The joint is one of the most iconic ways to consume cannabis, and it’s a great way to enjoy the flavor of flower. Every cannabis smoker should know how to roll a joint.
There are countless opinions on the different ways of rolling one up, but whatever you do, make sure your creation burns smoothly and evenly.
How much weed is in a joint?
When starting out, we recommend using a 1/2 gram of weed and 1¼ size rolling papers. This is a good amount of weed for a couple people and starting off on the small side will make rolling the joint more manageable.
For reference, most pre-rolls sold in stores are a full gram, although some come in 2-packs of half-grams.
When you get good at rolling, you can move up to king-sized papers and full-gram joints and widen your smoking circle.
How to choose the right rolling paper
There are hundreds of types of rolling papers that come in different sizes, materials, and even flavors.
Single wides are slightly smaller than 1¼’s at 1 inch wide, and are often used as standard cigarette rolling papers. Common single wide papers are White Zig-Zags.
1½ papers are slightly wider than 1¼’s, allowing for fatter joints.
King size papers are also popular, which are typically wider and longer than all of the above. They’re great if you’re rolling for a big smoking circle.
You can also buy rolls or paper, which can be any of the above lengths and up to 16 feet in length—just tear off a piece for how ever long you want a joint to be.
You can find all of the above sizes in regular or slim (or thin) versions—slims are more delicate and easier to rip but have less of a paper taste.
Rolling papers have traditionally been made out of tree pulp, but there are a variety of different materials used to make them these days, including:
White papers are often bleached and some papers have additives like charcoal to make them burn more quickly, but not always. Brown papers are often natural and unbleached. Be sure to check the package to see what rolling papers are made of and if they have additives.
Novelty rolling materials include: gold leaf, rose petals, goji berries, cellulose, and more.
Rolling papers can also come in a variety of flavors. These have been treated or infused with flavors so they are not natural.
If you’re new to rolling joints, consider buying a cone. These are rolling papers that are pre-shaped into conical joints, with a crutch at the end.
Simply grind up some weed, pour it in the cone, and pack it down with a tamping rod that’s usually included, or a pen or chopstick.
How to roll a joint
Here’s our simple seven-step guide on the easiest way to roll a classic cone joint, even for beginners.
Start by gathering your rolling supplies:
- Cannabis strain of your choice
- Rolling papers
- Crutch (for the joint tip)
- Cannabis grinder
- Optional: A pen or other thin object to help pack the joint
Step 1: Grind the cannabis
Using a grinder, grind down your cannabis into shake. Grinding weed makes the filling of the joint more consistent, makes rolling easier, and ensures that the joint burns evenly on all sides. A grinder also keeps your hands from getting sticky and sticking to the rolling paper.
If your cannabis is dried well, it should break down easily. If you don’t have a grinder, you can break up herb using scissors or your hands.
Step 2: Create a crutch or filter
Make a crutch, also called a tip or filter. Start with a few “accordion” folds, then roll the crutch to the desired thickness of your joint.
You can make a crutch out of just about anything, but we recommend filter tips, which are thin yet stiff pieces of paper. Business cards, rolling paper packs, or other thin pieces of cardboard are solid go-tos as well.
A crutch isn’t necessary, but it adds stability to the joint and allows you to enjoy every bit of cannabis without burning your fingertips. It also helps keep shake from falling out of the end or into your mouth as you smoke.
Step 3: Fill the rolling paper with cannabis
Put the crutch at one end of the rolling paper and fill the paper with shake. Once the paper has the right amount—a half-gram to a full gram usually does the trick—you can begin to form and shape the joint with your fingers.
A quick note on papers: There are a lot of different types and flavors of rolling papers available. Many people prefer hemp papers because they tend to be thin but strong and burn evenly without affecting the flavor of your weed, but there are different papers for every smoker.
Step 4: Roll the joint
Once you’ve loaded and shaped your joint, it’s time to roll the paper. Pinch the paper between your fingertips and roll it back and forth to pack the cannabis into its final cone shape.
Step 5: Seal the joint
This step can make or break the quality of your joint. Tuck the unglued side of the paper into the roll, roll it up, and lick an edge of the glued side to tack down one end of the paper, using just a little bit of moisture.
Pro tip: Start with the crutch side because it can help guide the paper as it rolls around itself.
Once the paper is tacked down on one end, you can work your way down the rest of the seam by tucking and sealing the joint.
Step 6: Pack the joint
Finally, pack the open end of the joint to help ensure an even burn. A pen is great, but you can use just about anything thin.
Some good options if you’re on the go: the tip of your shoelace, the drawstring on your hoodie, or a small stick. If you’re not planning on sparking your joint right away, give the tip a twist to close it up.
Step 7: Enjoy!
Tips for rolling the perfect joint
Learning to roll a joint takes patience and practice. You might not roll the perfect cone your first time around, but keep at it and you’ll be a pro in no time. Here are some beginner tips to roll the perfect joint.
- Use a grinder. Weed is easier to roll when it’s the same consistency. Grinders are cheap and will also save time when breaking down weed.
- Remove sticks and stems. These will punch through your joint and complicate the rolling process.
- Be gentle; start with thick papers. Joint-rolling is a delicate art requiring a light touch. For beginners: stay away from thin or slim papers.
- Don’t over-roll. New joint-rollers have a tendency to roll and re-roll to try and tuck in the paper. Just a couple rolls between the thumbs and fingers should do; any more and the joint might be hard to draw when smoking.
- Tuck in one side first. After the weed is rolled, tuck in one corner of the paper first, usually the side with your dominant hand. Then slowly follow the seam and tuck in the rest of the paper.
- Lick delicately. The paper’s gum doesn’t need a lot of saliva to seal. Too much will make the paper wet.
- Pack it, and twist it. Use the end of a pen or chopstick to lightly tamp down the weed. Then give it a twist so the weed doesn’t fall out.
Different ways to roll a joint
There are countless ways to roll a joint. You can roll them big or small. Get creative! Some people have even transformed joint rolling into an art all on its own, rolling their cannabis into a unique mix of functional origami, such as Tony Greenhand.
Another trick is to use a dollar bill to help roll a joint. Simply fold a dollar bill in half and put your ground weed in it. Roll it back and forth, slip a rolling paper behind it, roll it up, and give it a lick. Easy peasy.
Other joint variants you can try rolling are a cross joint (two joints crossed in the middle, giving you three ends to light), a pinner (a thin joint), or an L joint or tulip, which have extra amounts of weed in the tip.
What to use when you’re out of rolling papers
Rolling papers are cheap and easy to find. You can pick them up at any gas station or corner store for less than $3 a pack. They might not be top-shelf quality, but if you’re in a pinch, papers from the corner store will do.
If you have a cigarette or cigar, you can empty out the tobacco and pack it full of weed instead. Keep in mind that the taste and effects of tobacco will mingle in with the weed, giving you more of a spliff or blunt.
If you’re out of papers, we recommend smoking weed a different way, such as through a pipe or bong. Here’s how to make an apple pipe if you don’t have a glass piece.
We do not recommend using other paper as a substitute for rolling papers. Some people may use toilet paper, gum wrappers, or bible pages as alternatives, but these materials are not meant for inhalation and may include chemicals or substances harmful to your lungs and body.
Will Hyde and Pat Goggins contributed to this article.
Read more of Leafly’s guide to smoking marijuana
- How to smoke weed
- What’s the difference between joints, blunts, and spliffs?
- What is a pre-roll?
- How to roll a joint
- How to roll a blunt
- How to roll a crutch for your joint or spliff
- What is a cannabis grinder?
- What is a glass weed pipe?
- How to pack and smoke a bowl of weed
- What is a one-hitter pipe?
- How to make an apple pipe
- What is a bong?
- What is a gravity bong and how do you make one?
- How to clean glass bongs and pipes
- What is kief and how can you use it?
- What are moon rocks and how do you smoke them?
- Sploofs 101: How to reduce smell when smoking cannabis
- Need a light? 4 alternatives to using a lighter
- What is hotboxing with cannabis and does it work?