How To Roll A Joint
One of the most popular ways to smoke cannabis is with a joint. Everyone’s talking about joints, and even more people are using them. They’re fun, have a stronger association with good times and getting high than other forms of marijuana, and best of all, they’re easy to find.
While you can purchase your own joints at a dispensary, wouldn’t you rather learn how to roll one up for yourself? Learning a few steps will definitely save you some time and money in the long run, and it’ll turn your afternoon smoke session into a reward. You’ll learn a new skill and be able to tap into that all-desired “high life” whenever you want. But what if you don’t know how to roll a joint?
Rolling a joint, even for the first time, won’t be too difficult. You’ll need the right supplies and the best tips and tricks for making something great. Your first attempt probably won’t be the best work, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get, and the easier the process will seem. We’ll walk you through it, so all you need to do is try it for yourself. Sit back, relax, and get your flower ready, because we’re about to get our roll on.
Get Your Supplies Ready
Rolling a joint involves more than just having a ready supply of cannabis, but of course, you’ll want to get that too if you don’t yet have it. While you’re at it, you’ll want to make sure it’s the best strain for the type of high you want. Then, once you have your flower, you’ll also need a grinder, rolling papers, and a rolling tray.
These joint-making essentials can be purchased at a dispensary, and you can’t get started without them, so make sure to pick some up. If it’s your first time visiting a dispensary, whether for recreational purposes or in general, you can look online to see what your options are before you go, and get an idea of what products you’re looking for. Here’s a deeper breakdown for each of these necessities.
Grinding up cannabis flower makes it ready to put in a joint or a cigarette. Unless you’re using pre-ground flower, you’ll need to use your fingers if you don’t have access to a grinder. Then, determine how much you’ll need—certain dosages fit certain usages. For example, about 200 mg of cannabis is enough to fill a commercial-sized cigarette. Joints are larger, and so you’ll need to grind more to fill the space. The amount you need to grind is dependent on how large your joint is; those sold in dispensaries as pre-rolls are often only about a third of a gram, or about 320 mg.
A joint is held together by rolling paper, and rolling paper can be made out of a lot of things, from flax to hemp fibers to rice paper, depending on what you want your smoke to be like. Some even change the flavoring, and can incorporate notes of fruit or chocolate. Whatever sort of smoke you’re after, do your research to find the best rolling papers for your needs. If you’re having trouble deciding, though, here’s a pro-tip: thicker paper, such as the kind made out of hemp, rolls more easily, which makes it suitable for use while you’re learning. Heavier paper also makes the joint thicker, in general.
A rolling tray offers you a clean, dry place to do your work without causing a mess. The standard trays are just rectangles made of wood, with spots to hold your other supplies and a dip to do the rolling in, but they can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and even materials. Some are decorative, with colorful cartoon characters on them. As before, the type of tray you want is dependent on who you are and what you’re interested in.
Let’s not forget the main star of the show here. The strain you choose is vital, so consider your options carefully. Indica-heavy varieties are more calming and good for dealing with anxiety or pain, whereas sativa-forward strains are often more energizing and can help you be more creative and focused during your day. Then you have hybrids, which are bred for specific qualities and include a carefully calculated balance of both. Whether you already have a favorite or simply want to find something that works, remember to do your research before buying or growing.
Now that you have your supplies, whether physically or in mind, we can move onto the next step.
Grinding Your Cannabis Flower
If you aren’t just using already-ground cannabis, you need to grind it up to prepare it for smoking. Don’t worry if you’ve never used a grinder before. They’re pretty simple, so it shouldn’t take you too long to figure it out. Doing so is vital to properly smoking your cannabis and getting the most out of your product when compared with other methods, like cutting the buds with scissors.
For best results, make sure the cannabis is dry, to ensure it not only has a longer shelf-life, but that more of the properties are kept when grinding and smoking. Also remember to not grind it too finely, or the cannabis will burn up too quickly. It helps to pre-weigh your ground flower so you can determine how much you’ll need for your joint until you become experienced enough to eyeball it.
Rolling Your Cannabis in Paper
Fill the paper from the bottom up, and keep going until you have dispensed all your pre-weighed flower into the rolling paper. Once you’re done, it’s time to roll.
Make sure your hands are clean before you start. As with all prep for ingestible products, you want to be sure you’re not contaminating the joint, especially if you’re making some in a recreational use state to share with your friends. Hygiene is key, especially in these times, so be smart and be safe.
Make a Crutch or Filter
A “crutch” makes joints easier to hold and smoke, especially if you’ve never smoked one before or want a little more stability. A crutch isn’t a necessity, and it’s possible to roll up a joint and enjoy said joint without having one. However, they don’t disrupt the smoking, aren’t that hard to make, and have benefits such as allowing you to smoke the entire joint. They even help filter out some of the cannabis flower, so you don’t inhale any by mistake.
You can make a crutch out of purposefully-made filter tips, or any other thick paper products, such as cardboard or a business card. Fold the crutch a few times accordion style, and then roll it down to about half an inch long. Add it to the end of the rolling paper before packing your cannabis in.
Roll it With Both Hands, and Distribute the Cannabis
Roll the paper back and forth in your hands, smoothing out the cannabis and shaping it into a uniformly-sized cylinder or cone. It should form the shape on its own without much work on your end, but it might be hard at first to get it exactly right. The flower should be distributed evenly throughout the paper, without bulging or having too many weak spots.
Once you think you’re done rolling it, tuck one side of the wrapper under the other. If done right, it should completely cover the cannabis inside. If using gum-lined paper, you can seal it even tighter by licking the gummed side, similar to licking the sticky part of an envelope. The joint should be entirely secured inside, and covered by the paper.
This step may seem complicated at first, so just take your time with it and be careful. Doing it quickly is a surefire way to create a misshapen joint, which won’t be nearly as satisfying to smoke. Your first attempt probably won’t be perfect, but if you go slowly and pay attention, you’ll come away with something you can be proud of.
The Finishing Touches: Poke and Twist
Now that you’ve successfully rolled a joint, you might be wondering where to go next. After all, the only logical next step, it might seem, is to light it up and finally start smoking it. While you could just jump into it, there are a few more things to do at the end to perfect the joint before you’re done.
Pack it in with a long, thin, cylindrical object, like a pen, to tap the flower down into the rest of the joint. This is what’s called the “poke,” and it gives you a better smoking experience, with the cannabis more properly distributed throughout.
Then, twist up the excess paper at both ends of the joint and use scissors or a razor blade to tuck the paper into the joint. While you want to make sure the end is twisted, it’s a good idea to also twist the open side lightly, as well. It packs the cannabis together nicely for the first puff, and ensures everything is sealed in correctly. Plus, it doesn’t look too bad, either! The end comes out looking like a candle wick, and this “wick” is what you can use to light the joint.
Grab Your Lighter
Now that you’re done, it’s time to light up and enjoy your joint. The process might seem complicated, and your result is probably less than perfect, but if you keep practicing, you’ll get better and better. Now, you can experiment with different kinds of rolling paper, a variety of cannabis cultivars, and even crutch materials to see what works best for you. We’re sure that whatever you’ve used this time will give you a satisfying and well-earned smoke, and that whatever you use in the future will make for an even better experience.
- van Draanen, J., Tao, H. D., Gupta, S., & Liu, S. (2020). Geographic differences in Cannabis Conversations on twitter: Infodemiology Study. JMIR Public Health and Surveillance, 6(4). https://doi.org/10.2196/18540
- Cueto, E. (2016, July 20). How big is a joint? science has determined the average joint size & it's actually more important than you might think. Bustle. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from https://www.bustle.com/articles/173870-how-big-is-a-joint-science-has-determined-the-average-joint-size-its-actually-more
- Addo, P., Brousseau, V., Morello, V., MacPherson, S., Paris, M., Lefsrud, M. (2021) Cannabis chemistry, post-harvest processing methods and secondary metabolite profiling: A review, Industrial Crops and Products, Volume 170, 113743, ISSN 0926-6690, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indcrop.2021.113743.
Digital Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.
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