Any experienced cannabis smoker knows the horror of taking a long drag and coughing up a lung because the joint was full of tobacco or low-quality weed.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam, you may be wondering if the coffeeshop pre-rolls are worth having.
Luckily, we did the hard work for you. I visited Amsterdam for one weekend on a quest to discover one thing:
What the hell is inside our pre-rolls?
How Amsterdam Coffeeshops Work
Many tourists think the Dutch city with its famous red-light district is a hedonistic free-for-all. But Amsterdam is far from a tour of pleasures — the police are keeping a watchful eye over everyone, and the rules are strict, even when it comes to coffee shops. For example, visitors can only enter the same coffeeshop twice in one day with a daily purchase limit of five grams.
The city prohibits alcohol consumption in the same establishments that sell cannabis. However, a few coffee shops, like the iconic Bulldog, have expanded to offer separate facilities where you can order alcoholic beverages while enjoying the bud you bought somewhere else.
Tobacco smoking is also prohibited in most public places, including coffee shops. However, some establishments have gotten around this rule by offering semi-private areas for tobacco smoking.
Amsterdam Pre-Rolls: The Pros
The biggest advantage of pre-rolls lies in their convenience. If you’re only in Amsterdam for a short layover, you can grab a coffee and smoke a pre-rolled spliff before heading to the airport or train station.
Stopping by for a quick pre-roll at a coffee shop makes the perfect companion for a night of bar-hopping. You can grab a quick pre-roll, smoke it with your friends, and head off to the next bar without missing any of the action.
Pre-rolls are also ideal for newcomers to the cannabis scene or people who never got the hang of rolling a joint.
Amsterdam Pre-Rolls: The Cons
Seasoned herb lovers who wish to customize their experience often find pre-rolls limiting. You can’t choose the paper, or add hash, kief, or other concentrates. Plus, it’s more economical to roll your own joints.
The quality of the typical pre-roll can also be a problem for more discerning consumers. Some coffee shops offer cheap pre-rolls made with a fair amount of shake, the crumbs that collect in the bottom of the stash jars. Shake is safe to smoke, but it usually has less potency and flavor.
Additionally, Amsterdam budtenders have a reputation for “overhandling” the buds, removing terpene and cannabinoid-rich trichomes. However, the situation is improving due to the influence of discriminating consumers from legal U.S. states.
Another significant drawback for serious connoisseurs is that many Amsterdam pre-rolls include tobacco or an herbal tobacco substitute. Hash dominated the European cannabis scene for decades as it was imported from places like Morocco. Mixing hash into traditional cigarettes was a convenient way to partake while masking the cannabis smell.
Although habits are slowly changing, many Europeans still mix tobacco with their joints—a practice considered sacrilege to health-conscious West Coast tokers. If that sounds like you, make sure you ask for your pre-roll with cannabis only, or you might end up with a tobacco or herbal-laced joint.
What’s Inside Your Pre Rolls? A Short Guide
Although weed pre-rolls are undoubtedly convenient (especially for people who can’t roll for shit), the community is not so favorable towards them. That’s why we decided to take matters into our own hands. Quite literally.
During a busy week in Amsterdam, I found some time to buy pre-rolled joints from several coffee shops around town. My plan? Smoke them, open them up, and see what the real deal is.
Here are the results!
Bullwackie – Widow
Strain: White Widow
Tobacco to cannabis ratio: Poor
Boerejongens – Super Silver Haze
Strain: Super Silver Haze
Tobacco to cannabis ratio: Poor
Best Friends (Oud Zuid) – Kush
Tobacco to cannabis ratio: Could be worse
Strain Hunters – Super Lemon Haze
Tobacco to cannabis ratio: Could be worse
Verdict: To Pre-Roll or Not to Pre-Roll While You’re In Amsterdam?
If you’ve seen the above pictures and you’re still undecided, we’ll make it a bit easier: pre-rolled spliffs are not worth the purchase at all (especially for Americans who don’t mix their weed with tobacco).
The tobacco-to-cannabis ratio is very high, and that fact alone stuns both the effects and taste experience. As far as we’re concerned, the only acceptable use is if you’re left with only €5 and want to get high immediately. This is rarely the case (I’d have some kibbeling instead).
Luckily, even the most discriminating cannabis consumer can find decent pre-rolls in Amsterdam. The trick is to pick a coffee shop that offers pre-rolls by strain and specify that you want pure cannabis. These are obviously much more expensive, but at least you won’t be smoking a ton of tobacco.
Coffee Shops associated with experienced cannabis breeders, such as award-winning Barney’s or the Green House, make excellent one-strain pre-rolls and exciting blends. Establishments connected with seed banks have reputations to uphold. Boerejongens and Strain Hunters also offer top-quality buds.
Can’t Roll? Don’t Fret!
Note that we don’t rule out pre-rolls entirely, just those mixed with tobacco. There are people out there (myself included) who can’t roll if their lives depended on it. It’s not something to be ashamed about (well, maybe a little).
Additionally, most coffeeshop staff will be happy to roll one for you with the buds you buy if you aren’t that talented in rolling joints. Another option is to purchase a filtered cone and fill it with your favorite strain of ground bud. Just twist the tip, and you’re ready to enjoy your smoke.
And if that doesn’t work, you can always purchase a small throw-away pipe or bong for your trip or opt for the many infused edibles available at Amsterdam coffeeshops. Portable dry herb vapes are also an amazing, stylish solution. Pretty affordable too!
Cannabis is a sacred plant and Amsterdam is a great place to enjoy it. Just try not to mix it with tobacco to get the most out of your experience!
I spend a lot of time in Amsterdam and this article is not exactly correct. Smoking tobacco is not allowed indoors, not allowed in the hotels, Most Coffeeshops offer a herbal blend to add to the cannabis instead of tobacco. Pre rolled Joints also use a herbal blend, or you can request to have your joints made with just Cannabis, (They have those also). I am a person who has been going to Amsterdam for 22 years, 2-3 times a year…I have watched the changes.
From the UK here, most people will roll with tobacco and buds here. However we mainly do it to be cost effective, I’m a daily smoker but my joints still have around .5 to a gram. I hope you’ve tried our shotty bottles, disgracefully my preferred method. A plastic bottle with a hole burned for the pipe, hair bobble to make air tight, you wanna put a small disc of tobacco just to use as a platform for the weed. Put as much in as you like, as you burn the weed you can pull it down before the baccy gets burnt. Booyakasha you get the instant hit of weed with a slight fuzzy head feeling from tobacco, the pop you get as the bean flies down is very satisfying 10/10 would recommend!