Step by Step: How to Roll a Joint

There are a lot of ways to consume cannabis, but none are as iconic as the joint. Learning how to roll a joint is something every cannabis user should learn – you don’t always want to rely on your friends or pre-rolls. 


If you’ve never rolled a joint, the process can feel intimidating, but it’s kind of like riding a bike. Once you’ve got it down, it’s one of those skills that sticks with you. You just need a few supplies and a little practice to get rolling.

Let’s start with the basics for rolling a joint.

Joint vs. Blunt vs. Spliff

If you’re a newbie, you may have used these terms interchangeably:

  • Joint
  • Blunt
  • Spliff

While they’re all valid ways to smoke your weed, there’s a difference.  A joint is dried cannabis rolled in papers. A blunt is dried cannabis rolled in cigar wraps. A spliff is a combination of dried cannabis and dried tobacco rolled in papers. Joints are the most popular and a good place for new users to start.

Flower vs. Bud vs. Nug, etc.

There are a lot of words for weed. Here are some terms you’ll want to know, especially if you’re rolling your own joints.

  • Flower
  • Bud
  • Nug 
  • Shake
  • Kief
  • Stem

Flower is the trichome-covered part of the plant you dry and smoke. Buds and nugs are synonymous with flower. These terms are interchangeable, but “nug” is generally used to describe high-quality cannabis. 

Shake is a term used to describe the fine ground cannabis.

Kief is the resin on the bud that contains the terpenes and cannabinoids that give each cannabis strain their unique effect. When grinding, the kief collects in the bottom chamber. 

Stem is the hard part of the dried weed that the bud grows on. When grinding, the flower separates from the stem. You don’t smoke your stem, but some people save them for use in teas or cannabutters.

Now that we’ve gone over the lingo, here’s the step-by-step breakdown for how to roll a joint.

How to Roll a Joint - Gather Supplies


You only need a few supplies to roll a joint. These are the essentials you can add to your kit if you haven’t already.

Supplies That Make Rolling Joints Easy

  • Papers
  • Grinder
  • Tamper
  • Filter (AKA. Crutch or Tip)
  • Your Cannabis Strain of Choice

Rolling papers are the only thing you absolutely need to roll a joint, besides your weed. If you don’t have a grinder, you can use your fingers or scissors to break up your bud. If you don’t have a tamper, you can use a pen or bobby pin. But if you don’t have papers, you won’t be rollin’ 😉

Not all papers are the same. We personally love our Dimes organic papers. Because they’re made from natural material, they’re typically thinner, burn better, and don’t add any flavour. This lets you appreciate the unique terp profile of your strain.

Some papers are flavoured. Others are thicker, so they don’t tear as easily. Having the right papers makes the rolling process easier.

Our Top Hits: Dimes Organic Rolling Paper 

A grinder is a mill for your dried herb.  You put your bud in, turn the top – or “lid” – and it shreds your weed into smaller grinds you can easily roll into a joint. You can choose from a simple two-part grinder or multi-chamber grinder. More on that below.

Our Top Hits:  Dimes Custom 4-Piece Grinder

A tamper is a thin pin you’ll use to pack the weed in the joint once it’s rolled. You can use other household objects, but a nice tamper will elevate the ritual (trust us).

Our Top Hits:  Studio A-OK Tamper

You can buy filters, or make your own with thick paper or thin cardboard. Cut a strip that’s about ¾ cm – 1 cm wide and  2 – 2 ½ cm long (our Dimes papers have filters ready to go as part of the pack). Roll it tightly into a tube, then place it at the bottom of your paper. A filter is also referred to as a  “tip” or “crutch”. 

The last thing you’ll need is, obviously, your cannabis strain of choice. If you’re looking for something to mellow you out, look for a strain high in CBD and low in THC.

If you’re looking for something to lift you, inspire your flow, or socialize with, you may want a THC-dominant strain or hybrid. Ask your budtender or read our Cannabis 101 to learn more about intents.

Our Top Hits: Check out our most popular strains by intent.


Grind Your Weed

The next step is prepping your weed for rolling. When you buy flower, you’ll need to grind it before you can smoke it in a joint, pipe, or bong. 

Weed isn’t something you want to grind in advance. It can dry out faster and lose its flavour and alter its effect. Just like coffee is better with fresh ground beans, joints are better with fresh ground weed. 

What Kind of Grinder is Best?

If you’re buying flower, your grinder is something you’ll use a lot. 

So what kind of grinder do you need to roll a joint? The simplest grinders come with two parts – a top and bottom. You put your bud in, twist the top, and the teeth inside shred your weed. Just remove the pieces of stem and you’re all set.

Some grinders are multi-chamber with up to four parts, like our Dimes grinder. Start by putting your weed in the top chamber. As you grind it, the pieces fall through holes into the second chamber which has a mesh screen on the bottom. 

The mesh catches the ground cannabis, but lets the kief fall through to the third chamber. Kief, also called keef, pollen or dry sift, refers to the resin that contains the cannabinoids and terpenes that make each cannabis strain unique. 

You’ll use the shredded weed in your joint. Many cannabis users will save their keif to add to pipes or bongs. More seasoned users will save their keif to press into hash. This is not advised for novice cannabis users.

Why the price variation on grinders? More expensive grinders are typically of higher quality with sharper teeth that result in more even grinds. Some, like the Cofo + EM Grinder combine function with elevated aesthetics. It’s more than a grinder – it’s a piece of art.

How to Roll a Joint - Loading Your Joint


Hold your paper, with the adhesive side facing up.  Place the filter at the end of the joint, positioned in the centre. Load the joint, then start to shape and form it with your fingers.

How Much Weed Do I Need?

About a half gram to a gram will do. 

Budtender’s Tip: Loading Your Joint

When rolling a joint, don’t overload it. You don’t want it to dry out. If you plan on smoking the rest in the same day or night, you can always stub it out and smoke the rest later. If you leave it much longer, your weed will dry out. It’s still smokable, but less ideal.

If you were rolling a joint pre-pandemic, we would’ve recommended packing it a little more if you plan on sharing it. Now that we live six feet apart, consider rolling smaller joints for each individual smoker if you plan to share.

Roll Your Joint

Once you’ve loaded your joint, you’re ready to roll. Pinch the paper and gently but firmly roll it back and forth between your fingers to pack it into its final shape. The shape should be cone-like.

Tuck the non-adhesive side of the paper into the roll, then use the adhesive edge to seal it to the end of paper. A touch of saliva or water will add the moisture needed. Start at the filter end and move the other way. It’s easier to roll up starting at the filter.

How to Roll a Joint - Rolling Your Joint

What If It Breaks?

If it breaks, you can wrap another paper around the whole joint. This may affect the speed of the burn. Another option is to cut a small piece of the adhesive strip and apply it directly to the tear.

Budtender’s Tip: Rolling Your Joint

If you’re not confident rolling on your own, start with training wheels – our Dimes pre-rolled cones. You load the cone with your weed, then pack it with your tamper, twist the tip, you’re ready to light it up.  

How to Roll a Joint - Packing Your Joint


Pack the End of the Joint

Now that the joint is loaded and rolled, use your tamper to pack it from the open end. Packing it will remove air pockets and result in a more even burn.

Twist the End of the Joint

Twist the open end of the papers to finish the joint. 

How to Roll a Joint - Twisting the End of Your Joint

Budtender’s Tip: Finishing Touches

Keep your joint safe by storing it in a small hard case.  After all your work to get it just right, you don’t want it to get bent, squished, or roll around. 

The Cofo & EM Doob Tube not only keeps your joint safe, but it also contains the smell and keeps your kush fresh.

Steps of Rolling a Joint

Light One Up

Lighting Your Joint

So you’ve followed each step and now you’ve got a beautiful joint to enjoy. It’s time to light it up.  

Don’t rush the process. Light just the tip while rotating the joint slowly. By doing this, you’re creating the cherry (the lit part of your joint that’s burning red). As you smoke it, the cherry will burn down the length of the joint.

Take Note: Watch the Burn

If you’ve packed your joint well and used quality papers, your joint should burn evenly. If one side starts burning faster (AKA. “canoeing”), you can slow it by adding a little moisture to the joint on that side. You can use a small dab of saliva or water. 

If too much time passes between hits, the cherry can go out. If you’re sharing a joint (with someone in your covid bubble ;)), the etiquette is that you keep it lit or relight it for the next person.

Joint Smoking Etiquette

  • Whoever rolls the joint, lights it.
  • Take slow, steady hits. 
  • Don’t be nasty and slobber on it.
  • Puff, puff, pass. Don’t babysit it.
  • Keep the cherry lit, and always ash before you pass.
  • Try not to exhale in anyone’s face. 

Other Options

Maybe a friend stops by with fresh flower, or maybe you want a quick hit before getting into a creative project. 

These options are good if you don’t want to go through the rolling process:

  • Pre-Rolls – Joints that are already rolled and ready for you.
  • Pipes – Classic pipes you can load your ground weed in.
  • Pens – A vape pen contains a loaded cartridge of THC or CBD liquid blends. A dab pen is loaded with a waxier THC/CBD concentrate. Ask your Dimes Budtender for more details.
  • Bongs – An old school classic. New more stylish options double as decor.

Need More Help Rolling a Joint?

Have questions about rolling? Choosing bud? Other smoking options? 

Our team of Budtenders is here to help. Come by for a visit, PM us on Instagram, or call us at 416-516-7250.

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