Cannabis 101: How to Grind Weed Without a Grinder

grinding weed without grinder
By Anthony Pellegrino Updated March 8th

Fact-checked by Deb Tharp

Grinders are an essential tool of cannabis enthusiasts. Before you can pack a bowl or roll a joint, the nugs have to be ground up first. But what do you do if you don’t have a weed grinder at hand?

In this article, we provide several practical ways for how to grind weed without a grinder. 

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Why Do You Need to Grind Weed?

Breaking down the cannabis nugs is an essential step before you can smoke it. This makes the weed easier to roll into joints or pack into a pipe, bong, or vaporizer. Breaking it into smaller pieces also increases the surface area of the flower, which can help to improve the efficiency, and help ensure that whether you’re smoking a bowl or joint, the airflow is even.

Grinding marijuana refers to breaking the buds down into smaller, more uniform pieces, typically using a tool referred to as a grinder. 

A grinder is a small device that is designed for grinding cannabis. It often consists of two or three pieces that fit together, with teeth or ridges on the inside to break the buds into smaller pieces.

Ground cannabis can be collected and smoked from the compartment at the bottom of most grinders. Other grinder designs have another chamber beneath that to catch the kief (fittingly referred to as a kief-catcher).

Today, grinders are made from various materials, including metal, plastic, and wood, and come in dozens of sizes and styles to suit different needs and preferences.

How to Grind Weed Without a Grinder

There are many methods to grind cannabis without a grinder. The most common is by using your hands (though it can leave your fingers sticky and lead to lost bud). Other methods include using a coffee grinder or scissors.

While each method, more or less, can produce similar results, the most important thing is to choose a way that you feel comfortable and confident with. It is critical to handle tools and equipment with care to avoid accidents.

1. How to grind weed with a coffee grinder or blender

weed coffee grinder

Tools needed: Coffee grinder or blender

Step 1: Thoroughly wash and clean the coffee grinder or blender to remove any residue of coffee grounds or other debris. 

Step 2: Pack the nugs in loosely. Do not overstuff the machine so as not to damage it. When in doubt, it’s better to lessen the load than overload.

Step 3: Grind lightly until the flower is the consistency of a light fluffy pile perfect for rolling or packing. Be careful not to over-grind the nugs into a dust consistency. 

Step 4: Thoroughly clean the coffee grinder or blender after use to wash away any weed remnants.

2. How to grind weed by hand

How to grind weed by hand

Tools needed: Your hands

Step 1: Break the cannabis buds into smaller pieces using your index fingers and thumbs. You can do this by lightly pulling and twisting the buds apart.

Step 2: Once you have broken the buds into smaller pieces, you can use your fingers to continue to break them down into finer pieces if necessary.

Step 3: When you’re satisfied with your ground cannabis, use it as desired.

Step 4: Once you have finished grinding the cannabis by hand, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly to remove any residue.

3. How to grind weed with scissors or a knife

grind weed with scissors

Tools needed: Scissors or a knife, a stable surface

Step 1: Gather your scissors or knife and a stable surface to work on. If using a knife, be sure to choose one with a sharp blade that is suitable for cutting through cannabis buds.

Step 2: Before you begin, break the cannabis buds into smaller pieces using your fingers. 

Step 3: Place the smaller pieces of cannabis onto the stable surface and use the scissors or knife to carefully chop them into even smaller pieces. Be sure to use caution when handling the scissors or knife to avoid accidents. 

Step 4: Continue chopping the cannabis until you are satisfied. If you find the pieces are too large to chop easily, you may need to break them down further using your fingers.

Step 5: Wash the scissors or knife to remove any residue. 

4. How to grind weed with a coin and a pill bottle

weed grinding with bottle

Tools needed: A coin and a pill bottle

Step 1: Gather a coin and an empty pill bottle. The pill bottle should be small enough to fit comfortably in your hand but large enough to hold a good amount of cannabis.

Step 2: Break the cannabis buds into smaller pieces using your fingers.

Step 3: Place the smaller pieces of cannabis and the coin into the pill bottle.

Step 4: Close the pill bottle and grip it in one hand. Shake it vigorously for 2 - 3 minutes.

Step 5: After shaking, open the pill bottle and empty your ground cannabis.

5. How to grind weed with a mortar and pestle

weed grinding mortar pestle

Tools needed: A mortar and pestle

Step 1: Gather a mortar and pestle and some cannabis buds.

Step 2: Break the cannabis buds into smaller pieces using your fingers.

Step 3: Place the smaller pieces of cannabis into the mortar.

Step 4: Hold the mortar with one hand and use the pestle to grind the cannabis against the sides and bottom of the mortar. Grind the cannabis in a circular motion until it is ground to your liking.

6. How to grind weed with a cheese grater

weed grinding with cheese grater

Tools needed: A cheese grater

Step 1: Gather a cheese grater and some cannabis buds.

Step 2: Break the cannabis buds into smaller pieces using your fingers.

Step 3: Hold the cheese grater with one hand and use the other hand to rub the nugs against the grater’s surface. Rub the cannabis back and forth over the grater until it reaches the desired consistency. Use caution to avoid rubbing your fingers against the cheese grater’s sharp edges.

Step 4: When you have finished grinding the cannabis, be sure to wash the cheese grater thoroughly to remove any residue. 

A Note About Safety

When grinding cannabis without a grinder, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Some methods, such as using a kitchen knife or scissors, involve the use of sharp objects, which can be dangerous if not used properly.

If you’re not comfortable using sharp tools, it’s prudent to avoid these methods. Using your fingers is a perfectly acceptable way to break down your buds. If you choose to use sharp tools, handle them with care and follow proper safety guidelines.

Some consumers grind all of the cannabis they think they’ll need before smoking so they won’t need to use sharp objects to grind more while under the influence. But without proper storage, pre-grinding cannabis can reduce freshness. 

Do You Really Need a Weed Grinder?

While it is possible to grind cannabis without an actual weed grinder, there are many benefits to using one. 

  • For starters, grinders are extremely convenient, as they allow you to easily and quickly break down marijuana flower into a more manageable form.
  • They are also safer than using other tools, as they are designed for grinding cannabis and don’t involve the use of sharp objects.
  • Not only that, grinders are often more discreet than other methods. They can be easily carried in your pocket or bag and make little noise when grinding. They are also easily portable, making them ideal for smokers on the go.
  • Another advantage of using a weed grinder is that it helps to minimize mess and the potential loss of cannabis. 

Many grinders include a kief catcher, which allows you to collect and save the trichomes that fall off the buds during the grinding process. These trichomes, or kief, when collected in larger amounts, can be used to add to joints, bowls, or even homemade edibles.

Ultimately, while it’s possible to grind cannabis without a dedicated grinder, they’re highly recommended, especially if you’re a regular smoker.

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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