Why You Can Trust American Marijuana

American Marijuana has been a trusted cannabis site since 2014, with a team of experts in the field working to ensure you’re only receiving premium quality information

Medical Disclaimer Content Integrity

What You Need To Roll A Joint

Every good joint starts with the right materials. Here’s a little shopping list to get you started with rolling joints:

  • Weed (maybe this was obvious)
  • A grinder (electric or otherwise)
  • Papers (I prefer OCB 1 1/4, but use your favorite)
  • Filter material (I get the OCBs that come with filters, so I’m not tearing up every business card in the house. This is optional if you prefer a filterless, hippie-style joint)
  • A rolling surface or tray
  • A poking device, like a dab tool or pen (optional)
  • A credit card (optional)

There are a million different ways to roll a joint, and as many different tools, materials and accessories with which to roll one. We’re focusing today on the basics, so we’re omitting some other things like pre-rolled cones and rolling machines, but those are certainly on the table if you find rolling your own joints to be a little too difficult.

Once you’ve got your materials assembled, it’s time to learn how to roll a joint:

How To Roll A Joint

Rolling your first joint can be discouraging. The first few (ok, the first few hundred) joints I rolled were either floppy and loose, so tight they didn’t smoke properly, or so misshapen they looked like a snake that swallowed a rock. But with practice comes perfection, and soon you’ll be rolling picture-perfect joints, every single time.

First things first – the setup.

Preparing Your Materials

Just like in cooking, things go more smoothly when you do your mise-en-place. That means getting all your materials and equipment ready to roll, so you’re not scrambling when you need ‘em. For our purposes, here are the steps you should take before you start rolling:

  • Grind up your flower. You can do this by hand, with scissors, a hand grinder, or even an electric grinder – it doesn’t matter too much, but the smaller and more uniformly you’re able to break it up, the better. Some folks prefer larger chunks in their joints, citing a stronger effect; but if you ask me, the best results always come from finely ground, uniform bud. 
  • Roll up your filter. The width/thickness of the filter will determine the final thickness of your joint, so make sure to roll the filter to your desired size. If there’s too much filter material, causing the rolled filter to be too thick, just tear off some of the material.
  • Get your (optional) tools ready. If you plan on using a poking tool or credit card, make sure they’re close at hand. You don’t want to be caught with a half-rolled joint in your hands, unable to reach the supplies you need.

Now we’re ready to start on the hardest part – the rolling process itself.

Assembling Your Joint

With your flower ground up and your materials prepared, it’s time to roll yourself a joint. Start by holding your paper in between your thumb and middle finger, with your index providing support in the center. Which end the filter goes in depends on personal preference – most prefer the left side, but others (myself included) prefer the right. Take some time to determine which feels more comfortable for you.

Pro tip: if using a filter, let it hang out the end of the joint by about ¼ inch. This will let you push it in when you’re done, creating a nice firm filter with no loose material at the bottom.

Next, add the ground weed to the paper. Use your left hand (or right, depending on which you’re using to hold the paper) to smooth out the weed in the paper until it’s nice and even. The shape of the weed now will determine the final shape of your joint, so make sure it looks how you want it to at this stage.

Here’s where it starts to get tricky – the next step is to pinch the two sides of the paper over the weed contained within, and carefully roll it back and forth until the ground flower is formed into a tube shape. This is where your joint really takes form.

Next, the hardest part of all – colloquially known as “The Tuck” (ok, I just made that name up), the goal of this step is to tuck the edge of the paper without glue into the crevice between the shaped tube of weed and the far edge of the paper. I wish I could tell you that there’s a silver bullet solution for this step, but it just takes a bit of practice to get it right. If you’re really struggling, you can use a credit card to help tuck it in – just use the corner of the card to tuck the edges together.

Once you’ve got your paper tucked, all you’ve gotta do is roll it up – use a firm grip to keep the consistency and shape of the joint, roll it up, lick the sticky, and finish rolling to seal it.

If you’re using a filter, now’s the time to push in that remaining ¼”, firming up the base of the joint. Some people prefer to add the filter after rolling, rather than rolling with a filter in – if that’s you, now’s the time to add your filter.

That’s it – you’re done! You’ve just rolled a joint from scratch! Let it dry for a minute, then spark it up – you’ve earned it.

How To Roll A Joint vs Blunt

Rolling a blunt is a very similar process to rolling a joint – the only additional steps are emptying out your blunt, and drying it with a lighter after the fact. When rolling a blunt, you’ll need to use a TON of saliva to get it to stick together properly – make sure to get it nice and soaked to ensure the blunt wrap sticks to itself.

Once you’re done rolling it, gently heat the blunt with a lighter to dry it off. It won’t smoke properly if it’s soaking wet, so make sure it’s good and dry.

Alternatives To Rolling A Joint

If you’re really having a tough time with rolling a joint on your own, you’re not out of luck- there are still tons of options available to you for smoking weed.

Pipes and Bongs

The obvious answer, and probably what you’ve been doing already – if you find rolling joints too tricky, or too time-consuming, you can always use a pipebong, or even a gravity bong to smoke weed with.

Pre-rolled Cones

Some brands like OCB offer pre-rolled cones that you can simply pack with ground flower. This is one of the easiest options out there for rolling your own joints – no skill at all required. Just pack, tamp, smoke.


Some dispensaries and online weed stores offer pre-rolled joints, taking the labor and guesswork out of smoking joints entirely. With pre-rolled joints, all you need to do is take ‘em out of the pack and light ‘em up. These are a great option for when you can’t be bothered to roll your own.

Final Thoughts: Use Your New Skills Wisely

You’re ready to impress your friends with your expert-level joint rolling skills – but if you really want to be the life of the party, you should bring some flower to roll up, too. Check out our guide to buying weed online, and you’ll have the best flower and the best joints to smoke it in.