How to Roll a Joint - Step by Step Guide - 420 Science

How to Roll a Joint - Step by Step Guide

Are you ready to learn how to roll a joint and so much more? The humble joint has been a workhorse of the weed-smoking community for over three centuries. Hundreds of years ago, people were rolling up their tobacco with a bit of cannabis all over the world. Eventually, someone had the bright idea to leave the tobacco out and just roll up the cannabis. With such a deep history, the art of joint rolling has grown in complexity and elegance throughout the years.

We’ve created a guide to joint rolling that covers the traditional step-by-step process and discusses what is needed for several methods of joint rolling, both more accessible and more advanced. Once you've perfected the standard method of joint rolling, you can move onto expert-level joint rolling techniques and even develop a personal rolling style.

What is a Joint?

A joint is a cannabis cigarette to define it in the most basic way. A cannabis joint is typically hand-rolled with thin paper to preserve the flavor of the flower while smoking.

As noted above, joints have been around for hundreds of years and can vary in their basic form and shape. The traditional joint is about three inches long, has a paper filter on one side, and is cylindrical. The side that you lite up is usually larger than the mouthpiece filter.

Joints are different from blunts because blunts use tobacco leaves or even cannabis leaves as the rolling paper and contain more cannabis than a joint. Blunts are meant for longer sessions or bigger groups, while joints can be enjoyed individually or with a couple of friends.

What You Need to Roll a Joint

The supplies needed for a standard joint are not many. It would be best if you had some quality rolling papers, a grinder, a rolling tray, filters, and of course, the cannabis of your choice. If you want to add to this essential list, you can also get a poker, an ashtray, multiple types of papers, and a hemp wick.

rolling papers

Rolling papers

Papers are the foundation of a great joint. There are tons of rolling papers to choose from that offer different features like slow-burning or even flavors. We recommend starting with unbleached rice or hemp paper.

weed grinder

A Weed Grinder

We cannot stress how important a good weed grinder is for rolling the best joints. A good joint will burn smoothly because all the weed has been evenly ground.

Filter Tips

If you don't want your joint to become clogged suddenly, then adding a paper or glass filter to the end will help keep the smoke flowing and loose cannabis from clogging the end.

Rolling Tray

Rolling a joint can be a bit messy. If you pick a dedicated surface to roll over, that helps keep things clean, but a rolling tray can help keep your papers, weed, and grinder organized in one place.

poker tool

A Poker

A tool to help stuff and pack your joint is super handy, you can also use it to make an airpath, and to help you make a cone shape when forming the joint. Pokers come in many shapes and sizes so you can find one that is good for joint rolling and fits your style.


Oddly enough, super sticky-icky fresh cannabis is not the best to roll with. Go as high-quality as you want but make sure that it is adequately dried out.

Rolling a Joint: A Step by Step Guide

Step 1: Grind Your Cannabis

Grinding Cannabis

Grinding your weed to a proper consistency will keep it burning smoothly when the joint is lit. A medium ground is best; too fine of a grind will result in a tightly packed joint that won't burn quickly enough to stay lit. A joint that has roughly ground cannabis in it will not stay lit and smoke too fast. Make sure to pick out any large stems or even seeds in your weed first before grinding.

Step 2: Load Up Your Joint

Rolling a joint

Spacing out the ground cannabis in your joint paper is essential. If the weed isn't placed evenly or too much is at the wrong end, the joint will become clogged. The best spacing for piling the weed in the joint is two even piles next to one another. As you begin to fold the joint over for rolling, these piles even themselves out and allow an airpath through the joint.

When you load the rolling paper, keep the adhesive strip facing up and set the filter in the side you want the mouthpiece. The goal here is to evenly spread enough cannabis throughout the joint without it being overstuffed. If you want your joint to have a classic shape, make the first pile near the tip slightly more significant than the pile of the ground flower near the filter.

How Much Weed to Use in a Joint?

A joint rolled with standard 1 1/4 sized papers with a filter takes anywhere from a half to a whole gram to load and fully pack. Depending on the variety of cannabis flowers you have, it may take more or less depending on the size of the nugs and the fineness of your grind. Of course, the bigger the rolling papers you use, the more weed you will add to make the joint. King-sized papers and pre-rolled cones take more cannabis flowers to roll a joint.

Step 3: Add Your Joint Filter (or Make a Crutch)

raw paper filters

Paper filters are sometimes included with a pack of rolling papers. These flat tabs can be rolled and folded into a cylinder or conical shape and be placed on one end of the joint to form the mouthpiece. This filter keeps particles of weed out of your mouth and helps regulate the airflow of the joint.

How to Make a Filter for a Joint

If you don't have any pre-made filters, then one can be easily made. You need a thick piece of paper or thin cardboard about an inch long and half an inch wide. Often you can use a part of the cover from the joint paper dispenser. Take the thick paper, fold a third of it into a zig-zag pattern, and then fold the rest of the length of paper around the fold until it has a cylinder shape. If your joint will be more prominent on one end, as many often are, then you'll want to make sure your filter has a slightly conical shape.

Step 4: Shape the Joint

how to roll a joint

how to roll a joint

Not everyone knows how to pack a joint. This step and the actual rolling to seal the joint require the most finesse and practice. Packing is the first part of actually rolling the joint, and it involves positioning your hands and the paper in the right way for all the flowers to position themselves in the joint correctly.

Pinch the paper between your fingertips and roll it back and forth between your thumb and forefinger to pack the cannabis down and form it into the joint shape. Then carefully begin to fold over the bottom side of the paper to curl into the shaped flower.

Step 5: Pinch and Roll the Joint

rolling a joint
how to roll a joint

This is the most problematic step, but it quickly becomes easy with practice. The key to rolling a good joint is keeping the tension in the paper and doing it all in one smooth motion. Keep folding the bottom side of the paper into the flower until it's tucked tightly into the side that is touching the top part of the paper. If you make sure to keep the paper around the filter tip tight, the rest of the joint will follow.

Step 6: Lick and Seal the Joint

how to roll a joint

Continue to roll while keeping the same tension and slowly roll in the excess paper until only the adhesive shows at the top. Wet the adhesive strip from the mouthpiece to the tip and fold it over to seal the joint. If some of the weed falls out, don't worry about it. Your rolling tray will catch it, and it can be packed back in later.

Step 7: Pack and Twist

how to roll a joint

how to roll a joint

There will be some space at the end of the joint that is not filled yet. First, tap the joint on your rolling tray with the open side up to pack down the cannabis. Take notice of how much more room you have now to add some extra weed. Take any flower that fell or extra you have in your grinder and add it to the tip, almost filling up the cone.

Use the end of a pencil or a chopstick to pack the end of the joint a little, and then pinch the tip of the loose paper at the end between your thumb and forefinger and twist around until the end seals itself flat or forms a bit of a fuse.

Step 8: Spark Up and Enjoy

how to roll a joint

how to roll a joint

Take a moment and admire your handy work. You've just created something that millions of other people like you take pride in and enjoy all the time, but this joint is all yours, and it's unique, so now it's time to smoke it in celebration!

Light up the twisted end taking care to make sure it's evenly lit. Some people like to slightly wet the sides of the paper before lighting the tip to ensure that it lights evenly and only the tip starts to burn. The first inhale should be deep to get the joint started and enjoy the conical shape point. The first hit is the largest section of the joint and has the most potent hit until the end of the joint, where all the resins build up. The last part of the joint is called the roach.

Joint Rolling Troubleshooting Tips

No one would expect a person to nail rolling a joint on the first try. The first few will be a little wonky, and there is a lot that can go wrong. When you are trying to artfully wrap rough little bits of plant parts in the fragile paper, just a tiny error can lead to a catastrophic failure. Don't get discouraged when you make a mistake. There are a lot of leaves in a pack of papers. Here are some tips on how to keep rolling:

  • If your joint gets loose while rolling it, unpack it and start again, and it will turn out better.
  • If your joint is burning unevenly, you can wet the burning side to try and even it out. This may be a sign that the weed was not ground finely enough.
  • If you have to keep lighting your joint, it means that the airpath is too tight and a sign that the weed may have been ground too fine. You can try and fix the air path. You can poke through the end of the filter tip with a toothpick or a sewing needle if you have something. Poking a hole through the center of the joint can open up an airpath and get it smoking again.
  • Thicker paper is easier to start rolling with. Hemp tends to be the thickest as well as the easiest to manipulate.

Other Ways to Roll a Joint

Hand-rolling a joint with a filter is just one way of getting it done. Several other rolling styles and shortcuts can make joint-rolling easier or more enjoyable, and some are advanced.

No Filter

Rolling without a filter is easier for some people. In this method, you make two even piles that are slightly larger. Be wary of overpacking as it's easier for this kind of joint to get clogged.

pre rolled cone

Pre-Rolled Cone

A joint that just needs to be filled with weed! These pre-rolled cones come in standard and king-size and make joints a breeze by doing the tricky part for you. Just know that they tend to be bigger than hand-rolled joints so that you will use more cannabis.

joint roller

A Joint Roller

These rolling machines make cigarette-shaped joints, and you can crank out a ton of them once you get the hang of them. You fill the reservoir of the joint roller with ground weed and then insert a paper in as you roll the mechanism.

Otto joint filler

An Automatic Joint Filler

Is filling a bunch of pre-rolled cones too much work for you? These hand-driven or battery-powered joint fillers are part grinders and part joint packers. They will drop all the weed in the cones for you, and all you have to do is twist the tip and smoke it.

Advanced Joint Rolling Methods

Twaxing a Joint

If you mess with dabs, then you may have seen people take a joint over 9000 by adding dabs to the outside of the paper in a spiral pattern and then dusting it with kief to create a super potent joint that would make the Hulk calm down even for just a moment.


If you want to step up your rolling and add more potency to your sessions, then you may enjoy blunts. Blunts are all hands-on and require a little more patience and ingredients. Often blunts use more weed that is less finely ground and can even have the addition of dabs. Blunts are rolled with more rigid papers like cigar leaves or hemp paper.

The Cross Joint

Putting a joint in another joint is the kind of insanity that only expert joint rollers are willing to try, but the reward you will reap are legendary. More engineering than artistry, the cross joint involves expertly carving a hold in a king-sized joint so you can fit two halves of a standard joint together to form a cross.

We Are Here to Help

If you still can't figure out how to roll a joint, then let us know. We'll point you in the right direction. Maybe you need better rolling papers, or you just need to go with cones. No matter what, our wide selection of anything you need for rolling joints can help get you toking.

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