'I can't roll a joint" rings up 39 million results on Google, meaning that despite the plethora of advice forums, how-to videos and devices like rolling machines, there's a ton of folks who just can't get the knack.
Query "how to roll a joint" and you get 173 million results, each seemingly with its own twist. You can cheat with a pen or cigarette; use a credit card to tuck in the edge of the paper; think of it as folding, not rolling; start rolling from the inside, rather than the outside ends. Are you using a roach? Use that to help. Rapper Wiz Khalifa even shares the "boat method" from a hot tub in one famous video, viewable at tiny.cc/ba1owx.
So where do you even start? For tips, we talked to representatives of several dispensaries and marijuana businesses, including Briargate Wellness, Canna Caregivers and Speak Easy Vape Lounge. At Speak Easy, a recent "canna-lympics" event actually included a best-joint category. Owner Jaymen Johnson has competed in a variety of such events, but even he says it's no easy business rolling one up.
"[I've had] many years of failed attempts, or less-than-desirable, I should say," Johnson recalls. "[But] I can do it blindfolded now, and they come out cigarette-perfect cylindrical shape."
In various conversations, a couple themes emerge. For one: Take your time. Like, be deliberate in rolling the thing, then practice. No two ways about that one — you gotta do the time.
Two: Make sure your product is free of sticks and seeds. (Some people use grinders.) Then, to get that all-important first tuck, well, find what works for you (see above), but make sure it's good and tight. No amount of rolling afterward will make up for tension that slipped away at the beginning.
In our demonstration below, you'll see our technique, wherein you simply make the space you'll need later.
1. Some sources are particular about the paper they use. Zig Zag is popular, but RAW organic hemp papers are well-regarded.
2. Grind your bud and remove any sharp pieces. Pour it into a paper (we added an extra fold so it's more of a trough) with the adhesive strip facing you. Don't overfill, and if product drops out the side, just let it fall.
3. Make a little indentation in the pile in the middle, and then start rolling the trough back and forth with your fingers and thumbs, applying some pressure and moving the weed about so it becomes an even cylinder. Try to cover the full surface of the J with your fingers, so it's getting even pressure throughout.
4. Now the tricky part: Getting the first tuck. Again, thinking of it as folding and not rolling, we got ours to stay, ever so carefully. In another test we tried tucking from the center outward, and that worked well, too.
5. Roll up, keeping the tension you established. Lick the adhesive (go easy) to seal.
6. Voila. Johnson advises sucking on both ends before lighting, to see which has the best airflow. Even the most uniform joint will have product lying in a certain direction, so take advantage of that.
Many of the places we approached, like The Herban Farmer, will happily demonstrate rolling for patrons seeking in-person instruction. And if all this is still for naught, rolling machines are very effective and available for cheap at any head shop or gas station.