The joint is the classic—and most common—way to smoke weed. It’s simple and beautiful, and whether you’re going to smoke weed for the first time, or you’ve been burning devil’s lettuce since people unironically called it devil’s lettuce, knowing how to roll a perfect joint is an art form worthy of admiration. Save the party, impress your Tinder date, make Thanksgiving with your family more bearable—no matter why you need one, knowing how to roll one like a pro isn’t just important, it’s a critical life skill.
If you’ve never done this before, you may have (mistakenly) come under the impression that the stuff you roll the marijuana in is inconsequential to the overall finished product of a joint. Of course, every part of the joint is crucial to its success. Wood pulp is far and away the most common type of rolling paper, and these were the types your mammy and pappy grew up with in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. Today, rolling papers are also commonly made from rice paper and even hemp paper if you can find it, each material offering their own strengths and weaknesses.
Our favorite guide to rolling papers can be found at GreenCamp, where you’ll find a helpful and intuitive infographic explaining the differences between each type. And if you’re looking for specific paper recommendations, our friends over at Heavy put together an excellent guide to selecting the brand that’s right for you.
Selecting the Right Bud
We could write an entire guide just on picking the right bud for your mood, but we don’t have that kind of space here. Besides, maybe we will.
The truth is, there are hundreds—literal hundreds—of strains of marijuana, and aside from a unique and usually silly name, each comes with its own specific profile—flavor, effect, type of treatment, area of affectation, etc.
The kind of weed you pick to fill your joint has nothing to do with how you’re smoking it. For instance, there aren’t really different types of weed that are better to smoke out of a joint compared to, say, a bong or a vaporizer. Strain selection really has more to do with the kind of experience you’re looking to have. This guide gives an excellent look into the two main types of marijuana—indica and sativa—and which strains are specifically relevant to things like pain management, anxiety, sleep, etc. This guide from Herb is exceptionally thorough and easy to understand.
There are even apps! Leafly is considered by many to be the Yelp for medical marijuana. It’s an encyclopedic database of hundreds of strains of marijuana, complete with user reviews, symptoms, etc. You can even plug in specific symptoms you’re having and Leafly will make recommendations to suit them.
How to Grind
Another thing people tend to criminally under-consider is grinding. The consistency of your weed greatly determines how likely you are to get a smooth smoke out of it. Coarsely ground or oddly packed bud can lead to things like canoeing (AKA uneven burning of a joint), which can be a huge bummer for any joint. Weed that’s ground too finely can make it difficult to smoke.
Investing in an solid grinder is the best way to get a consistent joint every time, but if you’re making do, there are some pretty useful hacks to consider, too. You can also give it the old hand-grind, or get yourself a handy-dandy portable grinder card grinder card.
Now that you know the finer details, let’s get down to the nitty gritty: How to roll one of these beautiful bastards.
GQ put out this simple guide that we like a lot, because it’s brief and simplified, and includes some illustrations. The only thing is it may not be detailed enough for all the legitimate amateurs in the room.
This explainer from Leafly is also excellent, and includes .gifs to help illustrate every point of the process.
For the complete novices, this video from Merry Jane features one of our generation’s most trustworthy weed aficionados, Seth Rogen, as he explains how he likes to roll a basic joint. It’s the perfect thing for anyone who wants to know the ins and outs of joint rolling from front to back. Your training could probably end there, but if you master that and want to move on to something more technical, then here’s another video of Rogen rolling one of his famous cross joints.
And if you start feeling ballsy and want to really kick it up a notch, you can check out how this artist is taking the joint game to a whole new level. Apparently as weed goes mainstream, people can get creative with how they roll.
The Rolling Machine
Finally, when all else fails and your fingers just can’t do it right, there are a multitude of joint-rolling machines that, novelty aside, are pretty cool.
Auto rollers come in all different shapes and sizes, and they’re great because if you don’t know how they work, it’s kind of like a little magic trick every time.
Our favorite rolling machine by far, however, are the famous RAW Two-Way Rollers. They’re incredibly easy to use, are super affordable, and can accommodate just about any size rolling paper you can throw at ‘em. They’re the perfect little joint rollers.
Of course, those are only a couple types. This roundup from InternationalHighLife.com offers a pretty good introduction to all types of joint rollers, from the standard two-ways like the one above, to full-on electric operated crazy things.