What is a Pre Roll? Everything You Need to Know

Preroll Joints
By Andrew Ward Updated May 22nd

Fact-checked by Alexandra Arnett, MS

Rolling your own joints can be satisfying and cost-effective. It’s also a skill that is time-consuming, requires the appropriate tools (like a grinder, rolling papers, cardboard or a pen to roll it up nicely), and can take months to master. 

Whether you’re new to cannabis, short on supplies, or just don’t want to bother with learning the art of rolling, prerolled joints offer consumers of all skill levels a simple and effective solution.

Keep scrolling to learn the ins and outs of preroll joints, from the different types you can purchase at the dispensary to the factors you should consider to get the best preroll for your needs. 

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What is a Preroll Joint?

A pre-rolled joint, or preroll, is what the name suggests – a joint that’s already been prepared for you. Nicely wrapped and available in a variety of sizes and strains, preroll joints are ideal for anyone looking to enjoy a quick smoke on the go without any of the leg work to set up.

Pre-rolled cones are a bit different and offer a solution for consumers who want the ease of a preroll without losing the ability to choose their favorite strain. The work is done by sealing the rolling paper into a cone shape, allowing you to fill the joint with your choice of flower, then simply twist the top before smoking. 

Prerolls have several nicknames, earning their monikers depending on the size, width, wrap texture, filling, and more. From the classic joint slang to terms specifically for prerolls, these are some of the names you might come across on preroll packaging:

  • Blunts
  • Spliff
  • Cannabis Cigarette
  • Cannagars
  • Caviar cones
  • Dogwalker
  • Dipped and Rolled
  • J
  • Joints
  • Marijuana Cigarette
  • Mini-J
  • Moon Sticks
  • Oil-Dipped
  • Pinner

Three of the most commonly known “prerolls” are joints, blunts, and spliffs. But let’s keep things simple and focus on traditional cannabis-only prerolls.

Pros of Using a Preroll

preroll joint pros and cons

Preroll joints have plenty of positives to them, including:

  • Convenience: Rather than roll one yourself, preroll joints come ready-made for you to enjoy the moment you're ready to light up.
  • Instant: Not only can you light up and enjoy immediately, but smoking also allows you to begin feeling the effects within moments of your first puff.
  • Minimal materials needed: You just need a lighter or some sort of flame to ‘spark’ it. .
  • More compact to bring around: Prerolls come in a variety of sizes: minis, dogwalkers, pinners, half grams, full grams, or almost any size you prefer. They are also easy to store and transport, often coming in their own portable tin so your prerolls are as mobile as you are.
  • Easy to share: Community has always been a core principle of the cannabis community. Prerolls are an easy-to-share consumption method whether you pass around a single or buy a package so everyone gets their own. 

Cons of Using a Preroll

As easy as prerolls are to enjoy, they aren’t right for everyone. Here are a few potential drawbacks to consider:

  • Cost: The cost of labor and materials can make pre-rolls more expensive than loose buds sold in similar weights. You may also find that your favorite prerolls only come in packs of three, six or more. 
  • No control over quality: Prerolls have developed a reputation for being made with lesser quality cannabis, often referred to as ‘trim’ or ‘shake’. While this has changed in recent years and high-quality prerolls are now widely available, consumers shouldn’t assume every preroll on the dispensary shelf is made with high-quality flower. 
  • Less choice of strain and quality: The selection of strains you can find in prerolls can sometimes be limited. 

Types of Preroll Fill

preroll fill types

A prerolled joint can be made using cannabis of varying quality.

  • Trim: Trim is the clippings of a cannabis plant. It contains sugar leaves, tiny cannabis buds, and plant trichomes. 
  • Shake: The tiny pieces of cannabis flower that fall off larger buds.
  • Nug: Also known as a bud or whole flower, this is the classic piece of harvested cannabis often available in grams, eighths, and ounces. 

Some prerolls include additional potency kicks like kief or extracted cannabis oil. These prerolls are often referred to as caviar cones or “infused” joints. 

How to Choose a Preroll

how to choose preroll joint

As the cannabis saying goes, “Quality in, quality out.” Be on the lookout for the following characteristics before choosing your next pre-rolled joint:

  • Flower Quality: Different brands use different quality flower (indoor, sun-grown, greenhouse, etc), which will affect the flavor and quality of your preroll. which you choose it’s a personal preference.
  • Fill type: While many prerolls are packed with cannabis flower, some brands offer options mixed with tobacco or cannabis extracts. Newcomers and those with lighter tolerances may want to avoid infused options until becoming more familiar with cannabis. Be sure to check the labels and ask your budtender before making any purchases.
  • Size: Pre-rolled joints come in various sizes, ranging from grams and half grams to smaller options like dog walkers and pinners. The latter options often come shorter and or more narrow than the classic joint – making them more suitable for solo or short smoking sessions.
  • Rolling Paper Material: Pre-rolled joints have been wrapped with everything from gold leaves to rose petals to hemp leaves to cigar wraps. These wraps will affect the smoking experience, flavor, and potentially the cost of your purchase.
Prerolled Joint

How much do prerolls cost?

Depending on the marketplace and the type of preroll, you can typically find singles or lower-quality options for around $5 to $10 apiece. More connoisseur selections, larger packages, and infused prerolls can cost as much as $50 or more.

Most shops have a range of options for your needs.

How long do prerolls last?

If you keep your prerolls in their airtight containers and a cool, dark place, then your prerolls should last anywhere from 6 to 12 months

How long it takes to smoke a preroll depends on the size, filling, rolling paper used, and your own rate of consumption.

How do I know if a preroll has gone bad?

In some legal states, ‘best buy’ dates are listed on the packages. You can also examine a preroll joint yourself: if it lacks aroma or flavor, or if its colors have started to change, it might be time to buy a new pack. You may also notice a change of effects. When past due, the cannabinoid THC converts into CBN, which may induce more sedative effects. 

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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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