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What’s the difference between joints, blunts, and spliffs?

marijuana joints blunts and spliffs
A joint, a spliff, and a blunt. (Leafly)

Joints are arguably the most popular way to consume weed. It’s easy to put one in your pocket, spark it up wherever, and pass it around with friends. Rolling is a skill that any seasoned stoner has learned over time, and one that may be elusive for novices.

There are other ways to roll up weed too, namely, into blunts and spliffs. These three different rolls all have nuances, involving different amounts of cannabis and tobacco.

Defining joints, blunts, and spliffs

Joints, blunts, and spliffs can be defined by their content, or cannabis to tobacco ratio. The rolling material used also defines them, which can include paper, tobacco, hemp, and more.

What is a joint?

Perhaps the most iconic way to consume cannabis, joints are small and portable, and you can take them anywhere and spark up.

They consist of cannabis rolled up inside a thin rolling paper that is usually white, but novelty papers come in all colors and even different flavors. Papers can be big, small, or medium—common sizes are singles, 1 ¼, 1 ½, wide, and king, and they can come in thin, ultra thin, wide, and other sizes and types. 

Rolling papers can also be infused with flavors such as grape, cherry, chocolate, and more, and can be made out of hemp, rice, paper, flax, and more. There are all kinds of variants. 

Joints often have a crutch, or filter, at the drawing end, which adds stability to the roll and allows you to smoke a joint to the end without burning your fingertips.

What is a blunt?

A blunt is a roll of cannabis inside a cigar or blunt wrap. These wraps are made out of tobacco, which adds a buzz and energy to your cannabis high. Typically, they’re bigger than joints and last a lot longer.

Blunt wraps are often sold at corner or grocery stores and come in 1- and 2-packs. They are often flavored. You can also cut open a cigar, empty it, and use the wrapping for a blunt. Cigarillos, such as a Swisher Sweets, Phillies, or Dark & Milds, are also great for blunts.

What is a spliff?

A spliff is made with a rolling paper like a joint, but it has tobacco and cannabis mixed together in it. Spliffs usually have more tobacco than a blunt, so they will have even more of the energetic, buzzy effects of tobacco. Spliffs usually have crutches like joints.

Spliff smokers can adjust the ratio of cannabis and tobacco to their preference—lots of cannabis with a little tobacco, lots of tobacco with a little cannabis, or somewhere in between.

Differences in rolling papers

Paper choice is important to your smoking experience, as the size will determine the amount of weed you need. Different thicknesses will also affect your smoking experience—thick papers tend to burn slower than thinner papers, and you may also taste the paper more.

Papers and blunt wraps can be flavored, but they aren’t for everyone. Some consumers think flavored papers meddle with the complex tastes and aromas of cannabis, while others are loyal to specific brands because of their distinct flavor additives, something more common among blunt aficionados.

Consumers also choose papers based on rolling ease and functionality. The best papers don’t tear, seal easily, handle well between the fingers, and burn uniformly. Nobody likes a joint that runs, or burns lengthwise along one side. Some even have their corners cut off for easier rolling.

Global preferences for joints, blunts, or spliffs

The popularity of joints, blunts, and spliffs varies regionally, reflecting cannabis culture in different areas across the globe. Spliffs are the dominant form in Europe, where joints are commonly seen as wasteful.

Smokers in the US are more inclined to roll joints than spliffs, possibly due to adverse health effects of tobacco. Blunts are typically only seen in the US and not the rest of the world.


Kayla Williams and Pat Goggins contributed to this article.