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How to Roll a Joint: Your Complete Beginners Guide

For many cannabis fans, there’s only one way to enjoy our favorite leafy green: In an expertly packed joint. Simple and intuitive to use—and tailor-made for sharing with friends—the joint may be the quintessential cannabis delivery system.

There’s just one problem: For many of us, it’s a real challenge to roll a perfect (or even an adequate) joint.

We can help! While there are plenty of other ways to enjoy cannabis, learning how to roll a perfect joint isn’t actually that hard and simply takes a little practice. In today’s post, we’ll share our tips for the best ways to roll a joint, along with an easy-to-follow instructional video that will guide you through step by step. By the end, you should have more than enough information to craft a beautifully rolled joint of your own!

Why Smoke or Inhale Cannabis?

If you came of age before the advent of vapes, edibles, and other novel forms of cannabis, you’ll recall the days when there was only one way to access cannabis: by smoking it. And while these days you can use a vape pen instead, inhaling the active ingredients in cannabis offers a number of advantages.

For one thing, ingesting cannabis through inhalation is still the fastest way to access it. Whereas consuming cannabis as an oral solution, soft gel, or tablet is highly efficient in some regards, the onset time—essentially, how long the cannabis requires to take effect—is generally in the 30- to 90-minute range. By way of comparison, inhaled cannabis generally needs between 1 and 10 minutes to take full effect.

Marijuana leaf and paper towel rolled with seeds on wooden table

Then there’s the question of bioavailability, or what proportion of the cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, your body can actually access. While the subjective effects of consuming cannabis orally can feel quite intense—in large part due to THC being metabolized into a more powerful form known as 11-hydroxy-THC—the bioavailability is actually fairly low, ranging between 4% and 12%.

By way of comparison, bioavailability via inhalation is roughly 10% – 35%. This means that your body has far greater access to the cannabinoids that are, after all, the major active ingredients in the cannabis plant. And while that certainly isn’t the only factor to consider—some of us find inhaling smoke irritates our airways and lungs, for instance—the rapid action and high bioavailability of inhaled cannabis are two major reasons to consider this ageless method of consumption.

How to Roll a Joint: Gather the Supplies

With that introductory information safely out of the way, let’s turn to the heart of today’s guide: How to roll a perfect joint. Before you begin, gather your supplies so that everything you need is close at hand:

  • Rolling papers
  • Crutch or filter
  • Grinder
  • Rolling tray

Rolling Papers

First things first: There are a few different styles and sizes to choose from when it comes to choosing your desired joint size. A smallish joint holds about a third- to a half-gram of ground cannabis flower, or a bud roughly the size of a quarter.

A “standard” joint holds between half a gram and a single gram of flower, while king-size joints hold roughly twice as much. Most standard joints are rolled using what’s known as “single wide” rolling papers, which are roughly 2.75” x 1.4”. Especially if you’re new to rolling, it’s a good idea to stick with this tried-and-true format until you get the hang of it.

While there’s no end of rolling paper options, many joint rollers prefer to use natural, unbleached materials such as rice or hemp paper. No matter what material your rolling paper is made from, it will typically have a narrow strip of gum on one end to help it seal when moistened.

Crutch or Filters

Many joints include a rolled-up piece of paper or other material inserted into one end. This simple device—known as a crutch or filter—makes it easy to hold the joint by this end and prevents burning embers from entering your mouth.

Many joint rollers roll up little strips of paper or cardboard as crutches, while others use small wooden or glass pre-made crutches—even a piece of fusilli-style pasta could do the trick in a pinch! You can also buy packs of filter paper that are size-appropriate and ready to be rolled up for your joint.


Another piece of equipment you may want to invest in before learning how to roll a joint is a grinder. Whether a simple two-piece unit or a more elaborate electric model, the idea is the same: To gently reduce the cannabis flower in size until it’s a consistent, uniform, and easily rolled shape and texture.

Alternately, you can grind the cannabis flower with a kitchen knife and cutting board, though the results won’t be quite as even as with a purpose-made grinder.

Rolling Tray

Finally, you’ll probably want a flat, shallow container, such as a rolling tray, with which to set up your workstation and contain any stray bits of cannabis. In a pinch, you can use a spare plate or baking sheet.

Rolling the Perfect Joint: Your Step-By-Step Guide

Cannabis oil and seeds on a table
  1. Grind the flower
  2. Fold the crutch
  3. Sprinkle the ground cannabis into your rolling paper
  4. Roll the joint
  5. Gently pack the cannabis and twist to close

Now that you’ve got all your materials together, it’s time to get to work!

  1. Grind the flower
    Begin by grinding an appropriate amount of fresh cannabis flower. The goal isn’t to reduce the material into a fine powder, but rather to create an even-sized grind that will roll consistently and easily. Once you’ve ground your flower, carefully dump it out onto your rolling tray or other workspace.
  2. Fold the crutch
    Now it’s time to fashion your crutch. One easy way to go about it is to source a strip of rectangular paper or cardboard. Carefully fold the short edge three times into a “W” shape, keeping in mind that the height of the “W” will determine the diameter of the finished joint. When you’ve formed the “W,” wrap the remaining paper around it. Looking through your crutch, you should see a “W” surrounded by an “O.”
  3. Sprinkle the ground cannabis onto your rolling paper
    Now it’s time to start rolling! Take a single rolling paper with the glue side—you’ll recognize it by its slightly shiny edge—facing up and towards you. Place your crutch on one end so that its outside edge meets the end of the paper.
    Holding the crutch in place with one hand, use the other to scoop up the ground cannabis and sprinkle it evenly up and down the length of the rolling paper. If you’re a fan of cone-shaped joints, spread slightly less cannabis at the crutch end and more at the top end.
  4. Roll the joint
    Once the cannabis is more or less evenly sprinkled along the length of the joint, pinch both ends of the joint with either hand and begin gently rolling the paper back and forth around the cannabis to pack and compress it into a loosely packed cylinder.
    Beginning at the crutch end, tuck in the unglued edge of the rolling paper into the crutch, then slowly roll the paper up around the ground cannabis, tucking in the edge as you go. Continue rolling up the paper until you’ve reached the glued edge, lick the glue just enough to moisten it, and then press it down carefully to form a seal.
    If you’ve worked slowly and carefully, you should have a cylindrical (or slightly cone-shaped) joint that’s more or less even along its longer edge. It’s okay if it doesn’t look perfect the first (or second, or third!) time around; like anything else, learning how to roll a perfect joint takes patience and practice!
  5. Gently pack the cannabis and twist to close
    Stand up the joint crutch side down and gently tap it on your rolling tray or other flat surface to compress the ground cannabis; alternately, you can use a single chopstick or other round implement to carefully tamp down the cannabis. When you’ve created a small void at the upright end of the joint, twist up the rolling paper to seal in the cannabis until you’re ready to smoke it.
    Here’s a handy reference video to help guide you on the full step-by-step process:

Enjoying a Perfectly Rolled Joint: The Convenience of Pre-Rolls

We hope this guide has shed light on the question of how to roll a perfect joint. Even more, it’s our goal that this how-to helps put a little bit of fun into an activity that’s meant to spark joy, not frustration! But if it’s just a bit too hard to learn how to roll a joint, beginners have an easier option right at their fingertips: Purchasing pre-rolled joints.

Expertly rolled, convenient, and cost-effective pre-rolled joints are among the hottest sellers at our family of dispensaries. Perfectly packed and available in seemingly every style and potency, they’re a great way to enjoy fresh cannabis flower when you want a joint without having to roll it yourself.

Get Rolling with Green Goods Today

If you’re ready to get rolling in Maryland or Minnesota, the nearest Green Goods location is just a click away! We have everything you need to get started, along with a supportive and experienced team to offer tips and tricks for creating your very own perfectly rolled joints.

And if you have any other questions about how to roll a joint—or any other cannabis-related topics—just drop us a line. We’re always here to help!