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Mother Knows Best: How to Roll the Perfect Joint for Beginners

Do you love weed but have no idea where to start when it comes to twisting up a fatty? Our advice columnist has you covered with this handy 101 tutorial.

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Dear Mother,

I've been smoking cannabis for a while now, but one thing I've never really mastered is how to roll the perfect joint. I've always just gone for my trusty bowl or bong, but feel it's time to learn this skill. Do you know of any good resources where I can teach myself to become a joint rolling maestro?

— Joint Jealous

Dear JJ,

Have no fear! By the end of this, you should be well on your way to becoming a joint rolling genius. To start, practice is one of the many things you’ll need in order to master the joint, as the process is truly about muscle memory and repetition. The more joints you roll, the better you'll be!

The great thing about rolling a joint, is that you really only need three things. And even though there are a bunch of accessories out there that can help make it even easier, I prefer to stick to the basics: rolling paper, cannabis, and your fingers.

The first step is to break down your weed. While you can certainly do this with your fingers, I'd recommend investing in a quality metal grinder and using that instead. It will gently break down your nuggets to an even texture that will keep your joint nice and smooth. If you have finely-ground weed next to some small nugs in a joint, chances are it could burn unevenly (aka canoeing). Also, make sure to remove all stems pre-grinding, or else the same uneven burn could occur, plus it will be much harder to roll! Once fully broken down, pour your cannabis out onto a flat surface (a clean table works just fine, but there are also lots of joint rolling trays available for purchase).

Grab a sheet of rolling paper. While there are options from raw hemp to 24k gold, it honestly comes down to personal preference, and you can figure that out in your own time. If you're just starting out, buy some filter material (not the white filters for rolling tobacco), or make your own out of any type of thick paper that doesn’t have ink on it (think pieces of cigarette cartons, plain business cards, etc.). A good filter will help you roll a good joint.

Start by holding the paper lengthwise with the sticky side facing you. If you're a righty, carefully place the filter down on the far left side of the paper (and do the opposite if you're a lefty!). Then, sprinkle your cannabis evenly across the paper. Worth noting: adding some loose tobacco to the mix can help make the joint fuller, as well as burn better once you light up, though we obviously can’t recommend this for your health. Using your thumbs and pointer fingers, pinch the top of your paper together while gently and slowly rolling your cannabis back and forth, pushing it down into a skinny tube-like shape.

The last part is the one that seems to stump most people. Find the side of the paper closest to you and tuck it into the opposite side, over the filter, folding it rightly around the joint. Lick the gummy part of the paper, and — this is the important part — roll the whole joint into the sticky part, not the other way around! It can be hard to visualize, so check out the video below featuring MerryJane friend, Seth Rogen.

When you've mastered the above, then you just might be ready for the next level:

... but in the meantime, you need to practice nonstop before you can get there. We recommend buying a big bag of shake, two packs of rolling papers, and setting aside an hour or two. Sit down, grind all your weed, and practice again and again and again (and again) until the bag is empty and you’re sitting with a plate full of joints. Some will be better than others, but if you continue to make the effort, it will only be a matter of time until you’re rolling cross joints, cones, and all the fancy stuff. One last thing: don’t forget to pack your joint! If you can hold the bone in your mouth and flick it without the paper bending, it’s likely firm enough and ready to be sparked!

— Mother