How to twist a joint
The joint, known to dorks the world over as the “marijuana cigarette,” remains a popular weeded mainstay despite the rise in fancier pot tech such as vape pens, transdermal patches, and… infused bedding.
But the joint ain’t no rookie consumption method. To properly roll one requires experience, so if you’re brand new to the ganja game, don’t feel too discouraged if you can’t get it right on your first, uh, 100 attempts.
Before we dive into how to twist up one of these bad boys, let’s look at some of the advantages to rolling your own joint as opposed to, well, any other consumption route.
First, joints are hella convenient. You can roll up several, place them in a relatively sturdy container, then blaze up whenever the opportunity strikes. Joints are also very much shareable, so they’re great for social smoke seshes.
Second, rolling your own joints gives you power over what goes into your lungs. You can mix-and-match strains that best suit the effect you’re going for, or you can twist in other weed products like hash, kief, shatter, wax, crumbles, or — gasp! — even tobacco, you rebel.
Third, joints are fuckin’ sexy. But how do you roll a perfect one?
Step One: Grind
Before you can properly roll a joint, you need to break up your weed first. The easiest way to do this is with a grinder, which should evenly tear up your flower to workable shreds. If you don’t have a grinder, you can do this step by hand. Just ensure the flower is dry before attempting this, otherwise you’ll end up with a pile of sticky chunks that won’t burn well.
Step Two: Transfer
One of the trickier steps with rolling a joint is getting the weed onto the actual rolling paper. If you’ve got your pack of papers with you, the cover flap on the pack should serve as a flat edge for scooping up the weed and placing it into the paper. If you don’t have a pack with you, a credit card or business card works well, too.
You can transfer the weed to the paper with your fingers, but this can be time-consuming and frustrating. Trust me: Stick with a flat edge, and you can complete this step in just a quick motion or two.
When you transfer the weed to the paper, make sure the glued end of the paper is furthest from you, i.e. you shouldn’t have to contort your neck Cirque du Soleil style to lick the glue.
Step Three: Even It Out
Once the weed is on the paper, gently use your fingers to even out the weed pile so it’s roughly uniform across that center fold. This doesn’t need to be perfect, but the roll will be so much smoother if you do this.
Step Four: The Actual Rolling Part
OK, so this is the part where 99 percent of first-timers will mess up. And that’s fine. Mistakes are part of the learning process.
Now, how you actually perform the roll depends on a few factors, such as the sizes of your hands and fingers, your individual manual dexterity, and what kind of joint you’re going for. Let’s assume you’re going for the standard, no-frills joint.
Press the front flap of the paper closest to you (e.g. the flap that doesn’t have glue), over the weed so it’s touching the other flap (the one with the glue). Continue pressing the front flap over and down on the weed until the weed begins to form a roll or cylinder. Again, this roll doesn’t need to be perfectly uniform.
The key here is to push the roll into place with just enough pressure. If you roll the weed too tight, it won’t stay lit, if you can even pull on the thing. If you roll it too loose, the paper will burn faster than the weed does.
There’s no tried-and-true trick for getting the pressure, and the roll, just right. That will require a lot of practice, but once you get it, you’ll literally be able to feel it in your fingertips.
Step Five: Actual Rolling Redux
Once you’ve pushed the front paper flap down to the point where it’s about to pop the weed back out, stop there. Lick the glued end, then start twisting the weed upward. Some folks recommend doing this in one fast, simple motion. Others roll upward carefully, repositioning their fingers with each successive twist until the joint is complete. You’ll figure out which way works best for you as you continue to practice.
If you did the roll-up step correctly, the glued side should naturally twist onto the rest of the joint, sealing it. Feel free to give that sucker another lick just to be sure, though.
Step Six: Light It Up, Take a Puff, and Pass It to the Left-Hand Side
So, dope, you’ve got your first proper joint twisted up. The best way to light one is to place the tip of the joint to the tip of the lighter flame. One sharp inhale should draw enough heat to the joint tip to get it lit. If you stick the joint tip directly into the flame, you may scorch too much of it, leading to runs in the paper that will effectively wreck your smoke sesh.
Extra Info to Keep in Mind
If rolling joints by hand just isn’t working out for you, you can buy a simple rolling machine to do the heavy lifting. Additionally, some cannabis consumers prefer their joints with filters or “crutches,” so they don’t inhale a mouthful of weed chunks with every hit. You can make a crutch from any piece of thick paper or cardboard, then slip it at one end of the joint before you start rolling it (so, somewhere between Step Three and Step Four of this guide).
And there you have it! If you’ve never rolled a joint before, just keep practicing, note your mistakes and think of ways to resolve them, and keep trying. Everyone has their own individual style when it comes to rolling a joint, so it’s impossible to devise a one-size-fits-all technique for twisting your own. Happy smoking, y’all!
Spoiler Alert: Twisting up the perfect doobie will require a ton of practice and a lot of wasted rolling papers.
How to roll a joint
The joint is one of the more iconic ways to consume cannabis, and it’s a great way to enjoy the flavor of your flower. Every cannabis smoker should learn how to roll a joint. There are countless opinions on the different ways of rolling one, but whatever you do, make sure your creation burns smoothly and evenly.
How much weed is in a joint?
When starting out, we recommend using a 1/2 gram of weed and normal or 1 1/4 sized rolling papers. This is a good amount of weed for a couple people and starting off on the smaller side will make rolling the joint more manageable.
For reference, most of the prerolls you buy at the store are a full gram, although some come in 2-packs of half-grams.
When you get good at rolling, you can move up to King sized papers and full-gram joints and widen your smoking circle.
Step-by-step guide on how to roll the perfect joint (with or without a filter)
To help you hone your own craft, we’ve prepared a simple seven-step guide on the easiest way to roll a classic cone joint, even for beginners. You’ll be rolling a perfect joint in no time.
Begin by gathering your rolling supplies:
- Cannabis strain of your choice
- Rolling papers
- Crutch (for the joint crutch or filter)
- Cannabis grinder
- Optional: A pen, or a similarly shaped object to help pack the joint
Step 1: Grind the cannabis
Break down your cannabis into shake. If your cannabis is dried well, it should break down easily. A grinder keeps your hand from getting sticky and thus sticking to the joint paper.
If you don’t have a grinder, you can grind the herb down by hand, using scissors, or any number of other breakdown methods.
Step 2: Create joint crutch/filter
Make a crutch, also called a tip or filter. You can make a crutch out of just about anything, but thin cardboard or business cards are solid go-tos. A lot of joint papers also include crutch material with their packaging.
Start with a few “accordion” folds at the end of the cardboard, then roll the material to the desired thickness of your joint. The crutch isn’t absolutely necessary, but it does help keep the shake from falling out of the end or into your mouth as you smoke. It also adds some stability to the joint and allows you to enjoy every bit of cannabis without burning your fingertips.
Step 3: Fill joint with cannabis
Fill the paper with the shake and the crutch (if you’ve made one). Once the paper has the right amount of shake (a half gram to a gram usually does the trick), you can begin to form and shape the joint with your fingers.
A quick note on papers: There are a lot of different types and flavors of joint papers available. Many people prefer hemp papers because they tend to be thin but strong, and burn evenly without affecting the flavor of your weed.
Step 4: Pack the joint
Once you’ve loaded and shaped your joint, it’s time to roll it. Pinch the paper between your fingertips and roll it back and forth between them to pack the cannabis down into its final cone shape.
Step 5: Roll the joint
This step can make or break the quality of your joint. Tuck the unglued side of the paper into the roll, roll it up, and use the glued edge to tack down one end of the paper, using just a little bit of moisture.
Pro tip: Start with the crutch side because it can help guide the paper as it rolls around itself.
Once the paper is tacked down on one end, you can work your way down the rest of the seam by tucking and sealing the joint to the end.
Step 6: Finish your joint
Finally, pack the end of the joint to help ensure an even burn. A pen is great, but you can use just about anything.
Some good options if you’re on the go: the tip of your shoelace, the drawstring on your hoodie, or a small stick. If you’re not planning on sparking your joint right away, you may want to close the tip with a twist.
Step 7: Enjoy (and innovate!)
Other ways to roll a joint
There are limitless ways to roll a joint. You can roll them big or small. Get creative! Some people have even transformed joint rolling into an art all on its own, rolling their cannabis into a unique mix of functional origami.
Another trick is to use a dollar bill to help roll a joint. Simply fold a dollar bill in half and put your ground weed in it. Roll it back and forth, slip a rolling paper behind it, roll it up, and give it a lick. Easy peasy.
Other joint variants you can try rolling are a cross joint (two joints crossed in the middle, giving you three ends to light), a pinner (a thin joint), or an L joint or tulip, which have extra amounts of weed stuck on the end.
What’s your favorite way to roll a joint? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below and make sure to teach others this basic cannabis skill!
This post was originally published on May 19, 2016. It was most recently updated on April 15, 2020.
Every cannabis smoker should learn how to roll a joint. To help you hone your own craft, we’ve prepared a simple seven-step guide to successful joint rolling.