour?
Terpene-infused rolling papers area still nascent. De Plano, being a consumer, rather gather gave first hand experiences.
“It gets really close to the source… I think it creates a nice entourage effect when using the product because it creates a consistent experience without any type of external variables that impact that experience.”
“If you’re cooking outdoors with a propane barbecue versus cooking something on an actual skillet over a fire. The skillet on fire is a lot more authentic and maintains the authenticity of the experience.”
Vape pens, edibles, and various other cannabis products can contain added terpenes. But terpenes from non-hemp plants dilute the market. Rolling papers infused with flavours are not new, but hemp-derived reiterations are uncommon.
“They are all extracted from hemp plants. And the terpenes themselves are derived from that source. And so over time, through bunch extraction processes, we get to the final product that ends up getting encoded into the cones and wraps.”
Josh Kesslemen founded Raw Rolling papers in the 1990s. Raw, distributed by HBI International under BBK Tobacco & Foods LLC, collaborated with Orchard Beach to produce terpene-infused cones. And the Raw brand of rolling papers is strictly made from hemp.
Raw recently released a select few varieties of terpene-infused hemp cones. And Kesslemen claimed on social media that the project took years to develop.
Do you know another source of infused cones? Let us know if you have tried a terpene-infused hemp cone in the comments.