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What is a spliff?

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Contents

  1. Spliff definition
  2. Why is it called a spliff?
  3. Should I roll a spliff?
  4. Benefits of spliffs
  5. Do spliffs get you higher?
  6. Disadvantages of spliffs

If you’re new to cannabis culture, you probably already know what joints and blunts are, but you may not have heard of a spliff.

Here you’ll learn what a spliff is, how the spliff got its name, and the possible benefits and drawbacks of smoking a spliff.

Spliff definition

Similar to a joint rolled in white cigarette paper, a spliff has the same appearance but with an added twist: it contains both cannabis and tobacco mixed together. Blunts, which are typically rolled in brown cigar paper, also contain tobacco, but spliffs have much higher concentrations. Spliffs, then, may be considered hybrids of joints and blunts.

A spliff has the same appearance as a joint, but with an added twist: it contains both cannabis and tobacco mixed together. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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The strong tobacco infusion often leads to a more energetic buzz for users. Spliffs are especially popular outside of the United States, notably in Europe, where many users enjoy a combination of tobacco and marijuana for their smoking experience.

In short, spliffs are cannabis cigarettes with a tobacco twist.

Why is it called a spliff?

The word has West Indian origins and may have been coined in Jamaica. However, in Jamaica a spliff refers to a cigarette containing only marijuana, not tobacco. The term is commonly used in Jamaican English slang to refer to a joint that may be especially large or potent. The exact meaning of “spliff” is unknown, unlike the meaning of the word joint, which derives from the French verb joindre translated as “to join.”

Should I roll a spliff?

Rolling your own spliff has several distinct advantages. First, you can control the ratio of tobacco to cannabis, making the ingredients equal or choosing one to dominate the other depending on your desired effect. You can also select the type of paper to use, with flavored and unflavored options available. Tobacco paper is generally sweeter than hemp paper, so you can pick the paper according to the flavor profile you prefer. Rolling paper flavors come in numerous varieties, including banana, honey, green apple, and watermelon. The rolling process is straightforward and if you know how to roll a joint, you’ll be able to roll a spliff too.

With spliffs, you can select the type of paper to use, with flavored and unflavored options available. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Benefits of spliffs

Spliffs offer a number of benefits that joints and blunts may not. Here are the top three benefits of spliffs.

  • Easier: While the ease of rolling a joint depends on the texture and quality of the cannabis, spliffs have the advantage of tobacco to act as a buffer. Tobacco tends to make a roll more workable and consistent, which equals less time preparing and more time enjoying.
  • More subtle: If you’ve ever rolled and smoked a joint at home, you know that the smell can be overpowering and last for hours if not days. Spliffs, in contrast, are more discreet because they tend to smell like tobacco cigarettes rather than more potent-smelling marijuana. Of course, the aroma of marijuana is more desirable to many people than the smell of cigarette smoke, so this advantage may not matter to you if discretion is not a concern.
  • Smoother: Unlike a joint, in which one side can burn faster than the other or extinguish altogether, a spliff offers a smoother experience without these interruptions. From start to finish, the tobacco in spliffs provides consistency, whether you’re rolling or smoking one.
Spliffs offer a number of benefits that joints and blunts may not. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Do spliffs get you higher?

Spliffs have many benefits, but getting you higher is not one of them, especially if your idea of high involves a sensation of relaxation. Joints contain significantly higher levels of cannabis, often containing a full gram of marijuana versus half that amount in a spliff. Plus, because of the tobacco content, the stimulant nicotine factors into the equation. If you like your highs more energetic, then this could be an advantage. But if you prefer to mellow out with your smokes, then joints may be the better choice. Whatever you smoke, cannabis strains containing higher THC concentrations are key if you are seeking a psychoactive experience.

Disadvantages of spliffs

The most obvious disadvantage of spliffs is that they contain tobacco, a known carcinogen. Cannabis, on the other hand, has been studied for its potential anti-cancer properties. Research has shown that cannabis may inhibit the growth of certain types of cancerous tumors. Some cancer patients also prefer cannabis over opioids to manage pain. The chemicals in a spliff could cancel or at least diminish any possible health benefits of cannabis.

In addition, marijuana tastes better than tobacco to many palates. The same principle applies to fragrance, as a whiff of acrid cigarette smoke can be offensive to some people, whereas marijuana may be more inviting. However, as already noted, smoking a spliff can emit a subtler overall scent than smoking a joint, so it ultimately boils down to preference.

One way to work around these disadvantages is to limit the amount of tobacco you roll in a spliff. For example, instead of a 50/50 ratio, try blending 80% cannabis with 20% tobacco. But if health and aesthetic issues are a concern, you may want to stick with pure weed joints.

What is a spliff? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Spliff definition Why is it called a spliff? Should I roll a spliff? Benefits of

An Ode to the Humble Joint, the Best Way to Get Stoned

Last week, we asked our readers to vote on the best way to get high. We created a March Madness-style bracket with 32 ways to ingest weed—everything from suppositories to bongs—and we have a winner.

Bongs are fun, dabbing is a wild ride, vaping is classy and scentless, and weed capsules are the future. But nothing could beat the iconic joint.

Image by Lia Kantrowitz

As somebody who enjoys weed on occasion, I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. This is further evidence for my theory that VICE has the smartest readers of all the websites.

There’s something comforting about the warm feeling in your lungs right after you hit a J. Unlike spliffs, which people who don’t smoke cigarettes tend to detest, you can share a joint with whomstever. Unlike blunts, there is no thick taste of flavored cigar papers. (Something I kinda enjoy, but I know isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.) A bowl has to be constantly repacked. Bongs are big and imposing and intimidating to non-stoners. Also, there’s no graceful way to take a bong hit. You can look sexy while hitting a J, or you can have a disaster of a coughing fit. The joint is beautiful in its versatility.

The joint, unlike the edible, does not give you an anxiety-filled couple hours of wondering if you took too much or not enough. Take a hit and the high hits you immediately—you know what you’re getting as soon as you smoke it—and maybe it’s my millennial attention span, but the instant results are a key reason the joint reigns supreme over edibles.

Unlike dabbing, which also involves an incredible amount of work and expensive materials, joints can get you high without getting you too high. But then again, everyone has a different experience. A friend of mine recently told me, “A joint is like getting hit in the head with a baseball bat and that’s what I like about it.”

You can roll a small joint for the Stoner’s Nightcap™ (trademarked by me, right now), or a big, fat J for a group hang. If you’re one of those extremely fancy rolling experts you can turn joints into flowers or crosses or airplanes or Starbucks cups or a fish or a giraffe or a shark. If you are 17 and looking to impress, you can roll a joint out of a Bible page because you think it’s edgy.

But most of us are happy to roll simple joints that require no introduction, even to the absolute weed newbie. A teenager can smoke a joint; so can a grandmother. You can smoke one walking down the street and toss it on the ground and leave no trace beyond a smell.

“You can smoke a whole joint and still have a hit or two for later,” VICE staff writer Emerson Rosenthal said when I asked people to talk about joints to me. “Also, it’s a great way for regularly useless people to suddenly become invaluable. If you can roll a really great joint, you’re in the crew. I know friendless people who have made friends through their ability to roll a joint.”

Vapes and increasingly outlandish types of edibles are growing in popularity, and by the time you finish reading this there will likely be a new way to get high, some new crystalline compound with a slightly purer percentage of THC, but the joint, an undeniably analogue method, is still number one. The joint is beautiful in its unpretentiousness—all you need to make one is some paper and some bud.

According to one of VICE’s resident weed experts (and Noisey social media editor), Trey Smith, a joint is “one of the most convenient and easy-to-share methods of consuming weed. You learn more about the weed you smoke through a joint than probably any other smoking medium. It’s got everything, folks. Congrats to weed in general for all it’s accomplished over the years.”

“Spliff should’ve won, but joint is the next worthiest winner so congrats to joint,” Smith added. Even weed experts can be wrong.

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Our readers have spoken: Smoking a J is the best way to get high. ]]>