8 Steps to Rolling the Perfect Joint

If you are a semi-regular marijuana user, learning how to roll a joint is a necessity. If nothing else, you’ll stop annoying your friends by begging them to do it for you! There is also a certain satisfaction gleaned from rolling a joint that burns evenly, allowing for a smooth smoke.

In this guide, we provide you with 8 steps to rolling the perfect joint. We also offer other options if you’re still unable to roll, including alternatives to smoking your cannabis. Let’s begin!

Step 1 – Assemble the ‘Ingredients’ – What Do You Need for a Perfectly Rolled Joint?

Before you begin to roll the perfect joint, it is important to know how much marijuana to use. In general, relative novices should stick with standard 1.25 size rolling papers and approximately 0.5 grams of cannabis flower per joint. This is enough marijuana for two people realistically and makes it easier to roll the joint.

If you’re not an experienced cannabis smoker, you may not know what’s required for rolling a joint. Don’t worry, here is the full list:

  • Marijuana flower
  • Grinder
  • Rolling papers
  • Rolling tray
  • Crutch/filter
  • A pen or something similar for packing the joint

Now you’re ready to roll! The next step involves determining the type of joint you want.

Step 2 – Choosing a Joint Style

You can choose from numerous ‘styles’ in your quest to roll the perfect joint. Here are a few of the best-known with brief descriptions:

  • Standard: This is the most popular joint style. It involves sprinkling the flower into some gum-side up rolling papers.
  • Pinner: A thin joint where users often look to disperse the flower evenly. You typically roll a pinner when you are running low on supply.
  • Tulip: This classic joint involves creating a large ‘cherry’ that ensures your masterpiece resembles a tulip.
  • The Cross: Those who have watched Pineapple Express know how to roll one of these! It is a crucifix-shaped roll-up that looks exceptionally cool.
  • The Fatty: This option seems like a blunt without the need for tobacco wraps. The Fatty, as the name suggests, is HUGE and filled with marijuana.
  • The XXL: A gargantuan joint reserved for special occasions. It takes a LOT of time and cannabis to get this one right.
  • Cone: As the name suggests, this is a conical-shaped joint. It begins thin and straight but gets wider as the cone increases in length. You need to include a filter to prevent the weed from falling out.

Step 3 – Grind & Add Filter

Ideally, you will have well-dried marijuana, as it makes the grinding process more straightforward. You can use your hands, but a grinder stops them from sticking to the rolling paper. Well-ground weed is also less likely to give you a coughing fit. Alternatives include scissors if you don’t have a grinder available.

You can create a filter from all manner of materials, including thin cardboard. Begin by adding a few folds that resemble an accordion. Next, roll the material to the thickness of the joint. You don’t strictly need a crutch. However, it keeps the joint stable, prevents weed sprinkling out, and stops your lips from hurting!

This is subjective, but we prefer to let the filter (aka the crutch) stick out of the rolling paper’s end.

Step 4 – Arrange the Bud & Pack the Joint

This step varies a little depending on the joint style. For a pinner joint, for example, place the bud evenly throughout the joint. The end should contain slightly more bud, but don’t overdo it. For a cone, put the bud in a conical shape. You want it nice and fat!

marijuana pinner joint

Step 5 – Roll the Paper

This will come with practice. The idea is to move the paper back and forth between your fingers, shaping it into a pinner joint or a cone. You want to condense the bud but not squash it. Try to keep the shape that you’re looking for.

rolling a pinner joint

Step 6 – Tuck, Lick, & Stick

This part will determine how fast the joint burns. The idea is to start from the crutch, focusing on eliminating all slack in the rolling paper. Your hand should tuck the first part of the paper (from the crutch) and slowly slide towards the end, tucking in the rest. You might need to pull the end of the paper to eliminate any lines. Once you tuck the entire roll, keep rolling. Now it’s time to lick the glue strip and stick it all together.

Some find it easier to lick the glue on the first half close to the crutch and then move on to the other half. Some lick the whole strip and stick it all at once.

Step 7 – Lock Down the Crutch

Have you noticed that in the movies, they bang the joint on the table before smoking it? The idea is to give the crutch a little tap to connect it to the cannabis. After that, you can lick around the crutch to make it stick.

Step 8 – Pack the Tip

To smoke the perfect joint, you need to put in extra effort and make sure it is nicely packed. You don’t want too much air, or else it will not burn evenly. There are a few different techniques for this. The twist & seal method is one of the most commonly used. Once you pack the herb, give the tip a twist to seal and keep the flower inside.

twist and seal pinner joint

Can’t Roll? Here are the Top Alternative Ways of Smoking a Joint

Not everyone will get the hang of joint rolling. There are also times when you want to enjoy a smoke quickly and easily. This is why we’ve composed a list of different ways to enjoy cannabis. We begin with other ways to get joints without rolling them and conclude with alternatives to smoking marijuana.

Switch to the Pre-Roll

Although they can sometimes turn out to be a little expensive, most medical marijuana dispensaries and recreational cannabis shops offer pre-rolled joints. Some dispensaries offer special deals where they add a few free pre-rolls if you spend a certain amount on other products. Prices for decent to top-shelf quality pre-rolled joints can range anywhere from $5-$20 for one cone.

A Rolling Machine

Mastering a rolling machine can be a bit of a learning curve. However, there are easy-to-follow instructions for these gadgets all online. Here’s a brief overview of how to use one:

  • Grind the marijuana buds until they are fine enough to sprinkle into a joint. Place the cannabis into the center of the rolling device, where the plastic sheet is curved like a bell, ready to catch the ground up material. Pack this section as densely as you want the joint to be.
  • Make a little space on the right side of where the cannabis is if you decide to have the joint with a filter. If you prefer joints without a filter, fill the entire space with nothing but ground marijuana.
  • Using your thumbs and index fingers, close both sides of the machine and move it in a rolling motion. Press firmly so that the marijuana does not fall out. Once you have done this for approximately 5-10 seconds, you will notice that the cannabis has been rolled into a cylinder.
  • Slip a regular-sized rolling paper into the space where your cannabis is, with the gummed edge upwards and facing you. Using your hands again, rotate the rolling machine until only the gummed edge is visible. Give the edge a lick, and then keep rolling the device. Once it’s ready, open up the machine to get the perfectly rolled joint.

The One Hitter

The most popular one-hitters may look like a cigarette, but it is all a big facade. Made to appear incognito, these tubes are hollow inside. The one-hitter also helps disguise your consumption of cannabis, predominantly if you are in a public area and wish to be discreet.

Bongs and Pipes

Bongs and pipes remain an excellent alternative to rolling a joint. You can pack more cannabis into either device than you can with a one-hitter, for example. The downside? They’re bulky, expensive on occasion, sometimes heavy, and are difficult to clean.

Alternatives to Smoking

Perhaps you’ve realized that smoking marijuana is not for you, or else you don’t want to use a joint. However, you still want to derive the potential benefits of cannabis. Here are a few ways to enjoy the plant without inhaling smoke.


The process of “dabbing” involves using a butane torch and a dab rig to vaporize cannabis concentrates, such as wax or shatter. There are concentrates with up to 99% THC, so approach with caution.

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Use a Vaporizer

There are numerous vaping devices on the market. You can buy products that vape dry herb, cannabis oil, or both. Proponents of vaping say it doesn’t involve inhaling carcinogenic substances from smoke. You also preserve more terpenes and cannabinoids because you don’t combust the plant material. However, the jury is out on the safety of vaping in general.


If you don’t want to smoke or vape cannabis, edibles could be a great alternative. You can purchase chocolates, brownies, other baked goods, and even drinks infused with THC. However, please note that edibles are generally more potent than smoked or vaped marijuana. It can also take several hours for them to take effect. In contrast, the impact of smoking or vaping is felt almost immediately.

Final Thoughts on Rolling a Joint

Hopefully, our step-by-step guide to rolling a joint proved useful. It will take a little practice, but soon, you could create joints like a pro! If you can’t roll a joint, there are plenty of alternative options. These include pre-rolls, a rolling machine, and one-hitters. If you don’t like smoking cannabis, dab rigs, vaporizers, and edibles are widely available.

The modern marijuana user is spoiled for choice, but remember, you should always use the substance sensibly. If you’re a novice, start with a small amount to see how it affects you before considering the use of more.

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