Even though the joint is one of the most popular and iconic ways to smoke marijuana, not every cannabis enthusiast knows how to roll one. There are numerous ways to roll a joint and everyone will tell you that their method is the best, but truly, as long as you can roll a joint that stays together and burns evenly, that’s all that matters. Follow this simple guide to help you get from point A to burning up at point B.
What You’ll Need
- Cannabis strain of your choice
- Rolling papers – There are a wide variety of rolling papers to choose from. Some are flavored, while others may have a unique aesthetic. You can also try rolling papers made out of hemp. They burn longer as well as more evenly, and some people even claim that they make their joints more potent.
- Crutch (optional) – The crutch is the filter or the tip. You can buy already perforated crutches or cut a piece of card stock down to make your own.
- Rolling machine (optional) – You can get a rolling machine online or from your local smoke shop to make the task easier.
- Clean surface for rolling – Having a rolling tray or some type of clean surface (like a sheet of paper) to roll your joints on top of will help catch the expected spillage so that you don’t lose any of your marijuana.
Step 1: Grind Your Bud
There are various methods for grinding up your bud; whatever you choose, remember that the point of this step is to break the weed into fine pieces that will burn evenly. Most people use a grinder. Grinders are an excellent tool for the job because they break the weed up finely while keeping your hands clean and ensuring they don’t get too sticky to actually roll your joint. If you don’t have a grinder, don’t worry! A lot of people just use scissors, and some prefer to use their fingers to break it down as small as possible. Just make sure to wash your hands before you roll to make your life easier.
Step 2: Make a Crutch or Filter
Crutches, also called filters or tips, will help stop your ground up marijuana from falling out of your joint and getting into your mouth while you’re smoking. Crutches can be easily made from almost any paper, but something similar to a thin cardboard or business card works best. (Consider the texture of all those glossy political mailers that start rolling in around election season—seriously, they’re perfect for crutches!)
Start by cutting off a piece of card stock that’ll fit the end of your joint. A 2×1 inch filter is perfect, but you can make it a little smaller if you want to fit more weed. Then, start folding it into an ‘M’ or accordion shape, as pictured below.
Step 3: Fill and Pack Your Rolling Paper
Take your rolling paper and place the crutch you just made in one end, and then fill the rest with your ground bud. If you’re measuring out the weight of your cannabis, try not to use more than a gram — that’ll make a pretty thick and dank joint. Any more and your joint might not roll properly or burn evenly. You can easily eye it without weighing it, though. Just make sure your paper isn’t overflowing and can be closed properly.
Once you’ve got your paper loaded, start shaping it into a joint by making a crib for the bud. After it’s shaped, start pinching it between the tips of your fingers and rolling the paper up towards the side with the glue, which should be facing you. Don’t do it too tight and make sure to leave a little air. Leaving this extra air will help you close up your joint and will let it breathe a little so that it burns better. Tight joints are harder to smoke.
Step 4: Roll Away
This step tends to be the trickiest part for most people. As you’re holding your almost finished product, use your thumbs to tuck the paper covering your ground cannabis into itself. The part with the glue should still be facing you.
Once you have tucked in the rolling paper, you can start rolling the joint away from yourself and towards the glued end. Repeat this tucking and rolling motion carefully, moving along the length of the joint until you’ve successfully rolled up all of your joint with just a bit of the glued paper sticking out. You’ll feel the cannabis start to get firm in the shape of the joint.
After you’ve finished tucking and rolling, wrap the excess paper around the joint; lightly lick the gluey edge of this paper and tack it onto the joint. Using your fingers, work your way up and down both ends of the joint to make sure that the sticky edge is fully sealed. One end of your joint should still be open at this point.
Step 5: Finishing
Take a pen (or something similarly sized) and push it into the open end of the joint to tightly pack the weed inside. Once you’re satisfied with how densely packed the weed is, twist the open end of the joint closed, and voila! Your joint is finished and ready to smoke.
If that all sounds like a lot of tedious work, save yourself some trouble and bust out your rolling machine. The ‘easy method’ still requires finely ground bud and a crutch, so Steps 1 and 2 remain the same as with the traditional method above.
Step 3: Fill and Pack Your Rolling Paper
Place the filter inside the left corner of the rolling machine. Grab your ground up bud and start to fill the machine, but make sure that it’s not overflowing or it won’t roll properly. Close the rolling machine, then take your thumbs and start rolling the rollers of the machine towards yourself. This will help your ground weed get packed nice and tight inside your joint, which will give the joint a perfect, even burn. Remember though: too tight and your joint may be difficult to smoke, so give it a little breathing room.
Step 4: Roll Away
Now take your favorite rolling papers and insert them into the machine with the glued side facing you. It can be a little hard to get them fitted inside, so don’t be afraid to work with it a little or open the rolling machine very slightly to fit it inside.
Once the paper is secure, start rolling the machine towards you again. Stop rolling when the glued part is still barely peeking out, right before the paper goes completely under. Lick the sticky edge so it’ll seal properly. Finish rolling until the paper disappears into the machine and then give the rollers a couple more rolls towards you. Pop open your rolling machine and you’ll see a brand new joint ready to be smoked!
Have Fun and Innovate
If you’ve seen some of the pre-rolls available on the legal market, you know that you can do some pretty crazy stuff with your joints. For example, you can purchase joints in legal states that have been dipped in wax and then rolled in kief or hash. This will get you higher than you’ve ever been before! And the best part is, you can roll joints like this on your own with a little extra work.
One of my favorite things to do is take the kief from the bottom of my grinder and sprinkle it into my joint. It’s simple, but very effective. Other times, I’ve taken a bit of live resin concentrate and sandwiched it between my ground marijuana before rolling it. You can get a variety of concentrates from dispensaries, or even pick up kief and hash if you’re feeling adventurous and want to spice up your joints.
With practice and experience, you can impress your smoking buddies and elevate your session by turning your joints into works of art. For starters, you can try your hand at rolling a cross joint or braided joint. Once you’ve mastered these, you can really get creative with uniquely stunning smokeable sculptures.
Keep at it!
Rolling joints isn’t as hard as it seems. As with most things, it just takes some practice to properly perfect your technique. Don’t get discouraged if you do it wrong the first few times. The more you work at it, the easier it’ll get. And if your sticky fingers just aren’t cutting it, get yourself a rolling machine!