Joint Rolling 101: New Twists On An Ancient Art

by Chris Husong

Joint Rolling 101: New Twists On An Ancient Art

For a while it seemed like joint rolling might become a lost art. 

Remember when weed was still underground, and had been for so long, people were nervous about smoking in public? A lot of us were accustomed to hunkering down at home with our favorite bong or pipe. Then vaping rose to popularity and people went crazy for vape pens. As more states legalized, edibles hit the market in a big way. Beverages are now coming on strong. For the dedicated, dabbing with a rig is an option. 

Slowly though, appreciation for the old-school, hand-rolled joint has made a comeback. And why not? A joint is portable, passable and pure — it’s unprocessed flower, you don’t have to worry about additives the way you do with vapes and other processed products. By carefully cleaning your bud and twisting it into a joint, you process your cannabis yourself, and there’s something great about that. 

And now that we’re coming out of the Covid era, there’s a pent-up eagerness to get out and have fun. And what’s more fun, natural and social than sharing a joint with old (or new) friends?

The modern joint: An old friend, with a new twist 

There’s growing appreciation for the perfectly rolled joint. So why not be the person who pulls a shareable party essential out of your pocket? With a little prep, you can be. And there are now options that allow you to make a statement with your joints, if you so desire. Or you can just enjoy the old-school way of consuming cannabis, the way humans have for thousands of years.   

Whether you’re saving the day at a party, going for a “walk” before Thanksgiving dinner, or want to enhance your concert or hiking experience, a joint is often integral to your enjoyment. Rolling the perfect doobie is a skill though, and it can take some patience and practice to get it right. If you don’t have the time to perfect a new skill right now, pre-rolls are an option. But pre-rolls can be pricey and are often questionable in quality (like the hot dogs of cannabis). Besides, when you roll your own, you know exactly what’s in it.  

A rolling machine is an easy way to crank out picture-perfect joints. You can make them skinny, for your own personal use, or fatter, for sharing with a group. Cones too, are a user-friendly option that don’t require the manual dexterity of an expert joint roller. Simply grind up the flower of your choice, and funnel it into a pre-rolled cone. Don’t forget to twist the top, then tear off the excess paper to prevent canoeing (your joint burning unevenly). 

Traditional rolling papers or cones made of hemp will both allow you the opportunity to customize your joint by adding something special, such as wax or hash. You can also choose to put a filter tip on the end, and of course you have your choice of papers, unbleached being the preferred option if you’re not a fan of inhaling combusted industrial chemicals. 

Here’s what you need to roll great joints

If you’re looking to up your joint-rolling game, here are some accessories that could make you a legend:  

Hard stems are not going to allow you to roll up a decent joint; you need finely ground flower. Therefore, the first thing you need is a well-made grinder like this one. It’s compact, and the three-piece design makes it easy to access your kief — which can help you make your joints a little extra-special. 

Next you need rolling papers, and you have a ton of choices. As mentioned above, cones are becoming more popular, as they are a super-easy way to put your cannabis into a smokeable, shareable form. Or maybe you just want a classic-style cigarette paper, and in that case, it’s hard to beat the iconic Zig Zag.

If you’ve practiced rolling joints by hand and they all come out with a bump in the middle like they’re pregnant or something, maybe it’s time for a rolling machine. This one from EZRollerz isn’t fancy or complicated, and the result will be perfectly cylindrical joints that look like you shook them out of a pack of Camels — in other words, damn near perfect. 

Of course you need flame, a fact that is easily forgotten in the era of vaping. You have a lot of options here, from the cheapest Bic to some of the flamethrowers now on the market. But is there anything more satisfying than whipping open a Zippo lighter, like this one from Higher Standards.

There are also times when you want to kick it up a notch, right? If you have money to burn, or just want to pretend you do, you can pick up some rolling papers from Benji that are made to look like a US $100 bill. Or these papers made by Shine, which include a little bit of 24-karat gold. Seriously. 

Whatever joint-rolling tools you choose, go ahead and give it a try. Even if your first few attempts are less than picture-perfect, when you produce a joint, you are going to brighten someone’s day — yours and your friend’s. That itself is a perfect moment.

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