You’ve smoked your buddy’s joint and think it would be cool to roll your own. But you have no idea how to roll one! You could buy a pre-roll but what’s the fun in that? Rolling a joint the old-school way, that’s the way to go. After all, there’s a certain cache to the old ‘tuck and roll.’ Here’s why — joints are timeless, inexpensive, and easily portable. Read on for a how-to on things like how much cannabis to put into your joint, and on how to roll the perfect joint for a smooth and even burn.
Let’s start at the beginning—what IS a joint? Think of it as a hand-rolled cannabis cigarette. You may have also heard the term spliff—that’s a cannabis joint filled with 80:20 cannabis-to-tobacco ratio. Or blunt—a hollowed-out cigar filled with cannabis or cannabis rolled in heavy, dark, tobacco-style papers.
To roll a joint, you will need:
- Cannabis (duh)—try a third of a gram of weed per joint
- A cannabis grinder
- A rolling tray—or something that works as one!
- Rolling paper (you’ll want to get the right ones—see below)
- Filter or crutch, or material to make one (also see below)
- Chopstick, pen, or a long, skinny stick
How to choose the right rolling paper:
Size matters! (No, the joke is not lost on us.) Seriously though, papers come in different sizes and choosing the correct size makes a difference when rolling.
Here’s a rundown on the different sizes:
- Single wide—perfect for that single joint
- 1¼-inch—good size for sharing with a buddy or two
- 1½-inch—three friends with you? Try this size
- Double wide—generally too much wide paper for the amount of weed
- King—will burn longer than the smaller joints
- King slim—little harder to roll, but classy. Try this when a little more experienced
Rolling Paper Materials
So, a good place to start is with organic, unbleached raw, rice, bamboo, flax, or hemp paper. You’ll find that certain papers roll easier, plus papers burn differently. Hemp papers, for instance, generally give an even burn, and some folks like it because it gives them more of a cannabis-infused experience. The flavour will change with some papers so you may want to sample a few before you settle on a fave. Keep in mind too that thinner rice papers will be a little clunky to work with at first. You’ll want to graduate to these eventually, though, because the thinner the paper, the smoother the joint.
Some things to keep in mind when you’re shopping for papers — watch out for additives. You’ll want to avoid charcoal, which is sometimes added to help the joint burn faster. Also, white papers are often bleached. Additives could be a reason to avoid novelty papers like cellulose, rose petals, goji berries, or gold leaf. You want your smoke pure and flavoured with your favorite cannabis strain!
Additive warning—flavoured papers are interesting to try, but they’re infused and therefore aren’t natural. They also won’t pair well with all strains, so consider both of these points before you roll.
Steps To Roll A Joint
A Note On Joint Shapes
Joints can be rolled into a variety of shapes, but the shape of the joint you’ll most often see in your buddy’s fingertips is straight. There’s a reason for this — a straight roll will give you a consistent, even bed of cannabis from beginning to end. Something it’s not worth complicating something classic, you know?
1. Grind The Cannabis Into Shake
This is where it gets fun. Time to get your hands dirty! Pick out a dry flower in the strain of your choice. Separate or break down the flower into small herb-like pieces. Use a decent grinder if you can get your hands on one—steel is better than plastic. A grinder allows for even consistency and keeps your fingers from getting sticky. If you don’t have a grinder, no worries, you got this. Just pick the flower apart and gently break it down using something you have at hand, like a card. If you’re using a grinder, don’t put too much dried flower in. A small amount is enough. Grind gently so you don’t damage the trichomes (the hairlike structures that give cannabis its potency we all love so much).
2. Create A Joint Crutch/Filter/Tip
Not completely necessary to have one but they will keep your fingertips from being burned and will prevent you from inhaling dried flower while you smoke. Some papers come with filters or tips, but if not, you can make your own! It’s super easy.
All you need is a small rectangle of heavy paper about an inch wide. Start folding the end like an accordion (pretty sure you did this as a kid at one time or another) and then fold the rest of the heavy paper around it. You could also roll the filter into a sort of spiral instead. Either way, tips boost airflow and will give you a better experience. You can buy reusable wood, glass, silicone, or ceramic crutches/filters/tips too, but the homemade jobbies work pretty well when you’re in a bind.
3. Fill The Joint With Cannabis
Okay, so the glue strip or shiny side of the paper needs to face up. The filter goes at one end. Gently shake the ground up weed onto the paper in a line. Don’t fill right to the opposite end of the filter—you should leave a little empty space there. Look for any sticks and stems and carefully pick them up. You don’t want to inadvertently punch holes through the paper.
4. Pack The Joint
This is starting to get fun now—you can almost picture your tidily folded joint! Take a hold of the non-glued side and bring it up so it kind of hugs the cannabis. You want to form a cylindrical shape. Pack it in but not too tightly. Loose weed, on the other hand, won’t taste great. Aim for the perfect joint with an even distribution of dried cannabis. Don’t press directly on the flower (hold onto the filter if you can). Remember those delicate, potent trichomes!
5. Rolling The Joint
With the filter in place at one end and a little extra space at the other, roll the paper up around the cannabis and filter. You’ll have an easier, less damaging grip if you hang onto the filter with one set of fingers/thumb. Try rocking the paper a bit from side-to-side to get the cannabis to settle.
Moisten the glue and bring the two sides of the paper together to form a semi-tight cylinder. You can use a small tool like a pen or the end of a chopstick to poke into the open end and tamp down the cannabis. If you have excess paper, re-lick the glue strip and tear the excess away. Start at the filter end.
Check your work surface — if you’ve dropped or missed any cannabis, you can add it in now. Then that bit you left with open space at one end? Gently twist it closed. Et voila, as the French say. You’ve rolled yourself a beautiful little joint.
6. Light & Smoke Your Joint
Don’t light it like a cigarette (lighting and inhaling at the same time). Instead, hold the filter between your thumb and index finger. Bring the flame of your lighter slowly to the rolled tip and rotate the joint between your finger and thumb. Take short, slow puffs just to get it going. Once you have a nice, slow, even burn, you can draw into your lungs. Ain’t that nice? Enjoy!
Some folks prefer a spliff over a joint. Why? Because spliffs can offer a smoother smoking experience, with a more even burn. Also, spliffs can give you an additional buzz because of the THC in cannabis and the buzz from tobacco in nicotine. Think of it this way — nicotine will give you an added buzz, while joints, which contain more cannabis, guarantee a stronger high. Try some variations on your cannabis to tobacco ratio. Ninety percent dried and ground flower to ten percent tobacco, or go for the standard for spliffs, which is more of an 80:20 ratio.
A blunt is a cigar that has been hollowed out and filled with cannabis. Blunts can also be rolled using tobacco leaf wrappers. They can come in many flavours, hence part of the appeal. Interesting fact: blunts originated in New York as a way of keeping marijuana smoking discreet.
Some Other Considerations
How Much Weed To Put In Your Joint
The ratio of weed to paper is important. Newbies, you should start with a third to half a gram of cannabis per normal-sized rolling papers. For comparison’s sake, pre-rolls have about half a gram to a gram. You’ll find your joints easier to roll if you start small, get the hang of it, and work your way up.
Additional Tips To Perfecting Your Joint
- Avoid overstuffing or your joint will be hard to draw
- Not too tight either—that also restricts airflow
- Use your thumbs to roll, and your index fingers to support the outside
- Tuck in the cannabis bud as you go
- To seal, start at the mouthpiece end and work your way up the cylinder
- Start with thicker paper and gradually move to thinner as you gain experience
- Keep the moisture to a minimum—lick lightly!
- If you prefer, you can buy pre-rolled cone-shaped rolling papers (they come with a filter) and just drop in your bud, seal the end with a twist, and light up
What To Use When You’re Out Of Rolling Papers
On second thought… Here’s what NOT to use. Gum wrappers, thin book paper, or toilet paper. Why? Because they contain chemicals and harmful substances. You don’t want to inhale those! Some folks empty tobacco out of cigarettes, but that’s not ideal either. The tobacco taste will linger and if that’s not what you’re signing up for it’s not the best experience. Our best recommendation is just to smoke a different way, like with your trusty bong or pipe.
Joints are one of the most popular ways to enjoy cannabis. They are timeless, cheap and easy to tuck into a jacket pocket. You can take ‘em virtually anywhere! Joints are a great way to enjoy your fave strain too when they are packed well and smooth. Once you perfect the art of rolling your own, you’ll be packing smooth and even in no time. Take your time, and remember—practice makes perfect.