How to roll a Joint?

Smoking is still the number one method of cannabis consumption worldwide. The most common way to smoke cannabis is by rolling it into a joint.

Many new and first time users are unsure about how to properly make and consume a cannabis joint. So how exactly do you roll one? What items do you need to obtain before starting? Are there alternative ways to consume cannabis? We will answer all of these questions and more below, but first, let’s take a look at what a joint is and why it is such a popular method for consuming cannabis.

What Is a Joint?

In essence, a joint is pretty simple; it is just a rolled cannabis cigarette. These can be made by hand or machine, though it is much more common to make them by hand prior to consumption. In some countries and cultures, it is common to make joints using both cannabis and tobacco. The resulting combination is commonly referred to as a “spliff.”

Cannabis has been a staple of many social and religious practices for centuries, though historically the most common methods of consumption were inhalation via pipe or hookah. However, as cannabis practices evolved, people began using rolled paper as an easy way to consume cannabis without the need for a fixed smoking device.

The History of the Joint

Joints are thought to have originated in Mexico sometime in the mid-19th century, though it is possible that they began much earlier. Joints were likely introduced in the United States sometime in the early 20th century, where they were especially popular among lower-income communities. Dubbed “jazz cigarettes,” joints became a common alternative to alcohol (which underwent prohibition in 1920) in many nightclubs and bars frequented by jazz artists.

While people of the United States were able to enjoy cannabis joints without too many restrictions in the 1920s (this would change significantly in the coming decades), the story was not the same in Canada. In 1923, the Act to Prohibit the Improper Use of Opium and Other Drugs effectively banned recreational use across the country.

In the 1960’s, despite its illegal status, cannabis became popular again in Canada, especially among college students. However, it would still take several decades before popular support and government legislation would align. In 2001, cannabis was made legal for medical use in Canada, and in 2018, the Cannabis Act legalized recreational cannabis nationwide.

So, while cannabis joints have been in use in Canada for years, they only became legal to possess and consume very recently.

how to roll a joint

What You Will Need to Make a Joint

There are technically several ways to make a joint, so the required materials may vary depending on your personal tastes. That said, there are a few items that you will definitely need in order to make one, as well as a few items that are completely optional. In any case, you will need to obtain the following ingredients and items before you can make your own joint:

Dried Cannabis

This may seem obvious, but now there are so many different forms of cannabis consumption (vapor, oils, topicals, edibles, etc.) that many people may not be sure which kind they need for a joint. When you visit a cannabis store, feel free to ask an employee for their recommendations. If you already have experience consuming cannabis and know which kind you want to get, that’s great! You can move on to the next item on the list.

However, if this is your first time, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of cultivars. At most dispensaries, you can simply explain what you are looking for and an employee will be more than happy to help you choose something that fits your needs.

You do not need a lot of cannabis in order to make a joint. However, you might want to purchase a little bit extra in case your first attempt at making a joint doesn’t turn out so well. Generally, you will need no more than 1 gram (at most) to make a joint. So, purchasing anywhere between 1 and 3 grams should be more than enough. Obviously, if you plan on rolling more than one joint, you will need to buy more and should calculate about 1 gram per joint.

Rolling Paper

Rolling paper will create the “shell” of your joint, and can greatly affect the taste, thickness, and burning speed. There are various kinds of rolling papers, including some that are borrowed from other products. Traditional rolling paper is made from wood pulp, though this has become less popular recently due to its negative impact on the environment. Nowadays, you can find rolling paper made from rice, hemp, or even clear cellulose.

Rolling papers are relatively easy to come by. You can find a wide variety of rolling papers online, at cannabis or tobacco shops, as well as in many convenience stores.

Lighter or Matches

Without something to ignite your joint, you won’t be able to enjoy the effects of cannabis. You don’t need anything fancy; any household lighter or matches will do. If you do not already possess these items, lighters and matches can be purchased in just about any place where rolling papers are sold.

Rolling a joint

Filter or “Roach”

This is the element of a joint that is most confusing to the uninitiated. Essentially, a filter (also called a roach) is a small piece of cardboard or paper that you insert into your joint. When you smoke, you inhale through the filter. While it is technically optional, a filter actually serves several purposes.

First, it makes your joint much easier to hold and makes it less likely to fall apart. Joints are notoriously weak, especially if they are improperly rolled, so a filter can help make sure your joint stays intact. Second, it prevents loss of cannabis material by acting as a barrier between your mouth and the body of the joint. If you smoke without a filter, you could easily end up inhaling small chunks of cannabis or getting pieces stuck in your teeth. Lastly, a filter does what its name implies and filters smoke as you inhale, lessening the negative effects it has on your lungs.

Generally, a filter can be fashioned out of any kind of thick paper, like construction paper. Business cards, index cards, or even a thin piece of cardboard are all commonly used to make filters.

Grinder (Optional)

Another optional part of making a joint is the grinder. A grinder is a simple device that allows you to grind up dried cannabis into finer pieces. This removes stems from the cannabis and makes for a smoother burn. While you can easily grind up your cannabis by hand, this can be a messier process and may even cause you to lose some of the THC crystals on your fingertips.

The Step-by-Step Process

Now that you have gathered all of the necessary materials, it’s time to assemble your joint. It is a relatively simple process, but it may take a few tries to really get the hang of it. But don’t worry, soon you will be making joints fit for a king! Now, let’s look at the steps you need to take to make a high-quality joint:

Step 1: Find a Flat Surface

When you’re working with cannabis, things can get messy pretty quickly. You’ll want to make sure that you have a flat surface to work on, like a desk or table. It is also better to work in a well-lit area so that you don’t end up losing any smaller pieces.

Step 2: Grind the Cannabis

Whether you choose to grind by hand or with a grinder, you will want to ensure that your cannabis is free of any stems or seeds. If you’re using a traditional grinder, you just need to put your cannabis in the grinder, close it, and rotate it a few times. Once you open the grinder, you will have finely ground cannabis, ready to be used in a joint.

If you’re grinding by hand, you simply need to roll the cannabis between your fingers until it starts to break into smaller pieces. There is no exact science to this process, but it is best to make the resulting pieces as small as possible. You want to avoid having “chunks” of cannabis; instead, aim to have a lot of tiny “flakes.”

Step 3: Prepare the Rolling Paper and Filter

Now that your cannabis is ready, it’s time to prepare the rolling paper and filter. Some filter paper comes with a crease in the middle, some does not. If your paper does not have a crease, you should create one by folding the paper in half (longways).

The filter is a bit more complicated. Assuming that you are using a thick kind of paper, you will need to cut a relatively small piece (~1 cm x 2 cm). Then, starting on one end, fold your paper like it is an accordion, creating small flaps on top of one another. Once you have folded the paper 4-5 times, you will compress the folds, and wrap the remainder of the paper around it, creating a kind of tube around the stack of folds. If you’re having trouble keeping the filter in place, you can use your tongue to wet the crease, so that the paper sticks together better.

Step 4: Add the cannabis

Now that your rolling paper is creased, you can begin sprinkling your cannabis along this crease. You will want to spread the cannabis out evenly so that your joint keeps its shape. In order to ensure that your cannabis is distributed properly, you can roll the paper between your fingers as you sprinkle more.

The amount that you add will depend on the desired effects. However, generally, ½-1 gram will be enough to fill your joint and give it shape. You must also be sure to leave about a centimeter (or less) of space on one end of the rolling paper. This will allow you to insert the filter.

Step 5: Roll the Joint

Once you have the cannabis and filter in place, it is time to start rolling the joint. Most rolling paper is designed with an adhesive on one side, and you will want to ensure that this adhesive is facing in the correct direction before you begin rolling. The rolling process is relatively simple: roll the cannabis and filter to one side of the paper, and begin rolling the paper into a tight tube around the cannabis and filter. When your joint is completely rolled, you can use the adhesive (or lick the paper if necessary) so that it sticks together and holds its shape.

Step 6: Enjoy!

Congratulations, you rolled your first joint! Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy it. If you’re still a little unclear about how this works, don’t stress! We’ve got you covered. Simply hold the filter-end of the joint up to your mouth and inhale, while also lighting the opposite end of the joint. And that’s it! Now you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Did that seem a little crazy? Check our Sugarleaf by 7AC for already packaged rolled cannabis.

Health and Safety Considerations

While cannabis is generally safe for adults to consume, there are several safety concerns that you should consider before smoking a joint. First and foremost, if you have any heart or serious health conditions, you should consult a physician before consuming cannabis in any form. Additionally, if you have asthma or similar conditions that make it difficult to breathe, smoking cannabis may not be the best choice for you. Thankfully, there are a few alternatives to joints if you prefer a different consumption method.

Alternatives to Joints

There are numerous ways to smoke cannabis; you can roll a joint or a blunt. Additionally, you can smoke cannabis using a bong, pipe, or hookah. However, if you don’t want to inhale smoke, there are a few other options that will take less of a toll on your lungs:


Vaporizing has become a popular way to consume tobacco and cannabis, without the need for harmful smoke. While the jury is still out on whether or not vaping is safer than smoking, there is evidence suggesting that vaping does not create tar in the lungs like smoking can. If you’re interested in vaping cannabis, you can purchase a vaporizer at a local head shop or cannabis store.


Though edible cannabis products will not officially be legal in Canada until October 2019, they are still a viable option if you are willing to do the cooking yourself. When you consume edibles, the onset for psychoactive effects typically takes longer (up to 2 hours) than smoking or vaporization. Effects from edibles also tend to last longer than when you smoke or vape cannabis.


Just like edibles, topicals like oils, creams, and lotions will not be available in Canada until October 2019. However, topicals are generally used for their localized, pain-relieving effects. They do not have the same psychoactive effects as other forms of cannabis consumption.

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