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How to Roll a Joint

Long before you were prescribed medical marijuana or made that first trip to the dispensary, you probably knew cannabis in its most iconic form — rolled up in a joint, or a marijuana cigarette.

While there is a wide range of methods for smoking marijuana today and all types of cannabis smoking accessories, there’s something to be said for coming back to the basics.

How to roll a joint
How to roll a joint. (Dmitry Tishchenko/123rf)

Pros:

  • Doesn’t require any tools or investing in accessories
  • Relaxing ritual of preparing and smoking
  • Can be purchased pre-rolled

Cons

  • Requires more marijuana than to smoking a pipe or using a vape
  • Not especially discrete
  • Can leave your fingers and clothes smelling like smoke

What you need to roll a joint

  • Rolling papers
  • Cannabis
  • A grinder (you can also use your fingers or scissors)
  • Cigarette lighter or matches
  • Optional: Paper filter or a “crutch” (many rolling papers come with filters)

How to roll a joint — step by step 

  1. Grind up anywhere from ¼ – ¾ gram of cannabis.
  2. Roll up a paper filter and place it inside a rolling paper.
  3. Place the ground cannabis inside the basin of the rolling paper and tamp it down. 
  4. Using your fingers, roll the paper back and forth, making sure not to roll it too tight. 
  5. Lick the gum of the rolling paper, seal it, and then let it rest until it dries (it shouldn’t take more than a minute).

Here’s a video that demonstrates a relatively easy method:

There is also no shortage of joint-rolling accessories — from fillable cone papers to automatic grinders to manual rollers — that make the process require a bit less skill and practice.

Here is a video that demonstrates how to roll with a roller:

A joint is a relaxing way to smoke cannabis at your own pace, which doesn’t require investing in paraphernalia or mastering the use of tools like a bong, pipe, or dab rig. For many people, smoking a joint also provides a deep breathing sensation of smoking, which can be almost like meditation in its own right.

And while some people may be scared off by the prospect of having to roll their own joints, the good news is that today most cannabis dispensaries sell “pre-rolls” — joints that come perfectly rolled with the marijuana of your choice inside. For a beginner or anyone with a low tolerance, a pre-roll can easily last two or more sessions, so it can also be a relatively economical way to smoke. Make sure to keep an ashtray handy so you can put the joint out after a few puffs, and then set it aside for round two later in the day (or evening). 

There are a few drawbacks to joints, however. The smoke curling off the end of the joint can leave your fingertips smelling like smoke, as well as your clothes and hair. This is also one of the reasons that they aren’t especially discrete either. Also, rolling a joint typically requires significantly more cannabis than filling a bowl or the basin of a vaporizer.

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