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How To Roll A Joint In 5 Steps

Here's one more life skill you can add to your resume.

It seems like a weedophile right of passage to roll a crisp, clean joint, like something you learn to perfect over the course of a listless summer or a lazy week at your girlfriend’s parents’ beach house. Sure, you could exclusively buy packs of high-quality pre-rolls or stick to smoking flower out of a trusty old pipe, but where’s the fun in that? Like most things weed-related, there’s a ritual aspect to rolling joints by hand that can’t be replaced. Bragging rights don’t hurt either.

Before You Begin

You’re going to need a few materials to get started. Grab some top-rated flower (or, let’s be real, some mid-range flower if you’re nervous about botching your first attempt), a grinder, rolling papers, a booklet of filter tips, and a lighter or matchbook.

A little bit about these items: Don’t feel obligated to drop a ton of cash on a fancy grinder. If you’re new to joint-rolling, a basic model will work just fine. You can always decide later if you want to step your game up. Similarly, you don’t necessarily need to buy filter tips, but they sure are easier to roll than ripped-up pieces of business cards. As an added benefit, you’ll seem like a grown-up. Lastly, you’ll want to check out our unbiased guide to the best rolling papers for a handful of solid options you can find just about anywhere.

Step 1: Grind

Aside from choosing the right papers, getting your flower to the right consistency is the most important prep work you can do. You want your ground-up flower to be crumbly and free of stems so the final product burns evenly. To get there, drop a nug in your grinder and twist 10-12 times, or until you can twist without much resistance. 

Notice some powdery stuff hanging out in the bottom chamber of your grinder? That’s kief and it’s loaded with THC. You can either sprinkle it on top of a packed bowl or add it back to your joint for additional potency.

Step 2: Grab Your Filter

Again, you don’t absolutely need a filter, but it will keep bits of flower from slipping out and into your mouth as you smoke. The trick to preventing your filter from unfurling the moment you finish rolling it is to start with a few accordion folds. This also acts as another baby gate against stray bits of flower. Remember: How thin or thick you roll your filter will determine how thin or thick your joint will be, so plan accordingly.

Step 3: Fill That Paper

Place a fresh paper on a tray, plate, or magazine to catch excess flower and drop some of that freshly ground herb along the crease. Leave enough room to place your filter at one end.

Step 4: Pinch and Roll

The secret to getting a tight and cylindrical joint is to grab the flower-filled paper by both ends, pinch the tops of the paper with your thumbs and forefingers, and rub your fingers together in an up-and-down motion. By doing so, you effectively push the flower into a tight little log the same width as the filter. Once you’re there, you’re ready to tuck the unglued side of the paper around the filter and roll. Don’t expect to get it right the first time as this part takes patience and finesse. 

Pro tip: Focus on getting the paper tight around the filter first. From there, the rest of the joint will follow.

Step 5: Lick and Twist

All you have to do now is lick the glued inseam like an envelope to seal it. Tap the filter against a hard surface to help the flower settle in or pack the flower in with a pencil, chopstick, or similar pointy object. Twist the excess paper at the top of your joint to keep everything in place. You are now the proud owner of a hand-rolled joint. Smoke with satisfaction.

Troubleshooting Tips

— If your joint gets loose halfway through rolling it, back up and start again with a tighter pinch around the filter.

— If your joint burns unevenly, your flower may be a little too chunky. Grind the flower a little more next time.

— If you need to keep lighting it to get any smoke, the flower is too finely ground and preventing air from flowing through. Ease up with the grinder next time. 

If all else fails, check out our favorite pre-roll brands. We won’t tell anyone. 


Photos by Anthony Tripoli.


About the Author

Kate is Proper's Editorial Director. As a mutt mom, sci-fi buff, and soft athlete, she likes low-dose products that have an intoxicating edge with a side of relief. Don't expect her to try anything without a balanced ratio of THC to CBD.

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