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how to roll a joint and tips
Cannabis 101

How to roll a joint

Carolyn BerkAugust 7, 2021

They say practice makes perfect, and nowhere is that more true than the art of joint-rolling. 

While it's easy to feel intimidated by the many next-level joints online and the growing culture of joint sculpting, in actuality all you need is to master one basic type of joint. Although your local dispensary may offer a selection of pre-rolled joints, it's always more satisfying to proudly puff on one you rolled yourself. 

Read on for everything you need to master the most essential styles of joints. Take the time to practice, and pretty soon you'll be producing perfectly-rolled joints! 

What you need to roll a joint

In addition to about ½ gram of flower, there are a few supplies you should have on-hand before you embark on your joint-rolling journey: 

There are endless choices of rolling paper, and it can seem daunting to pick the right size, material, and type of rolling paper. For now, all you really need is the classic type of paper. Your dispensary should carry common brands like ZigZag or RAW, however you can usually find rolling papers at any convenience store. 

If you're looking for an easy DIY joint, look into paper cones. These just require weed and twist at the top, then you're all set to smoke! 

It may seem obvious that you'll need something to light your joint once it's finished. Remember to have a lighter or matches on hand to avoid the tragedy of having no way to enjoy your juicy, freshly-rolled joint. 

While you can technically make a joint without using a grinder, crumbling up weed with your fingers usually results in sticky hands and uneven clumps in your joint. A joint with unevenly distributed flower is at risk of canoeing. This is when the paper burns down at different lengths, often resulting in a joint that resembles a canoe. 

There are also a few products that are nice to have if you plan on regularly rolling joints:

No matter how carefully you roll a joint, it's almost always guaranteed that you'll scatter some crumbs of flower. If picking these pieces off your coffee table or out of your carpet sounds unappealing, you should definitely invest in a rolling tray to save yourself some cleaning. 

Using a roller to help make your joints isn't cheating! In fact, rollers are great to have if you want some backup as you learn.

Tips can actually refer to different types of product you may find at the end of a joint. It can refer to the rolled paper on the mouth end of the joint that helps filter the smoke, sometimes called a crutch or filter. Oftentimes these tips come with packs of rolling paper, but you can also find them for purchase on their own. When the instructions below refer to tips, this is the type they mean. 

But a tip can also be a plastic or glass mouthpiece that you add to the finished joint and inhale through. These tips help keep the joint together as it burns down and provide a smoother, more filtered smoke. 

Jump into joint rolling

There are numerous styles of joints out there, but these are just some of the basics. Try them all to find out which style is best for you.

How to roll a classic joint:

  1. Grab a bud or two of your choice of flower and add it to a grinder. Grind your cannabis until the bud is completely broken down. This is essential!

  2. Once your flower is ready, it's time to prepare your filter. The filter will give you a place to inhale the joint without burning your fingers, while ensuring the flower will not fall out of the joint once assembled. 

    To create your filter, take one of your tips and create a few accordion folds until about half-way. Then roll the filter into a tube.

  3. Hold the rolling paper in your non-dominant hand like a taco with the glue side facing away from you. Place your filter on one end, then fill with your grounded cannabis. Do not overstuff.

  4. Pinch the paper with both of your thumbs and middle fingers while rolling it back and forth. You want to pack the cannabis into a cone shape. This step may take practice and will make or break your joint so don't rush the process!

  5. It's time to roll your joint! Lick or dab a bit of water to the glue, then starting with the filter end, fold the paper into a cone shape. Continue folding until the entire joint is sealed and you are left with an opening at the top.

  6. Finally, using a pen/pencil or a small stick, pack down the cannabis. We suggest closing the joint with a twist to achieve that classic joint look.

  7. Light up and enjoy!

How to roll a Saturday Night Special joint:

  1. With the gum side facing up, stick two papers together short side to short side, overlapping enough so they can securely stick together. The gum strips should form one straight line. 
  2. Flip the paper over and add a third paper at the center so it covers the line where the two strips overlap. This strengthens the joint and ensures it can hold more weed.
  3. Continue to roll the joint the same way you would roll a classic joint with the previous instructions. 

How to roll a backroll joint (AKA The Flaming Backflip, Inside Out joint) 

  1. Place the tip on one of the short ends of the rolling paper with the gum side facing downward. For this joint, you want the gum to be on the side that is closest to you (instead of furthest away, like in a classic style joint). 
  2. Add in ground weed as usual, leaving some space at one end where you'll then place the tip. 
  3. Shape and roll the joint as you would normally until the joint is ready to be tucked. 
  4. Before tucking, make sure the paper is tight and free of any slack. Once that's set, roll until the paper overlaps with the outward-facing gum side. Keep rolling even after that initial tuck, since overlapping and gently pressing will help it seal. 
  5. Lick the strip of gum through the rolling paper and apply pressure to completely seal it up.
  6. There are two ways to remove the extra paper that should be hanging off your joint: 

One way is to gently and carefully tear away the excess paper, starting with the tip. It helps to keep one hand on the gum strip so you don't rip too much of the paper. If you're having trouble with tearing, try licking the gum line again. 

The second, flashier option involves burning off the excess paper. If you choose this option, it's crucial you give the gum line another lick to create a barrier to the fire. Take a lighter to the extra paper on the tip-end of the joint, and watch as the flame quickly eats up the remaining paper. Then you're set to light it as usual and enjoy! 

Take rolling to the next level

Looking to venture beyond the joint? Learn how to roll a blunt and discover first hand how it's impossible to not feel like a total badass when smoking one!

Carolyn Berk Lantern Author 
Carolyn Berk
Carolyn Berk got her start working in both radio and TV before applying her journalism skills to the cannabis industry. She is currently a content marketer and an active member of the New England cannabis community.