Like many, I’ve always relied on the kindness of friends in the joint-rolling department and, thanks to novel smoking accessories and helpful new innovations, I’ve been able to avoid learning this basic life skill. However, as an independent woman, I consider it critical to be self-reliant in all areas of life. My Girl Guide days may be long behind me but their motto — “Be Prepared” — is forever entrenched in my psyche, and it’s never too late for some guidance.
If you’re in need of a helping hand when it comes to rolling, Irie Selkirk – a Toronto-based cannabis market actuator, and winner of multiple joint rolling competitions (including one she did blindfolded!) – and Sarah Ramesbottom, head of retail at Hiku, share their top tips below.
Your joint is only as good as the sum of its parts, so making sure you have the proper tools is key. Aside from rolling papers – Selkirk prefers those made of thin hemp or rice paper – filter papers, a stash tool, a grinder and a rolling tray will upgrade the experience.
To simplify the process, Ramesbottom says she prefers buying papers that come with filters, so everything is at her fingertips (pun intended). “A filter is a key part of a joint – even though not everyone chooses to use one – because it stops loose bud from being inhaled,” she says. “It also prevents close contact with the smoke from a joint, and makes it easier to hold. Because of this, you don’t waste any bud since you can smoke the joint down to the filter.”
It’s also important to consider what you use to tamp down loose cannabis with (to ensure your joint is packed tightly enough to smoke properly). “You don’t want to use a safety pin or you might poke a hole in the paper,” says Ramesbottom. “You need it to be a bit weighted and a little bit thicker at the bottom. This keeps it from poking through the cannabis instead of tamping it down, which is what you want it to do.”
A rolling tray will catch any loose cannabis in the rolling process so you can add it back into your joint – waste not, want not. And a grinder is what takes your dried bud from ok to optimal, in terms of smoking circumstances.
Mind Your Grind
As noted, the higher the quality of what goes into rolling your joint, the better. While your chosen cannabis strain is always a personal preference, Ramesbottom says the most important aspect when rolling a joint is the consistency of your grind to ensure smooth burning.
“A fine to medium grind is best for joints – but not powder-fine – and you want to make sure that the consistency is even and that any lumps or woody bits are removed.” Keep an eye out for any stems or lumpy pieces, which can compromise the integrity of your roll.
Make sure to take note of the characteristics of your cannabis before grinding. Stickier strains will grind better in a chambered grinder, while drier varieties work well with a card grinder (or even broken down by hand).
Once you’ve got everything you need, the trickiest part is nailing the actual roll. There are different shapes you can attempt, like a cone, which involves using two papers, but Ramesbottom recommends keeping it simple when you’re starting out and rolling a straight joint using one paper, with some help from a card-shaped object (credit, not greeting, to be clear).
Here’s how it works:
- Take a rolling paper and place it on a table or rolling tray with the adhesive-side at the top and facing towards you.
- Put a line of ground cannabis into the crease of the paper.
- Lift the paper up between your fingers, cradling the cannabis in the center of the paper, and create a pinky fingertip of space at either end between the line of cannabis and the ends of the paper.
- Lift the bottom of the paper so it folds over the cannabis and the edge lines up with the bottom of the adhesive strip.
- Take a card, like a credit card or a grinder card, and press it into the point where the cannabis meets the paper, with the edge of the folded paper held underneath the card.
- Begin rolling the paper upwards around the cannabis, using the card to support and direct the roll into a straight, cylindrical shape.
- Once the cannabis is rolled (tightly) into a straight joint shape, lick the adhesive line and smooth it over the rolled joint.
- Pinch one end and tamp the inside of the open end of the joint lightly, leaving enough room to twist the ends of the paper together. That’s the end you light.
- Tamp the other end more firmly, adding any loose cannabis that has fallen out during the rolling process. This is where you add your filter.
- Roll your filter paper tightly enough to ensure it will fit in the open end of the joint, and insert.
And there you have it – you’re now ready to roll. Remember that at the end of the day, if your early attempts at rolling don’t work out the way you’d hoped, you can always call on some backup. A joint is something that’s meant to be shared, after all.
Story by Caitlin Agnew
Photo by Bryan Huynh
The preceding is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to condone the use or consumption of cannabis. For more information, please refer to our disclaimer.