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How to Infuse Pre-Rolls

Advances in automated pre-roll machines are making it easier and more efficient to enter this booming product category.

Externally-infused pre-rolls.
Externally-infused pre-rolls.
Custom Cones USA

Pre-rolls are the fastest growing segment of the cannabis industry, and that growth is being driven by infused, or “connoisseur” pre-rolls – those made with both flower and some kind of cannabis concentrate.   

In our most recent white paper on the state of pre-rolls, we learned that infused pre-rolls is one of the fastest-growing sub-categories in the segment, jumping 22% in the U.S. and an astounding 1,426% (that’s not a typo) in Canada, due in part to Health Canada clarifying its regulations to allow their sale

Infused pre-rolls are growing in popularity because customers tend to search for higher potency items, but also because of the drop in flower and concentrate prices in mature markets and advances in automated pre-roll machinery that make producing infused pre-rolls at scale easier and more efficient. 

Watch: Harrison Bard: The Next Big Thing in Pre-Rolls


Infused pre-rolls are created by combining flower and a high-potency cannabis concentrate, though the methods vary depending on the type of concentrate used, all producing different results. 

Different manufacturers use different infusion methods, each with its own pros and cons. Some infuse the concentrate inside the pre-roll, while others take a standard pre-roll and add extracts and concentrates to the outside of the filled cone. 

Some manufacturers even mix and match, using different combinations of concentrates and infusion methods to craft one-of-a-kind infused pre-rolls that keep their customers coming back for a product they can’t get anywhere else. The possibilities truly seem endless. 


The first major step a pre-roll manufacturer has to take when designing an infused pre-roll is which type of concentrate to use and the infusion method. Every other choice stems from those two decisions. 

First, select what you’d like the infused pre-roll to look like. If you are infusing internally, do you want to mix the flower and the concentrate, or are you looking to create a “hash hole” style pre-roll that leaves a familiar donut-type hole down the center of the pre-roll? Or does it make more sense in your production process to paint/infuse the outside of the pre-roll, which creates a visually striking look that customers will immediately recognize as infused? 

Your chosen method will dictate which type or types of concentrate will work best. 


Let’s start with outside or external infusion. This style of infused pre-roll was among the first to gain in popularity and dominated sales charts in 2022 and early 2023 before the rise of internally infused pre-rolls.  

As noted, external infusion creates an almost fuzzy, eye-catching look that, when packaged with a clear plastic or glass tube, immediately alerts customers that the product inside is something special.  

However, though they look cool, directly combusting the oil and kief on the outside of the pre-roll is not the most efficient smoking method, resulting in a waste known as “sidestream smoke” coming off the pre-roll instead of into your customer’s lungs.  


One of the reasons external infusion is an easy way to expand your pre-roll production line is that it occurs at the end of your production process, allowing you to continue making your pre-rolls in the same fashion you always have while still providing an infused option for consumers. 

Usually, externally infused pre-rolls are painted with a layer of distillate and then rolled in kief, adding a boost of potency and flavor. Distillate is a highly refined and highly potent cannabis concentrate of just THC, so it is flavorless. Sometimes, manufacturers re-add botanical terpenes to the liquid to help boost the flavor profile.  

Kief is the collected trichomes—the parts of the plant containing cannabinoids and terpenes—so it has a distinct taste of the flower it came off. Kief collects in the bottom of sifters, and additional sifter screens with a finer mesh can always be purchased to sift specifically for it. 

The process of external infusion is pretty simple: 

  • Warm the distillate in a vacuum oven or over a candle warmer.
  • Use a food-safe brush to gently paint the distillate onto the outside of the filled pre-roll.
  • Roll the pre-roll in kief.  

Here’s a dirty little secret: many producers are not actually using distillate or kief. Some companies are just using a glue, like acacia gum, to bind the kief to the outside while others are using ground cannabis instead of actual kief. 

While this production process takes significant man-hours to produce infused pre-rolls at scale because of the hands-on nature, a new automated kief-coating machine has recently been developed that can also be used to coat pre-rolls with moon rocks, or bits of flower coated with hash oil and kief. 

Pre-roll manufacturers use a food-safe brush to gently paint the distillate onto the outside of the pre-roll.Pre-roll manufacturers use a food-safe brush to gently paint the distillate onto the outside of the pre-roll.Custom Cones USA


There may be only a handful of options for external infusion, but for pre-roll producers looking to infuse their pre-rolls internally, the options are almost endless. Nearly any type of concentrate can be used – and in multiple ways – to infuse a pre-roll. However, the most popular forms are live resin, bubble hash, THC isolate, kief and rosin. 

There are pros and cons to internal infusion, though. The biggest pro is the lack of side stream smoke, which means more for your customers. For many concentrates, particularly resins and rosins, the oil is not being directly combusted; instead, it is vaporized by the ember, or cherry, burning ahead of the oil inside the joint. 

The cons include the inability for customers to see the infusion in the same way as an externally infused pre-roll allows. From a production standpoint, another con is that an infused flower mix can be difficult to run in pre-roll machines, and the extra oil can gunk up your machines, requiring more cleaning time. But if you are using an infused flower mix, we recommend keeping both the material and room where you are working as cold as possible to keep the oils in more of a solid state.


One of the primary ways of infusing pre-rolls is to mix the concentrate with the flower before filling your pre-rolled cones. Typically, this is done by hand or with a kitchen mixer, but this is not a particularly efficient way of combining the two ingredients and will not lead to a homogenized mix, resulting in an uneven infusion at best and a lot of wasted oil at worst.  

Thankfully, this is another place where technology is catching up with the industry. New machines that use dual centrifugal action to fully mix any two substances – including any concentrate with flower – into a perfectly homogenized and evenly coated mixture. This new mixer is a major time-saver for any brand looking to speed up its infusion process and reduce waste. 

A hand-rolled infused joint.A hand-rolled infused joint.Custom Cones USA


The first decision is, of course, the type of concentrate you plan to use. THC isolate, kief and bubble hash are all relatively dry and non-sticky concentrates, so they are usually easier to mix with your flower prior to packing compared to live resin, rosin or other butane-extracted oils, though kitchen mixers or hand mixing will not homogenize the two substances. 

Next, you have to decide on your ratio of flower to concentrate. This will obviously not only affect your final potency numbers but will affect the flowability of flower through your pre-roll filling machine, so make sure you are not using too much oil and sabotaging your own process. 

This is also the point to add terpenes to boost the flavor of your pre-rolls by either mixing it with your distillate to help cut the viscosity or simply adding it to the mix. 

For pre-roll producers looking to infuse pre-rolls internally, the options are almost endless.For pre-roll producers looking to infuse pre-rolls internally, the options are almost endless.Custom Cones USA

If you are using resins or rosins to create the “hash hole” look, you can roll the concentrate into a thin, snake-like rod and place it in the center of the pre-roll. This takes some additional time, but can bring in a premium price. 

And again, for producers who strive to create this style of infused pre-roll, there are automated machines that can inject a concentrate into the center of a pre-roll. These machines can hold up to 20 pre-rolls at a time and can use any concentrate that can be liquified. Touch screens also allow producers to decide exactly how much concentrate is applied and where in the joint. And because it can be operated by a single employee, it can drastically cut down on labor costs. 

No matter how you infuse your pre-rolls, adding a line of these high-potency, flavorful products to your brand is a great way to stand out among the increasingly competitive pre-roll market. But unless those infused pre-rolls are a quality product, customers may not return and machinery is the best way to ensure a consistent, high-quality product.  

Whether infusing by hand or with an automated machine, either internally or externally, there is a piece of equipment that can fit your needs and help scale your infused pre-roll production.

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