How to Roll a Joint


Knowing how to roll a joint correctly is important. The right items must be used, and employing the correct rolling method will prevent the joint from falling apart. Patients with prescriptions for this dried herb know that it can be expensive, so making the most of each dose is beneficial to both the patient and his or her wallet. Also, improper rolling can make the smoking experience rough and feel harsh on the lungs. This guide provides all of the steps and tips necessary to roll a joint perfectly.

What You'll Need To Get Started

  • Thin card for making a roach
  • Rolling paper
  • Proper dose of dried herb
  • Sharp scissors

STEP 1: Prepare The Paper

Not all papers are made the same, and there are plenty of choices when it comes to size, style and material. Beginners should never opt for the cheapest possible papers, because the price typically reflects the quality. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to learn to roll a joint with cheap papers that tear easily. To start, use an entire paper if they are standard size. Over time, people become comfortable enough with rolling a joint that they can trim their papers down to size for smaller joints. As a rule, the joint will have a smoother flavor if burned paper constitutes less of its contents. For best results, choose a thin and fine paper. Wheat straw is a good choice to start with for paper type. People who have medical conditions that cause extremely shaky hands may want to start with two papers or ask someone for help with rolling.

STEP 2: Prepare The Dried Herb

When preparing the herbal mixture make sure to grind or break up the herbs to allow for a better smoking experience. Large clumps of herbs burn much more slowly and can cause 'harsh' hits. It's best to either use a grinder or scissors when preparing your herbs. 

STEP 3: Distribute Mixture In The Paper

Place the crumbled mixture in the paper carefully. Distribute it evenly along the center. Look for any pieces of stems or seeds. If there are any, dispose of them properly. These burn harshly and will only make the smoking experience unpleasant. The mixture should be fine and even enough that it will not produce indentations or bulges when rolled. Be sure to leave enough room on each side of the paper for the crutch and twisting of the top. People who want longer joints may stick two papers together, use a third where they meet for reinforcement and enjoy a longer joint. However, that is something to work toward after skills develop.

STEP 4: Prepare The Crutch

There are different options for crutches, but many people prefer to roll them separately, place them inside an unrolled joint and then roll a joint. Some people roll a joint and add the crutch afterward. This method is often more difficult and messy. When the crutch is rolled first and placed inside the joint, the result is almost always a much better fit. The crutch should be rolled tightly enough that it will not make the smoking experience rough, but it should also be wide enough that it will not clog. This may take a few tries to perfect, but every person will find the desired size he or she prefers with roaches in a short amount of time. Place the crutch at the bottom of the paper, and leave a little extra room for tapering and trimming.

STEP 5: Use Thumbs To Roll

Never hurry through the rolling process. Make sure the end that is being rolled inward to touch the mixture is the end that does not have adhesive gum. Start toward the middle. Go slow, and use both thumbs and forefingers. Use a very delicate touch to start, but let the thumbs make the rolling motions. The forefingers should be used to brace the joint. Roll outward and slightly toward the end opposite of the roach. Roll back and forth several times to pack the mixture together and develop a rounded shape. Slowly and delicately move the fingers along the joint toward the ends.

Trying to roll a joint too fast will result in tearing the paper or packing the mixture into one area. Keep in mind that it should be evenly distributed. Beginners may want to aim for a very straight joint to start. However, the ideal smoothness is achieved with a more conical shape. This technique is a little more difficult, and it requires developing a feel for rolling thickness. Working the mixture slightly toward the top is the goal. Practice it after several initial rolling attempts, but do not expect perfection when doing this for the first time.

STEP 6: Seal The Joint

Once the joint has been rolled tight enough that there are no bulges or depressions, it is time to seal it. Lick the adhesive strip carefully, but make sure there is not an abundance of saliva on the tongue when doing this. The paper should not be too wet, but it should be just wet enough to stick. After licking it, quickly but carefully run the index finger along the dry side behind where the paper was licked. Make sure it sticks to the round part of the joint when doing this. Run the finger back and forth a few times to ensure there are no spaces where it does not stick. Allow the sticky strip a few minutes to dry before lighting the joint.

STEP 7: Taper And Trim The Joint

Although these steps are after the process of rolling, they are still essential parts of learning to roll a joint properly. Lightly pinch the paper at the bottom around the crutch. Hold the joint at the crutch end lightly, and tap it on a hard surface a couple of times. Make sure the roach end touches the surface. The end that will be lit should always face upward. Holding the joint at the crutch end again, use the thumb and index finger to twist the paper at the opposite end. This will help pack the mixture in. Be sure to avoid squeezing it too tight, because this could cause the paper to tear. Use some sharp scissors to trim the paper around the roach end. Be careful not to cut the roach card itself. Cut only the paper protruding from the bottom of the roach end. When it is time to light the joint, cut the twisted part of the paper on the opposite end as well.

Helpful Tips

  • Printed crutch card material often comes with ink that emits poisonous fumes while burning, so choose a plain card product to be safe
  • For best results with a crutch, use a card product that is 1cm by 5cm
  • For freshest flavor and less likelihood of damage to joints, roll them at the time of use
  • When rolling, a rule of thumb to remember is that the joint is ready to be sealed when the mixture feels firm to the touch
  • For a more desirable smoking experience, spend some time researching reviews about available herbal blends

How To Roll A Joint Guide: What Is A Joint, Anyways?

A joint is a tightly-rolled piece of thin paper, which contains a mixture of smokable herbs. It is lit at one end, and the herbal mixture is inhaled into the lungs. There is typically a filter-like piece called a crutch at the bottom, which regulates the flow of smoke. 

Many people approach the process of learning to roll a joint with apprehension, but it is best to approach it with confidence. The first few attempts may seem to be the most difficult, but keep these tips and steps in mind to roll a joint perfectly as a habit. Just remember that nobody learned to roll a joint within a matter of minutes. People who are adventurous and enjoy learning additional techniques will also find there are other ways to roll a joint after developing some initial skills.

Have some more time on your hands? Learn how to dab or how to smoke a bong!

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