How to Roll a Joint Properly
Joints are the second most common image associated with cannabis, the first being the 7-fingered fan leaf of the weed plant. Hand-rolling techniques give joints a distinct look, feel and tip burn compared to cigarettes; the hand-rolling technique has become synonymous with cannabis culture.
Rolling papers are the least expensive way to consume cannabis. They’re portable, convenient and make for one of the most flavorful consumption experiences even though they're rudimentary compared to all the gadgets and glass we have today. There are many techniques and variations for rolling a joint, but for this guide, we will share everything a beginner roller needs to know about the basics of rolling a joint with a paper tip crutch.
Rolling a Joint - Simple Steps
- 1. Gather your cannabis, grinder, papers, and any extra tools you may need along with your rolling surface.
- 2. Prepare your paper, and fold or roll your paper tip crutch.
- 3. Break your cannabis buds off the stems, and further break down as needed before grinding it up. Grind your cannabis down to your preferred coarseness.
- 4. Place your filter at one end of the rolling paper, and fill the rest with ground buds. There should be as little space as possible between the filter and the beginning of the flower in your roll.
- 5. Roll the paper in your hands to mold the ground cannabis into a smooth tube, or log. Once the log is packed sufficiently tight, you are ready for the tuck!
- 6. Roll your paper over the log so the adhesive end is all the way up and the bottom just meets the top of the log.
- 7. Tuck the paper over the tip and where the tip meets the flower. The tuck should follow the rest of the log in a straight line.
- 8. Once the paper is tucked along the log, roll the paper up until you reach the adhesive.
- 9. Lick the adhesive, and seal the paper evenly.
- 10. Stuff the rest of the joint evenly with your leftover cannabis, using a crutch or stick, or anything small and sturdy, to pack down the loose cannabis inside. Leave enough room to twist the joint closed.
- 11. Tie the joint off with a twist point roughly the length of a candle wick. If your excess paper is longer than that, fan out the excess paper past the wick-sized part so it quickly burns off when lit.
- 12. Light your joint with a lighter or hemp wick until the end of the joint exhibits the desired ash color and burn evenness. This may take a few minutes.
- Inhale, and enjoy your joint!
How Much Weed Is in a Joint?
Joints typically don’t have a set amount of flower in them down to the hundredths of a gram. Some joints are bigger than others based on density of the plant material and freshness of the bud. Everybody’s preferred joint size is a little different, but a good rule of thumb to follow is that a good amount of cannabis fills up the grind plate on an average-sized grinder (2.5” diameter). If you need more than that, you can grind up more flower and stuff your joint after you've rolled it up.
Choose Your Strain of Weed
Typically, you want to grind up the freshest cannabis you have available. The flower should fall around the grinder compartment like sand when you tilt it, and feel like a shag carpet when you mold it up with your hands. Fresh flower is ideal because it makes joints easy to roll, mold and stuff. The strain, which will most likely be a hybrid cross, doesn’t matter much. There's no genetic predisposition for a strain to be better in joints. Just make sure you’re using cannabis that's got a proper humidity and stickiness to ensure better burn and airflow.
There's also been debate in cannabis communities online as to whether small buds impact the quality of the log rolled into a joint. After extensive self-testing, I don't believe they do; the difference was negligible at most. The jury is still out on whether the eye appeal on smalls is worth the substantial cut in wholesale cost, but if you’re a smoker on a budget, you should feel comfortable choosing smalls if the cultivar is to your liking and the bud is relatively fresh. Freshness might also be impacted by whether the flower was stored with humidity packs. Some of these packs keep the bud humid at the expense of ruining scent profile and softening stems, which makes it more likely you'll be smoking stems in your joint.
Grinding It Down
Breaking your bud off the stems is key during this process. Stems caught on the outside of your joint log could puncture the paper, and you will have to start over. We’ve written about our choices for the best weed grinders. For my weekly round-up testing, everything gets ground up in a Brilliant Cut Grinder with a medium grind plate. Some people who test joints regularly prefer to use a finer grinder for their flower, which reduces the airflow slightly to fit a greater density of flower in each joint.
The important thing when choosing a perfect grinder is that your grinder should be sharp enough to shred your bud but also hard enough that it doesn’t shave metal pieces into your blend. If your bud ends up being too coarse for your joint, you can always grind the flower a second time while holding the closed grinder upside down. This will trap the plant matter in the blades until you’ve achieved the desired consistency.
Choosing a Rolling Paper
We detail this more in our guide to the best rolling papers, but the short answer is there are lots of great papers to choose from for folks looking for just about any flavor profile or smoothness. Across the board the 14 GSM papers (Elements, RAW Organic, Vibez, Blazy Susan, most OCB rolling papers, etc) are industry and community favorites. These papers are a perfect balance between adequate firmness and paper thickness that make for a consistent rolling and smoking experience.
Detailed Joint Rolling and Smoking Tips
In the step-by-step guide above, we mentioned that the joint should be rolled tightly around the point where the crutch meets the flower. This is one of the weak points of the joint that affects airflow the most. This can be remedied by pushing the filter down into the joint to ensure firmness. Typically, you want to stuff your joints with a blunt utensil such as a pen or a twig to pack the ground flower into your cone evenly and without puncturing the paper. Tying off the joint into a wick will help light the joint hot and evenly, which will help retain the burn for your whole session, so you don’t have to keep re-lighting it.
Most folks light joints the same way you would light a cigarette. This is not optimal because cannabis is more humid than tobacco and requires more heat to get the flower burning at the proper temperature. Depending on the humidity in your environment, you might be sitting there lighting your joint for five minutes or more waiting for the end to “cherry” up with an even burn. In the middle of the joint, you can light the excess paper if your joint burns unevenly or “canoes.”
Some folks contend that lighting joints with a hemp wick offers better flavor. While the flavor differences between lighting with a lighter and wick is negligible, a hemp wick might be easier to use for lighting joints for minutes at a time. Remember that heat rises as it burns, so avoid putting paper you don’t want burned in the direction of the heat, which includes rotating the joint on its axis as you burn it. Lastly, there are some folks that only roll joints while wearing vinyl or nitrile gloves, which can marginally help keep their hand oils off the rolling papers.
Rolled Up Conclusion
While rolling a joint is truly an art that might take decades to master (see Seth Rogen rolling a cross joint), everyone has to start somewhere. The tips in this guide should give you the resources you need to start enjoying weed the connoisseur way. Smoking joints can be an enlightening social experience, a personal ritual, a professional quality test and a convenient way to get your smoke on. Rolling skills are just one of many tools cannabis connoisseurs have in their toolbox, and being able to roll a good joint can help budding enthusiasts appreciate cannabis through the most universal smoking experience.
For more information on cannabis and its effects, be sure to check out the rest of GentlemanToker.com. We cover everything from the basics of marijuana to its various forms and applications. We also have an extensive directory of resources for those interested in finding where to get weed!