As cannabis vaping culture expands, some experienced users are lamenting the end of an era—the rolling era. Decades before marijuana went mainstream, there were only three major ways to get your ganja: joints, spliffs, and blunts. Many newbies entering the cannabis scene have only a hazy understanding of the differences between these iconic hand-rolled options. Indeed, many of the "vaporizer pen prejudiced" simply assume vaping is superior…even though they couldn't roll a joint to save their life!
So, what's the truth of the matter? Are joints, spliffs, and blunts really cumbersome relics of the past that aren't worth the effort? Is vaping seriously superior? Heck, what are the differences between these rolled options anyway?
People interested in learning more about these classic cannabis consumption methods should read through this quick cheat sheet. After detailing these three styles of smoking, we'll go over some of the surprising benefits and drawbacks of using each method. You'll also find a primer on basic rolling techniques below to help you on your joint journey.
Joints: The Old Standby
Why have joints become green standard in the cannabis world? Three words: simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. All you need to make one of these guys is ground cannabis flower and some type of thin rolling paper. As good ol' Leonardo da Vinci once said, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication," and, let's be honest, who could bet against that dude?
Traditionally, joint paper is either white or tan and traditionally was made out of wood pulp. Appearance-wise, joints look similar to a cigarette and measure about 3 inches depending on the paper you're using.
Luckily for cannabis consumers, there's a whole industry surrounding the manufacture of rolling paper nowadays. This means you could easily customize the flavor profile with specialized paper. Just a few of the wild flavored papers now on the market include maple syrup, tequila, and marshmallow. For those who only want to experience the natural terpenes of their chosen bud, you could always opt for neutral papers made of hemp, rice, or flax.
Spliffs: The Stimulating High
Most Americans are familiar with the term "joint," but it's unlikely even cannabis enthusiasts in the US have heard of spliffs. European cannabis users are far more likely to use spliffs…but, confusingly, they call "spliffs" "joints" and "joints" "spliffs." Leave it to those fancy pants Europeans to make a mess of everything, right?
OK, so what exactly is a spliff? To put it simply, the only difference between a spliff and a joint is that a spliff contains both cannabis and tobacco inside thin rolled paper.
Considering cigarettes are far more common in Europe compared with the USA, it makes sense that spliffs are more popular there. As pot legalization spreads on both sides of the Atlantic, however, cannabis consumers are more likely to experiment with both methods (and, hopefully, agree on universal definitions of these terms!).
Blunts: The Classy Option
Blunts mean business. Nobody in their right mind would roll a blunt "on the fly." No, no, no. These delicacies are meant to be savored during a long smoke session, preferably with a group of cool cannabis connoisseurs.
Like a joint, blunts are strictly filled with cannabis flowers. Unlike joints, blunts are encased in a cigar wrap. For this reason, many consider blunts the cigar of the cannabis world. Typically, people squeeze upwards of a gram into their blunts, which makes them the most potent of these three options.
Although standard blunts are made with cigar wraps or tobacco paper, there are few unique non-tobacco wrappers now hitting the market. For instance, some blunt-makers are using hemp-derived paper and even marijuana leaves. Obviously, these blunts appeal to people interested in experiencing a good hit without the effects of nicotine.
The Pros & Cons Of Rolled Methods
At this point, you may be wondering which of these three options is right for you. Let's go through a few key considerations to help you determine your preferred smoking method.
Convenient & Clean: Joints
For those looking for a clean hit of Mary Jane, joints are the way to go. Not only do joints offer you unadulterated cannabis, they are extremely easy to assemble on the go. This makes joints superb for people who want a quick, reliable smoke. Plus, since there are so many new rolling papers to choose from, you could easily add flavor enhancements to your joints.
The biggest drawback for joints, however, is they have a tendency for either burning up too fast or burning out. Usually, this occurs when inexperienced users roll their weed too tightly or too loosely. You might also experience these issues if your marijuana is too wet.
Uplifting & Mess-Free: Spliffs
The main draw of smoking a spliff is to take advantage of the nicotine present in tobacco. Ironically, that's also the major drawback of smoking spliffs.
On the plus side, nicotine has a stimulating effect that some users claim nicely contrasts the couchlock effects of indica strains. Interestingly, some consumers even say the buzz from nicotine intensifies energizing sativa-heavy strains.
Plus, since there's both cannabis flower and tobacco in a spliff, the burning is far more even than a joint. This makes spliffs less likely to burn out and need relighting.
Obviously, the main con with using spliffs is they have the highest nicotine content of all three choices. People with lung issues or who want to avoid the adverse health effects of nicotine might wish to to avoid spliffs.
Long-Lasting & Shareable: Blunts
Blunts are the best of the bunch for brunch. OK, you might not want to light up your blunt during brunch, but you should definitely give these guys a go during long smoke sessions with friends. Since blunts can hold so much weed, they're exceptional for group sharing.
Indeed, a nice feature about blunts is you could cram a whole lotta cannabis in there. Without a doubt, blunts pack a stronger punch compared with joints and spliffs. Some users also appreciate the subtle uplifting notes from tobacco.
On the negative side, blunts take a bit longer to prepare and they aren't exactly stealthy. Also, there's that residue from tobacco that will irk folks who don't want nicotine. While there's not as much tobacco in a blunt as in a spliff, you will definitely notice it.
To Vape, Or To Smoke…Is That Even A Question?
In our technophilic 21st century, we often assume vaping cannabis is always better than smoking. After all, vaping is so much healthier because it removes all that nasty tar, right? Well, yes, that is true, but does that make vaping "better."
Honestly, choosing between vaping and smoking is a personal call. Some people say they prefer the harsher, yet earthier, flavors from a joint rather than the mellow notes from a vaporizer. Also, some diehard smokers say they enjoy the convenience of just lighting up and tossing away a joint rather than loading, charging, and cleaning up a vape pen.
On the flipside, vape pens are superb for people who travel a lot and/or want to smoke stealthily in public settings. Even K9 units will have trouble picking up those dank odors as you puff your pen.
Vape pens are undoubtedly better for people with pre-existing respiratory issues because they remove many impurities. Just be sure you get a high-quality vape pen made from a material like titanium. There are many "affordable" vape pens on the market that contain harmful toxins and heavy metals that could do even more damage to your body than a properly rolled joint.
The Art Of Rolling A Joint
Yes, you could be lazy and purchase pre-rolled joints, but there's a special satisfaction in knowing how to roll one by yourself. Here are some basic steps to keep in mind while rolling your first joint (or spliff):
Grind well-dried cannabis either in a grinder or with scissors.
Place about a half gram of this cannabis in the center of your paper with the glued side up.
Shape and roll your paper to ensure the cannabis is distributed evenly.
Lick the glue side of the paper and slowly attach it to the other side. This should create a cone.
Pat the cannabis in before twisting the open top of your joint.
Light up and enjoy!
Most people who make joints also make what's known as a "crutch," which is basically a filter made out of a small piece of cardboard. Paper companies usually provide this cardboard cutout for you to fold and roll before attaching it to the left side of your paper. The biggest benefit of using a crutch is that it provides you with extra stability.
A Beginner's Guide To Blunt Rolling
Spliff and joint-rolling are quite similar, but rolling a blunt is another story. Here's the basic method for rolling a blunt with a cigar wrapper:
Grind up about one gram of cannabis.
Cut a cigar in a straight line down the center and remove the tobacco. You could use sharp fingernails, but it's often better to use a knife or scissors to complete this step.
Spread your cannabis evenly throughout the cigar container.
Lick the sides of the cigar leaf and gently press them together.
Run a flame across the sides of your blunt to seal the container before lighting the end.
Let It Roll
As you could see, there are some pretty significant differences between joints, spliffs, and blunts. One thing all of these methods share, however, is they are tried and tested methods used by countless cannabis fans over the centuries. Yes, vaporizers have their impressive advantages, but these newfangled devices can't claim the same legacy rolled methods have in the mythos of marijuana. So, go ahead, roll a joint, and partake in the glorious legacy of ganja culture!