If you want an added punch to your smoking experience, infused pre-rolls are an excellent choice. They are made with concentrates to raise the potency of a joint and intensify the high you feel.
There's a wide range of infused pre-rolls on the market made with all types of concentrates, so we made this guide to help you navigate those shopping waters and swim towards some of the best infused pre-rolls for your endocannabinoid system.
What are infused pre-rolls?
Infused pre-rolls are joints with different types of concentrates added to the flower and/or the paper used to roll or pack them. They are made through various methods, and in the end, the goal is to create a product for consumers with higher tolerances — the more you smoke, the more your body gets used to cannabis compounds, thus building up a tolerance to them. Concentrates have a higher concentration of those compounds, which provides a more intense experience that can help cannabis smokers break through a tolerance plateau.
There's a variety of concentrates that are used to make infused pre-rolls. Commonly done infusions include rosin, resin, distillate, diamonds, and kief — just to name a few. And there are different ways that flower can be infused. Some manufacturers bring the flower and oil together through a chemical infusion, some spray THC oil on the flower, some paint concentrates on top of the joint of paper, and the list goes on. The differentiator between these methods comes down to the quality of the inputs used, i.e. if the flower and oil are good or not.
What are the different types of infused pre-rolls?
There's a wide range of concentrates that can add a bit more potency to a standard flower joint. Here are a few of them.
Distillate, as the name suggests, is a cannabis concentrate that has distilled the compounds within a plant's trichomes down to one specific cannabinoid — typically THC, but you can also get CBD distillate. Companies will infuse the flower inside of their joints with distillate to increase the THC potency. However, it is worth noting that because distillate is flavorless, companies will often also use terpene additives in their formula to boost the joint's flavor. This tends to make the joints taste strongly like a specific flavor. While these bold flavors can be enjoyable, sometimes they can be so strong that it's a bit off-putting. That's because not all terpenes are created equal.
There are cannabis-derived terpenes, natural botanical terpenes, artificial terpenes, etc. They all boost flavor, but cannabis-derived terps provide a vastly different taste and smoking experience than botanical and artificial terps. When purchasing infused pre-rolls, it's important to know your preference in experience and the brands you can trust to provide high-quality inputs (flower, concentrates, etc.) that get you there. Otherwise, you may end up buying joints from a company that peddled you bad weed but tried to cover it up with high THC numbers and extreme, fake flavors.
High terpene full-spectrum extract
High-terpene full-spectrum extract, or HTFSE, has a saucy consistency and contains a high percentage of terpenes — usually between 10 - 40% terps. These saucy concentrates are another way in which companies reintroduce flavor to joints infused with THC distillate. Aside from that, whether brands use distillate or not, HTFSEs are an excellent way to boost flavor in general.
Joints infused with THCA diamonds are all the rage right now, and we're seeing more companies coming out with their own diamond-infused product lines. In cannabis, "diamonds" are the THCA diamonds that form in terp sauce, and they can be extracted into an isolated crystalline form. They contain up to 99.9% THCA, the chemical precursor to THC. THCA converts to THC through the application of heat. Like distillate, 99.9% THCA diamonds carry no taste and no odor but have an extremely high potency that creates value for infused pre-rolls. Because diamonds don't necessarily enhance the flavor experience, it's important they be combined with some fire flower that's bursting with terps. This is why you may see joints infused with THCA diamonds plus live resin.
You've probably dabbed live resin. If you haven't, it's a solvent-based concentrate that's made through the usual extraction process. The difference is the starting material which is fresh frozen plants versus dried and cured plants. Immediately freezing flower after harvest helps lock in those volatile terpenes and overall results in a flavorful extract.
Live resin is an excellent way to boost both potency and flavor with infused pre-rolls. Just make sure the starting material — and all materials used — are high quality. If you start with trash, the extraction and infusion processes won't mask that.
Rosin is a solventless chemical made from pressing trichomes with heat and pressure. Live rosin is the same; but, like live resin, the process starts with frozen flower versus dried and cured plants.
When done right, there is no better concentrate than some fire ass rosin, and when it comes to infused joints, I'm always looking for the ones made this way. Rosin's consistency makes it prime for making hash holes, aka donut holes, which are infused pre-rolls that leave a donut-like hole in the middle of them.
Kief can make your joints (and bowls) more potent. Kief is the pile of weed dust at the bottom of your grinder. It contains high amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes and is often used to coat the outside of many infused pre-rolls. Using kief is the easiest way to make your own infused pre-rolls at the crib.
Why smoke infused pre-rolls?
The reasons people smoke infused joints are pretty simple.
- Potency — Infused joints get you much higher than regular joints. Concentrates have higher percentages of cannabinoids and terpenes than regular flower — it's some extra oomph for people who consume cannabis frequently and with higher tolerances. The potency can be a bit much for a new cannabis smoker, so it's best to approach lightly if you haven't tried an infused pre-roll before.
- Flavor — Adding concentrates to flower is a great way to modify or enhance the joint's flavor. For that, you need a concentrate that is high in terpenes, like the live resin mentioned above.
- Longer smoke time — Infused joints definitely burn longer than non-infused joints. Sometimes so long that it will make people straight up walk away from the session. It's still more of a benefit than a disadvantage.
How to shop for infused pre-rolls in California
It sucks that you can't just know how cannabis products are going to affect you; you have to actually try them. That makes it almost impossible to walk into a dispensary, see an infused pre-roll you've never seen, and just know off the top of your head if it's good or bad by your standards.
Consider the inputs
The key factor when shopping for an infused pre-roll is to pay attention to the inputs. The inputs are the standard of flower and concentrate used. That doesn't mean that you have to get the highest-quality versions of them, so focus on shopping with companies that you trust and that prioritize consumer safety and experience.
Expect to pay a higher price
When cannabis is grown, the excess leaves and plant matter are trimmed. That trim is trash that shouldn't end up smoked, but some companies will repurpose it for infused pre-rolls and sell it to people for the low. Since there's no eye test you can do to know if a company did this, the best indicator would be the price of the joint — using full flower and a high-quality concentrate isn't the cheapest option.
Know your concentrates
And all concentrates are not made equal. It's important to understand where you stand on the types that you enjoy. Quality is often found in the color of the product. With good concentrates, you normally want an amber-gold color, not a dark brown and burnt look. Unfortunately, with infused pre-rolls, you don't really get the chance to see what the concentrates look like. So again, it comes down to purchasing products from brands you can trust. If there's a concentrates brand you love, chances are you're going to like their infused pre-rolls.
As far as trying new brands that you're unfamiliar with, it's best to ask the budtender how the products were made to know if what's in/on that pre-roll is something that you want to inhale.
The 5 best infused pre-rolls in California
The “best" infused pre-rolls will always be subjective and based on consumer preference. But here are a few California-based companies we know that make some great infused smokes.
Hash Holes from Fidels
I don't think I've smoked a better infused joint than a Fidels Hash Hole. Them shits smack, boy. It smacks with flavor, potency, and quality. There's a reason all of your favorite companies are coming out with “donut joints" and Hash Hole imitators.
Shant Damirdjian, aka Fidel Hydro, may not have been the first to ever roll hash into the middle of a joint, but he takes pride in being one of the pioneers of doing it extremely well. “Instead of being here and saying who did it first, I'm more about who did it best and paved the way for this category," said Damirdjian. "I want to be known for paving the way for this category as far as pre-rolls are considered. Before this, people would put all this nonsense on joints just to raise the THC levels and sell them to the consumer. Giving a fuck about the input was the goal."
For the brand, it's all about the quality of inputs and using premium flower — specifically six-star hash. “There are so many different types of hash and people naturally want to put the cheapest input. They'll make trim hash rosin, they'll get hash from shit that's not colored right. That method of thinking has to be put to trash, people won't succeed like that. For me, it's always been about putting six-star hash in the hash holes. I really care about that. I really care about the different types of hash and flower that we're pairing."
Baby Jeeters from Jeeter
Baby Jeeters run the pre-roll game, man. If you look at Headset's data for California pre-rolls, they pretty much sweep the category. Baby Jeeters are mini pre-rolls that come in 5-packs of 0.5-gram joints, either infused or non-infused. The infused options come in two types: infused with liquid diamonds and rolled in kief or infused with distillate and rolled in kief. They're an extremely good self-smoke for even novice consumers.
Moon Rock blunts and joints from Presidential
Presidential's Moon Rock blunts are made with flower that's infused with distillate and rolled in kief. The brand's been in operation since 2012 and currently has the #1 selling blunt in California — and it's the #4 pre-roll brand.
“We take pride in making these moon rocks," said Everett Smith, Presidential co-founder and CEO. "We use a lot of local farmers that grow sustainability, like Rove and THC Design. We take their quality flower then take distillate, infuse it onto that flower, and then coat it in kief made from that flower. We take extra steps to make our product more high-end, but still be able to sell it at a value price."
Presidential recently released a new product: PeeWee Moon Rock Pre-rolls and PeeWee Moon Rock Blunts. The market currently clamors for smaller infused joints, and the Moon Rock pre-rolls and blunts are Presidential's way of saying “We hear you." The PeeWees come in 3-packs of 0.5-gram pre-rolls and 0.7-gram blunts, respectively.
Infused pre-rolls from Pacific Stone
Pacific Stone is well known for its 14-count whole-flower pre-roll packs. They've recently come out with infused packs made with diamonds.
“We chose diamonds because there's a number of different ways that you can put diamonds in," said Skip Motsenbocker, the brand's CEO. "We milled THCA and blended that in. It's shelf stable, very consistent, and takes the [THC percentage] up a little bit."
Skip continued, “Quality and consistency are key things we've been talking about as they relate to the flavor and effect. We do massive amounts of R&D, not just in terms of things that we produce, but in terms of what else is out there in the market. We see lots of extremes where the flavor that's been put in is too much, or it can't mask the fact that there's trim put in ... Consistency is ultimately what wins the game. If you don't have consistency, you don't have a brand."
Treestars from Blaqstar Farms
Blaqstar Farms' Treestars have a special place in my heart. They are mini infused blunts filled with flower infused with diamonds. The wraps are painted in natural cannabis-derived terpenes and then covered in kief. “We blend the flower with diamonds," said Atiba Boswell, Director of Sales and Operations. "Those diamonds are whole-plant diamonds. They're not the stripped-down white THCA diamonds, which are 99% THC. That's one thing I like about the diamonds we use."
The Treestars burn smoothly and taste great, and having them covered in high-terps oil makes them burst with flavor. “Treestars are meant to focus on terpenes, the entourage effect, and combining different parts of the plant," Boswell shared. “When we are making infused pre-rolls, I'm looking for smell and taste. I want something that when I crack it open, the smell and the taste are delicious to my nose. In the past, infused pre-rolls were for potency. Of course, we want it to be potent, but the emphasis is really on smell, taste, and effect."
Editor's note: Weedmaps does not get affiliate revenue from the brands recommended in this article and all products are chosen independently. The only influence Weedmaps News is under is weed.