Cannabis First Timers: How to Roll a Joint

how to roll joint 101
By Andrew Ward Updated May 22nd

Fact-checked by Deb Tharp

Although other methods of consuming weed, such as using dab rigs and bongs, vaping, bath bombs, edibles and topicals are quickly gaining popularity, smoking joints is one of the OG methods of consuming weed. After all, all you need to roll a joint is a grinder, some rolling paper, filter tips, and weed. 

Joints are easy to roll and convenient to smoke and carry around, making them every cannabis enthusiast’s best friend. Whether heading to a cookout, hiking with your friends, or staying at home, a joint or two will always make the moment more memorable.

Read on to learn how to roll a joint like a pro. 

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What is a Joint?

A joint is a smokable product that contains cannabis. Although it’s possible to roll a joint using a machine, joints are typically rolled by hand using rolling papers made from hemp, rice, wood pulp, and other materials. 

Joints resemble cigarettes, and you may hear them referred to as ‘marijuana cigarettes.’ However, joints generally contain no tobacco – differentiating them from spliffs and blunts. Spliffs mix weed and tobacco in the smoking paper, while blunts refer to weed rolled in tobacco leaves.

The joint has numerous slang terms in the United States: 

  • bogie, 
  • J, 
  • L, 
  • cone, 
  • doobie, 
  • jawn, 
  • rolex, 
  • pinner,
  • dogwalker,
  • etc. 

Different states and even neighborhoods may have their own unique slang.

Types of Joints

types of joints

As you learn about cannabis culture, you’ll notice numerous types of joints. These include the traditional joint, tipped joint, pinner, spliff, cross joint, backroll, cone, and pre-rolls. Each of these is rolled in its own way.

The traditional joint resembles a cigarillo. It only contains marijuana and may be rolled with or without a filter tip. These joints are the easiest way of consuming cannabis – light one end and inhale through the other. 

Tipped joints are what they sound like: joints with filter tips. The most common tips come from cardboard sheets that you roll into a filter tip before rolling a joint. 

Pinner joints, on the other hand, are small, long, and thinly rolled. This name is a reference to how tiny sewing pins are. If your stash is running low, or don’t want to smoke too much weed, pinner joints are the way to go.

Spliffs contain both cannabis and tobacco. These joints are most popular in Europe. Many people love combining tobacco with their weed because of the euphoric head high this mixture elicits.

If you’re familiar with Seth Rogen and Wiz Khalifa, you’ve probably seen them roll cross-joints. A cross joint consists of two joints fitted together, forming the shape of a cross. This results in three ends that can be lit.

A backroll joint is rolled backward so the glue touches the paper on the first roll. It is then sealed, and the remaining paper is burned off before lighting the joint so there's only one layer of paper around the weed. People use this method to ensure they're smoking the least amount of paper possible.

Cone joints look like baseball bats. They’re smaller at the filter and widen up towards the other end. This shape holds more weed and enhances airflow as you smoke. This is the style most consumers will find when buying pre-rolls at a dispensary.

How to Roll a Joint

How to Roll a Joint

Before you start rolling, gather the following materials:

  • Flower
  • Grinder (Optional)
  • Rolling paper
  • Rolling tray (Optional)
  • Filter tips/ crutch (Optional)
  • Chopstick, pen, or similarly shaped item
  • Torch or lighter

Now you’re ready to roll your own joint.

how to roll a joint - grind the cannabis

1. Grind the cannabis

Using a grinder, break down the buds into smaller bits. Grinding your weed ensures it’s all the same size, making it burn evenly and consistently. If your weed is sticky, a grinder will free your hands from all the sticky goo.

You can also use scissors to cut your weed into small bits or break it down using your hands if you don’t have a grinder.

how to roll a joint - make the filter tip

2.  Make the filter tip (optional) 

This isn’t required but many consumers recommend it for a better smoking experience. Filters allow you to smoke the entire joint without burning your fingertips. They also prevent bits and pieces of weed from falling out of the joint into your mouth as you inhale.

You can use any thin, stiff piece of paper to make a filter. All you need to do is make a few accordion-folds to create a “W.” Then, wrap the straight end of the paper around the W.

how to roll a joint - pack the paper with cannabis

3. Pack the paper with cannabis

Place the filter at one end of your rolling paper and pack the paper with ground weed. 

The amount of weed you use in your joint depends on how much you want to smoke, and the size of your rolling papers. Many consumers use half a gram to a gram of weed when rolling their own joints.

how to roll a joint - roll the paper

4. Roll your joint

Once the paper is loaded with enough cannabis, your joint is ready to roll. Using the crutch/filter for more stability, catch the unglued edge under the packed cannabis and roll. 

You can use your fingertips to pinch the paper and roll the joint into its final shape.

how to roll a joint - lick and seal the joint

5. Lick the joint to seal it

As you tuck the unglued end of the paper under the cannabis and continue to roll, the glued end remains. Lick the glued edge and seal your joint using just a little saliva. 

how to roll a joint - pack the joint

6. Pack the joint

Often, when we roll a joint, the open end isn’t consistently packed with weed. Since that’s the end we’re supposed to light, we’ll need to pack it up to ensure the joint burns evenly. 

Add any leftover weed on your tray to the open end, and use a pen or other tamping tool to pack it down. Be careful not to pack the cannabis too tightly or your joint may be harder to smoke. If you plan on carrying your rolled joint with you, twist the tip to close the open end to avoid losing any pot.

how to roll a joint - smoke up

7. Smoking your joint

Now that your joint is all rolled up, use a lighter to ignite it, inhale, and enjoy.

How to Roll a Cross Joint

How to Roll a Cross Joint

Cross joints resemble airplanes. Every smoker has likely once courted the idea of rolling a cross joint, though few can claim success.

Here is how to roll a cross joint:

  1. First, roll one joint using king-size papers. Then roll a thinner joint using standard-size rolling paper.
  1. Using a pin, needle, or wire, poke a hole through the king-size joint about three-quarters away from the filter tip. Don’t rush the process. Slowly attempt to make the hole bigger using your tool. The hole should be big enough for the thin joint to fit through. 
  1. Poke a hole through the middle of the small joint. This hole will line up with the center of the fat joint perfectly, enhancing the air supply in your cross joint. If you forget this step, you won’t be able to draw on your cross joint.
  1. Push the thin joint through the hole in the king-size joint. Do this slowly to ensure the larger joint doesn’t break apart. Remember, the hole in the thin joint has to align with the hole in the large joint.
  1. Using scissors, cut the glued edges of a few empty rolling papers. Use these glue strips to reinforce your cross joint and seal all the air pockets. This will make the joint airtight and ensure that air only flows through the hole and burns evenly.

How to Roll a Spliff

A spliff is a marijuana cigarette that contains both tobacco and cannabis. If you want to roll a spliff, follow the procedure for rolling a joint, but include tobacco with your cannabis. 

The ratio of weed and tobacco will depend on your taste and preference. That said, most users prefer using at least 70% weed and 30% tobacco. 

It’s important to note that adding tobacco increases your risk of contracting diseases such as lung and throat cancers.

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How much weed should I use for a joint?

The amount of weed you use to roll a joint will depend on personal preference, how much weed you have, and the size of your rolling papers. Most users roll joints with a half- to full gram.

If your preroll ends up being too large to finish in one sitting, you can save the joint for later.

Do I need filters to roll a joint?

No, but they're helpful. Filters keep you from burning your fingers when smoking. They also prevent bits of weed from going into your mouth as you smoke. 

What if I don’t have a grinder?

There are several methods you can use to break apart your cannabis without a grinder. You can use scissors or your hands to break down your weed before you roll it.

It’s my first time smoking a joint. What else do I need to know?

Confirm the potency of your weed before smoking, including its THC potency and other cannabinoid content. If this is your first time, try not to smoke too much.

What do I do with the leftover flower?

The marijuana that’s left over can help make edibles, gummies, teas, THC-infused meals, or additional joints. The only limit is your imagination. You can also store the weed for later use.

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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