How to Roll a Joint

How to Roll a Joint - Image by Gabriel Cote from Unsplash

Written By Alyssa Sexton

I’ve been smoking joints for many years, but I still remember how intimidating it was to think about rolling for the first time. For a while, I got away with relying on others to do it for me, though there were at least a handful of times where I was with a group of people, hoping I wouldn’t be asked to roll up… because I didn’t know how!

Now, I volunteer.

The better the roll, the better the smoke; and I’ve become very good at it with practice.

Over the years, I’ve adopted my favorite techniques from a number of people and places; including, but not limited to, friends, ex-boyfriends, Wiz Khalifia’s and Leafly’s video tutorials, and most notably a self-proclaimed hippie who was probably well into his 70’s the day I met him randomly on a beach. (To this day, that man gave me the best rolling advice I’ve ever received.)

I’m going to share with you how I like to roll my joints now, though my techniques have changed over the years, and your likely will too. An important thing to know is that even after you’ve read what I’m about to share, you probably won’t roll a perfect joint on your first try. Just keep practicing, and I assure you, you’ll get it. Everyone has their own way of doing it. As long as it smokes, there’s no reason to stress perfection.

THE FLOWER

How you prepare your flower can make or break your joint. For the most even burn, I like a finely ground flower, which is most easily achieved with a grinder, though it’s not necessary. Some people will disagree with this, preferring a heavier break like you would get breaking it up quickly with your fingers. It does take a little longer upfront to grind your bud, however I recommend it. (And don’t forget to pull out any stems, as they can puncture your paper.) I also advise you roll in a way that corresponds with how your flower is broken up, allowing for the right amount of airflow. I’ll touch on that more soon.

TIP OR NO TIP

I like to use a tip when I roll, also known as a filter. There are companies that sell packs of papers and tips together, as well as packs of tips separately. You can also make your own tips out of something like a flashcard, or a business card. Just be careful about any film that may be on whatever you use. You don’t want to inhale any harmful chemicals. 

Pull a tip from your pack, or rip off a sturdy piece of paper in the shape of a rectangle about the size of your smallest finger. Roll it up into a tight spiral, or fold it into tiny zigzags. Again, this will depend on personal preference. I like to start with a few folds and then finish with a spiral.

THE PAPER

This is where I share the secret of the old hippie…

Before he rolls, he crumples his paper.

I know… it sounds crazy, but it works. Now, every time I roll, I crumple my paper first. I like this because it makes the paper more pliable. It doesn’t fight the roll after its been crumpled. Try it! See if it works for you.

Whether you crumple it, or not, you’ll want to either uncrumple it and gently smooth it out, or pull it straight from the pack, and orient it so that it is laying flat with the gum strip facing up, and opposite you.

THE ROLL

Now it’s time for the fun part. Load it up! There is no perfect amount of flower. You want enough that it’s going to hold its shape, but not too much that you’re struggling to secure it closed.

I like starting from the right side, but either side works. I set my pre-rolled tip so that it’s hanging off the right side of the paper just slightly. You will figure out whether you prefer to place your tip before or after you lick and stick. When I first learned, I used to roll, lick and stick, and then put the tip in. 

Place your ground up flower in a line along the center, the roll the paper up and over around the tip using your right hand to hold the tip steady and tightly secure, and your left thumb to tuck the flower into the roll, leaving the gum strip exposed.

Once you have a good shape, lick the exposed gum and use your upper lip to press the gum edge into place. I twist the end up to hold the flower in, and then push the tip into place so that it’s no longer sticking out beyond the edge of the paper. 

If you decide to place your tip after you roll, or are not using a tip at all, the process is nearly the same. Just try to roll tighter at whichever end you will use as a mouthpiece if you aren’t going to use a tip. 

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Earlier I mentioned how the consistency of the flower may change how you want to roll your joint. This is because the way the flower is packed will change the air flow. Typically, a fine flower allows for a tighter roll and less airflow. Conversely, bigger pieces allow for a greater airflow and usually results in a heavier hit. It can also cause a quicker burn due to increased airflow. 

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Pay attention to the different variables as you practice and experiment with rolling. At the end of the day, the objective is to smoke your joint… so don’t take it too seriously. Try for yourself, and you’ll learn what you like. 

Have fun, be safe, and ENJOY!

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