How to Roll a Joint

Our step-by-step guide is here to elevate your stoner skillset.

how to roll a joint
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

Oil-wrapped pre-rolls, rose petal blunts, THC-diamond-laden joints—those who can’t roll are certainly not left out in the modern cannabis world. Still, it’s a nice skill to have.

There’s just something about being able to roll your own joint that satisfies the stoner soul on a higher level. Every hit tastes a little more special, a little more honestly earned. If you have yet to roll your first joint, it’s never too late to start.

This step-by-step guide is designed to take you from square one up to highly competent joint roller. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be ready to take on advanced level cross joints, Christmas tree/menorah joints, and smokeable guitars in no time. For now: the basics.

Here are the ingredients and gear you need

.5 grams of cannabis flower
Approximately one large bud or a few smaller buds of whichever strain you prefer.

In a pinch, you can use scissors or a knife to chop up your bud in a shot glass, but a grinder is a trusty tool for ensuring an even burn.

Rolling Papers
There are various sizes and materials out there, but for a standard, clean-tasting basic, opt for rolling papers made from rice or hemp.

Filter Material
Rolling paper packs will typically have a perforated portion of thicker paper rectangles that can be rolled up to make a filter, also known as a “crutch” or “tip.” You can also use a thin piece of cardboard, index card, or business card.

Rolling Tray (optional)
Ideally, you have a clean, flat surface to roll on. A rolling tray, magazine, or clean countertop comes in handy when you inevitably spread the ground up bits beyond the paper.

Packing Tool (optional)
You’re going to be packing down the ground up weed into the cylindrical rolling paper, so a pen, or makeup pencil will be a big help.

Our step-by-step guide to rolling a joint

Step 1: Grind up your weed
One round of grinding your weed through to the storage compartment should do it. Don’t grind it too much, otherwise you’ll end up with a fine powder that’ll pass through your filter and into your mouth when you inhale.

Note that most grinders have an additional kief catcher chamber on the bottom. The ground up cannabis also includes kief (think of it as highly potent cannabis dust) that can be sprinkled into joints, bowls, canna-butter—whatever needs a little extra THC oomph.

Step 2: Make a filter
The filter is important for the structural integrity of the joint and to keep loose weed from spilling out as you smoke. Tear one rectangular sheet off and start folding one edge back and forth, accordion style. I like to create mine with an accordion-folded w-shape in the middle.

After you’ve “accordioned” about half the paper, wrap the last bit of paper around the accordion portion, it should look like a tiny paper straw with that “w” in the middle.

Step 3: Place the filter and fill the joint
Place your filter into either one end of the rolling paper and fold the edges up lengthwise, like you’re holding a hot dog at both ends. Fill the “u” shaped paper with the ground up weed.

Step 4: Roll the joint
Now for the intricate part. Pinch the edges of the paper together, and use your thumbs to slightly roll the paper back and forth, gently compacting the weed as you roll your fingers against your thumbs.

Tuck in the no-glue edge of the paper so that it’s wrapped around the compacted bud, maintaining a tight tuck as you roll the joint to wrap the rest of the paper around the bud. (For a beautiful visual aid, we recommend this tutorial from Earth To Her.)

Lick along the glue edge on the paper and carefully seal the joint up. If one unruly stem unfortunately pokes through the paper, it’s back to step one with a fresh rolling paper.

Step 5: Twist it off
Gently pack the loose weed down toward the filter end of the joint. It doesn’t have to be packed tight, you just want to ensure a consistent burn all the way through. Pinch the remaining edge of the paper and twist the end.

Step 6: Smoke your joint
And, voila! You just rolled a joint. As you light it, be sure to give it a hearty inhale to get a red hot cherry for an even burn. Enjoy it however you like—big tokes, little puffs—just know that if you smoke it halfway through, the last half never tastes quite as great as the first light. You can always rip the edge of papers down to customize your joint to a smaller sesh.

Keep in mind that practice makes perfect, we all have our own rolling styles. If you’re having trouble getting the hang of the technique—or just don’t have time to try twenty times—you can buy pre-made cones that are ready to be filled with ground weed, or analog joint rollers that streamline the process. And if all else fails, there’s no shame in buying pre-rolls. As theoretical physicist Professor Richard Feynman once said, “the only shame is to pretend that we know everything.”

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Sean Cooley is a longtime contributor to Thrillist, covering cannabis, food, and travel. He is both self-conscious about rolling joints and waiting in line at dispensaries, so don’t judge him for the pre-rolls in his weed delivery order. Follow his half-baked festivities on Instagram @SeanCoolish.