Smokable Cannabis 101: How to Roll a Joint

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Rolling joints is half art, half skill, and a lot of patience. While learning how to roll joints can be a frustrating process, once you get it down, it’s a handy tool to have in your toolbox. It can also be relaxing and fun. One of my favorite things to do after a long day is sit down and roll up medicine for the upcoming days. Many patients turn it into an art hobby- creating all sorts of different types of rolls and designs.

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What You’ll Need

  • Ground Medicine - Make sure to grind your cannabis evenly, picking out any stems or pieces that could poke holes in your paper. Most patients typically use 1/2 gram - 1 gram per joint.

  • Rolling Papers - There are a variety of papers available. I prefer hemp based as they burn more evenly.

  • Filter (optional) - You can make your own by rolling up a small piece of cardboard/index card, opt for pre-made, or use glass tips.

Choose Your Rolling Method

By Hand

First off, this is going to take practice. So, while you are practicing to learn to roll by hand, get yourself a rolling machine to roll one easily and smoke yourself through it. Trust me.

Secondly, I was originally going to take a bunch of photos and painstakingly try to lay this out for you it struck me that Leafly has probably already done so and guess what - they did!

Check out their post - with videos! - on how to roll by hand.


Leafly Visual Example on How to Roll by Hand

Tips for Rolling Joints by Hand

  • Work over a rolling tray or piece of paper to keep things clean and avoid losing any medicine.

  • Patience makes perfect. Take your time and practice.

  • Don’t be too timid. You’ll rip some papers as you learn, but rolling timidly can result in a loose unsmokable roll.

  • Make sure you maintain an even pressure as you roll. A joint that is packed too tightly or too loose will not burn.

  • Be mindful to keep an even shape, this takes more practice than anything, but will keep your joint from running and burning awkwardly.

  • When rolling by hand let your filter hang out a little bit, once done rolling push it into the joint to ensure a flushed packed seal.

  • Don’t oven moisten your gum or you are apt to rip the paper.

  • If you rolled a shitty joint rip it open and start over. Don’t waste meds trying to smoke it.

Rolling Machine

While I quite enjoy rolling by hand and encourage all patients to learn to do so, a rolling machine will produce a perfect joint every time and is a GREAT option for patients with arthritis or other fine motor skill difficulties. It’s also a hell of a lot faster.

  1. If you are using a filter place it into an opened rolling machine and slide all the way to one side. Load the rolling machine with your ground herb.

  2. Close your machine by pushing together both pins/cylinders (most will click), making sure that all the ground medicine is inside. I use a metal grinding card or credit card to push down any flower poking through. Roll both cylinders toward you while gradually increasing pressure, making sure the track of the machine stays taut. This will roll your flower into shape.

  3. With the gum side of the paper on top and facing you, insert your rolling paper into the rolling machine and roll both cylinders until the paper slips in between. Roll the machine until the gummed edge reaches the machine line.

  4. Moisten the edge, finish rolling, and open to reveal a sealed joint.

  5. If the flower is loose at the open end of your joint pack with a tool (or anything). You can close the joint by twisting the paper.


Filling a cone isn’t really rolling, but it is a great option for someone who is still learning, when you are on the go, or when you just really don’t feel like messing with anything else.

  1. Holding the cone in one hand, fill with ground cannabis flower, packing down with the included straw or tool of your choice as you go.

  2. Be mindful to pack down your bud evenly, you don’t want it too tight or too loose.

  3. Once filled, twist the top closed, light, and enjoy.

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