The art of rolling and smoking a joint has been a popular way to enjoy cannabis for centuries. Records show that the first joint was rolled in Mexico in the 1800s, according to Getting High: Marijuana Through the Ages.
In fact, the term “roach” (the end of a smoked joint) originated from the Spanish folk song “La Cucaracha,” a song about a cockroach who can’t do anything because he’s got no pot, reports Leafly.
We feel ya, little guy. Thanks to legalization, however, access to cannabis is increasing — and so are the amount of methods in which to consume it.
Despite this, the centuries old act of rolling’ one up and smoking it is still among the most popular ways to use cannabis. According to one 2015 study — smoking a joint remains the preferred method of cannabis consumption.
But rolling a joint can be tricky. For those who are just beginning or want to perfect their personal methods, here’s a guide on how to roll the perfect cone.
What is a Joint?
A “j”, doobie, pinner, Dutch, roach, airplane, fatty, stogie — the nicknames for the joint are seemingly endless. Whatever one chooses to call it, there are some basics when it comes to rolling a joint.
A joint is created by rolling dried, ground up cannabis into a cone using a thin sheet of rolled up paper, according to Weedmaps. Unlike a blunt, a joint’s rolling paper is made from wood pulp, hemp, flax and more. Blunt wraps, on the other hand, are made with thick tobacco paper. Users can find rolling papers in convenience stores, dispensaries, and smoke shops. Dispensaries sell pre-rolled joints, also known as pre-rolls, which typically range from $10-$25 for 1 gram joint.
What Supplies are Needed?
To roll the perfect joint, there are some necessary items one must first gather before beginning the process. For starters, picking the perfect flower and deciding on the amount to be smoked is the most important step. Usually, consumers can use a gram of cannabis to roll about three joints, so setting aside around one-third of a gram is enough to start rolling. Other supplies include: a grinder, rolling papers, a filter aka a crutch, and a rolling tray to keep the workspace nice and clean if preferred. Now let’s dive right in.
How to Roll?
Step 1: Grind up the Flower
A grinder breaks apart a dense nug of cannabis into smaller, finer pieces. This allows users to pack the cannabis more easily into the joint. It also allows for better airflow throughout the joint, making for a smoother smoke. Having finely ground up cannabis allows room for more cannabis and helps provide a consistent smoke throughout the session, according to the Cannabis Scientist. No grinder? No problem. Consumers can use their fingers to break the nugs up into smaller pieces.
Step 2: Making the crutch
A key difference between a blunt and a joint is the crutch piece. The crutch — or tip of the joint — acts as a filter, which helps prevent plant matter from coming through the end, reports Leafly. It also stabilizes the body of the joint, making it less flimsy. Crutches also keep the tip of the joint open. While dispensaries and smoke shops sell crutches, users can make their own.
To make the crutch, grab a thick piece of paper, like an index card or a business card. Rip a small rectangular piece off. Then, fold it back and forth like an accordion. Repeat this down the paper until there’s about an inch of paper left. Take the remaining inch of paper and wrap it around the folded paper until a cylinder shape is formed. Consumers can roll the cylinder in between their fingers for a few seconds to keep the crutch nice and tight.
Step 3: Rolling the joint
Now for the fun part. Take a sheet of rolling paper and place it on a flat surface. Place the crutch in the fold of the paper at one side, and bend the corresponding paper around it into a U shape. Fill the middle with ground cannabis and spread it into a cone shape. That means having a lesser amount of cannabis on one end (the one with the crutch) and gradually increasing it when moving up the paper.
Then, take the corner of the paper with the least amount of cannabis and crutch, and form a circle that wraps around the crutch. Continue this process until the body of the joint is formed.
Some particles of the flower may fall out while rolling, but those can be easily placed back into the joint before closing it off. Making sure the adhesive side of the paper faces up, licking or wetting the paper seals the joint shut completely. Once the joint is formed and sealed, it’s time to close off the masterpiece. But, before that’s done — it’s time to pack the joint.
Step 4: Packing it all in
Now that the joint is rolled and sealed, there should be one side with a crutch, and an open side. Stick a pen or something similar in the open end, and pack down the weed. One key area of the joint to pack tight is the area connecting to the crutch. This creates a more sturdy joint that burns more evenly.
Next, twist the paper located on the opposite side of the crutch so that it essentially looks like the end of a tootsie roll. Now light the joint and enjoy!
Some Tips to Keep in Mind
If the joint starts to burn unevenly after it is lit, which consumers call canoeing, this can be fixed by making little circles in the air rapidly to fix the burning end. According to Pot Guide, canoeing is caused by uneven airflow. Typically this tends to happen in a group setting due to the fact that not every person in the group is going to take the same exact hit off the joint.
Rolling a joint requires attention to detail and can take people time to perfect. Try practicing at home with herbs or oregano to perfect the rolling process for the real deal.