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How to grind cannabis - with or without a grinder!

How to grind cannabis – with or without a grinder!

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It’s important to grind cannabis before you roll it in a joint, blunt, or spliff because it makes it easier to roll and will also deliver a smoother hit. 

It’s not essential to grind weed before putting it in a bowl, and many consumers enjoy the ritual of breaking up nugs by hand. But many people prefer ground weed in their bong or pipe, as this means you can pack it better for a smoother, more consistent burn. Additionally, a grinder can go a long way in improving your joint-rolling ability, as ground herb will roll the easiest.

The easiest way to grind cannabis

Unsurprisingly, the fastest, easiest way to grind cannabis is with a tool designed specifically for this purpose: the humble grinder. Grinders are typically small, circular objects that you can put cannabis inside and then rotate to grind it down.

The best way to use a grinder will depend on the exact design, but this process will work with most grinders:

  1. Put your weed buds (without any seeds or stems) in the teeth of the grinder, keeping the center free so the grinder can pivot.
  2. Rotate the grinder about 10 times – you may feel a bit of resistance at first, but it should get smoother after the initial rotations.
  3. After 10 rotations, the ground cannabis should have fallen into the grinder’s storage container.
  4. Open the grinder, remove the ground weed from the storage compartment, and enjoy!

If you’re wondering how to grind sticky weed, a grinder is your best bet. If you use another object to grind your cannabis, especially sticky buds, the smell and residue will get onto that item and can be difficult to remove. 

Furthermore, this resin contains valuable components that are better smoked, vaped, or eaten than washed away, and the best weed grinders are designed to keep the resin on your ground weed.

If you do need to clean off this resin, you can use isopropyl alcohol or a premade solution made for cleaning bongs to remove most of the residues and smell.

The downside of grinding your weed

While grinders can be handy, improve your smoking efficiency, and keep your fingers resin-free, they are not perfect. 

The act of grinding the herb can knock off or break open trichome heads in the process. This is why freshly ground cannabis buds have such a strong odor. However this is also why ground cannabis will begin to degrade faster than whole buds. Cannabinoids are more likely to oxidize and degrade, terpenes are likely to escape more quickly, and the moisture content of the herb will also quickly dissipate. 1

Nearly all of these downsides can be avoided by simply grinding only as much as you will use in that sitting. That way you won’t lose the volatile terpenes, which can escape from ground flower faster than whole flower. 2

How to grind weed with no grinder

If you don’t have a grinder handy, you can also grind weed with a number of objects you probably have lying around the house. Try one of the following:

1. Credit card

If you’ve ever wondered how to grind weed with a credit card, it’s actually fairly simple. Put your buds on a cutting board or another clean, flat service and simply chop them up with the edge of the credit card. 

Don’t forget to clean your card after, otherwise it may not swipe very well.

2. Coffee grinder

A coffee grinder is not only effective at grinding coffee beans, but cannabis too. Be sure to clean your coffee grinder well before you get started so that you don’t mix stray coffee grounds in with your buds. 

Of course, you’ll need to clean it thoroughly afterward if you want to keep your coffee cannabis-free going forward! To grind weed in a coffee grinder, simply pack your weed loosely into the grinder and use it as normal.

3. Mortar and pestle

The mortar and pestle has been used for thousands of years to grind all kinds of plant material, so it’s not surprising that it can be used for grinding weed. All you need to do is place your buds inside the mortar, and grind it with the pestle – just be careful not to grind too hard. 

Note that this method will work best with very dry or already decarbed weed. Otherwise, this may make more of a sticky mess than its worth

4. Cutting board and knife

You can grind weed with a knife and cutting board. Though this method may take a bit longer, it has the advantage that you don’t need any special equipment, like a mortar and pestle. Take a sharp knife and finely chop your buds until they’re nicely ground. Once you’re done, clean the knife and cutting board with isopropyl alcohol if they are sticky.

5. Pair of scissors

If you’re wondering how to grind weed with scissors, this is very similar to the knife method. However, using scissors is a bit easier and quicker – simply hold your stash above a plate, bowl, or cup (even a shot glass can work) and cut it into very small pieces. Give your scissors a cleaning with isopropyl alcohol when you’re done so the resins from the bud don’t gunk it up.

6. Cheesegrater

Another effective way to grind weed at home is with a cheesegrater, though it does take a bit more time and focus than some of the other methods on this list. 

Simply place the cheesegrater on a plate or container and grate your weed buds, while being careful to avoid grating your fingers at the same time! 

Again, make sure to thoroughly clean the cheesegrater before and after grinding, as leftover food and buds alike love to cling to the grater’s teeth.

7. Use your hands to pick it apart

If you don’t have any of the above tools or don’t want to use them, you can always use your hands. This method is tedious and often a little sticky, but you can’t fault its simplicity! 

How can you grind weed by hand? Take each bud and carefully pick it apart into tiny pieces of herb, dropping the pieces into a container or the bowl.

Bottom line

There are a lot of opinions in this world, as some purists swear that no tool works better than their fingers or a pair of scissors. But while there are many ways to break up cannabis flowers, typically the best tool for this is a good ol’ herb grinder. 
In particular, grinders made for cannabis that allow for a consistent grind and capture of the precious kief are some of the most useful and essential cannabis accessories.


  1. Milay L, Berman P, Shapira A, Guberman O, Meiri D. Metabolic Profiling of Cannabis Secondary Metabolites for Evaluation of Optimal Postharvest Storage Conditions. Front Plant Sci. 2020;11:583605. Published 2020 Oct 15. doi:10.3389/fpls.2020.583605
  2. Bueno, J., Leuer, E., Kearney, M. et al. The preservation and augmentation of volatile terpenes in cannabis inflorescence. J Cannabis Res 2, 27 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42238-020-00035-z
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