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Blunts, Spliffs, and Joints: What to Know Before You Roll Up

The terms blunt, spliff, and joint are often used interchangeably, but they’re not quite the same. To make things a bit more complicated, pot lingo varies from place to place.

Here’s a look at what it all means in the United States.

Blunts are cigars that have had the tobacco removed and replaced with marijuana. They can also be rolled using tobacco leaf wrappers.

As for the name? It comes from the Phillies Blunt cigar brand.

According to various internet sources, blunts originated in New York as a method for smoking pot discreetly, among other things.

What to know

Here are some things to consider before you get out that tobacco leaf or hit the corner store for a blunt wrap:

  • Blunts containa lotmore pot.Cigars are a lot bigger than the average joint, which means they can hold a lot more pot. Smoking an entire blunt is roughly the equivalent of smoking six joints.
  • Cigars and their wrappers are highly toxic. Even if you remove the tobacco, high concentrations of cancer-causing nitrosamines and other toxins created during the fermentation process may remain. And because cigar wrappers are more porous than rolling papers, the burning is less complete, resulting in smoke that has higher concentrations of toxins.
  • You’re inhaling harmful toxins. All smoke is harmful to lung health, no matter what you’re inhaling. According to the American Lung Association, marijuana smoke contains a lot of the same toxins and carcinogens as tobacco smoke. Smoking pot usually involves inhaling deeper and holding large amounts of unfiltered smoke for longer. This exposes you to even more irritants and toxins that damage your lungs and airways.

A spliff is a blend of cannabis and tobacco, usually in cigarette rolling papers.

The word spliff is West Indian and is said to be a take on the words “split” — as in split the difference between weed and tobacco — and “whiff,” referring to the smell of the smoke. Or, perhaps, referring to how adding tobacco masks the smell of the pot.

What to know

Adding tobacco means less pot, which is good, right? Not necessarily.

Both marijuana and tobacco smoke can damage your lungs and increase your risk for several serious conditions. Adding tobacco to marijuana just means you’re getting the damaging effects of tobacco, too.

Here’s what you need to know before getting spliffy with it:

  • Smoking tobacco and weed together can increase your risk for addiction. There’s evidence that smoking marijuana with tobacco increases cannabis dependence symptoms. The two appear to balance out the negative symptoms caused by both. Smoked together, they also seem to enhance the enjoyable symptoms, such as relaxation. This makes a person less likely to notice the ill effects, and more likely to keep smoking.
  • Unfiltered tobacco smoke increases your risk for lung cancer and death. A recent study found that people who smoke unfiltered cigarettes are twice as likely to die from lung cancer and 30 percent more likely to die of any cause than smokers of filtered cigarettes. A spliff may contain less tobacco than a cigarette, but it’s still unfiltered tobacco smoke nonetheless.

Joints are the simplest of the bunch. They’re just ground marijuana rolled in cigarette papers. Sometimes people roll them with a crutch, which is basically just a stiffer bit of paper to hold the weed in place.

What to know

Unlike spliffs and blunts, which contain tobacco, joints contain nothing but cannabis and the paper it’s rolled in. The upside to smoking joints is that you’re not exposing yourself to tobacco or nicotine.

Still, they’re not much better for you:

  • Marijuana smoke can be just as harmful as tobacco smoke. Smoking marijuana irritates the lungs. People who smoke it often have the same breathing issues as tobacco smokers, such as chronic cough and frequent lung infections.
  • Smoking marijuana may cause air pockets in the lungs. According to the American Lung Association, smoking weed has been linked to the development of large air bubbles in the lungs and air pockets between both lungs and the chest wall in young to middle-aged adults who smoke a lot of pot.
  • Secondhand marijuana smoke may be more dangerous than directly inhaled smoke.Secondhand marijuana smoke contains a lot of the same toxins and carcinogens as directly inhaled smoke and may even contain more, according to some research.

You might argue that joints are better for you because there’s no tobacco in a joint, but the benefit is minimal.

There’s no safe way of smoking anything. Joints, spliffs, blunts, pipes, bongs — they all carry risks.

A blunt can be several things, depending on who you ask. We'll take a look at what it usually refers to and how it compares to a joint or spliff.

How to roll a blunt

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Contents

  1. What is a blunt?
  2. What you need to roll a blunt
  3. Step-by-step instructions for rolling a blunt
  4. Why people like blunts
  5. Why people hate blunts
  6. Bottom line

What is a blunt?

A blunt is similar to a joint, in that it is essentially a marijuana cigarette. But unlike joints, the defining feature of a blunt is that it is wrapped in a tobacco leaf paper, rather than a standard rolling paper. This feature provides many of the distinctive qualities of a blunt, including taste, smell, effect, and burn time.

The defining feature of a blunt is that it is wrapped in a tobacco leaf paper. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Within the cannabis community, blunts can be a bit polarizing. Some smokers are avid fans of blunts, essentially smoking nothing else, while others are turned off by the sometimes strong smells and tastes associated with the tobacco leaf wrap. Learning how to roll a perfect blunt takes practice, so if at first you don’t succeed, keep trying!

What you need to roll a blunt

To roll and smoke blunts like a pro you will need a handful of key components. Obviously, you will need your cannabis strain of choice. Since you’ll have to grind your bud before rolling your blunt, it is best to also have a reliable grinder. To keep your work space tidy, a rolling tray will also come in handy.

To roll and smoke blunts like a pro you will need a handful of key components. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Additionally, you will need rolling papers. Rolling papers are the most important element of a blunt, since the tobacco leaf wrap is the very definition of what makes a blunt a blunt. Selecting the right tobacco wrap is at the heart of rolling blunts, as blunt aficionados tend to be very loyal to one particular brand of tobacco wrapping paper, using their brand of choice almost exclusively.

There are two main ways to procure your tobacco wrapping paper. Traditionally, you purchase a pre-rolled cigar or cigarillo, empty out the contents, and then repurpose the tobacco wrapping paper by filling it with weed before re-rolling it into a blunt. Popular cigar and cigarillo brands include:

  • Swisher Sweets
  • Dutch Masters
  • Backwoods
  • White Owl
  • Phillies

The other type of blunt wrap is a tobacco leaf paper that comes as-is and is not a pre-filled cigar or cigarillo. Zig Zag Blunt Wraps are probably the most common wrap in this category.

Step-by-step instructions for rolling a blunt

Step 1: Grind your weed

Before you start rolling your blunt, it’s a good idea to complete a little prep work. Most importantly, that means having your weed ground up and ready to go. That way when you’ve broken down and cleaned out your wrap, you can move right into rolling your ground cannabis.

The best way to grind your weed is with a grinder. This tool gives you the most consistent grind, which translates into a smoother, more even burn. If you don’t have a grinder, carefully break apart your weed with your fingers. Shoot for picking it apart into small pieces that are more or less the same size. As you go, be as delicate as you can to minimize damage to the cannabinoid-rich trichomes.

Before you start rolling your blunt, grind your weed with a grinder. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Step 2: Select your wrap

As mentioned above, die-hard blunt smokers tend to define themselves by their wrap of choice. If you’re new to blunts, experiment with a handful of different brands. You might even want to test a flavored wrap. Enjoy figuring out which blunt wrap you like the best. Or, if you like a couple of different brands, feel free to switch things up according to how you’re feeling at the moment.

Step 3: Break down the wrap

The cleanest and most precise way to break down the wrap is to use a razor blade to split the cigar or cigarillo lengthwise down the middle. You can also use your hands; just be very careful that you break apart the wrapper without tearing it all the way through or cracking it. Once you’ve opened the cigar or cigarillo, simply empty out and discard the tobacco inside the wrap.

Once you’ve opened the cigar or cigarillo, simply empty out and discard the tobacco inside the wrap. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Step 4: Moisten the wrap

It’s a good idea to get the wrap slightly moist, as this makes the tobacco leaf more pliable and easier to work with. You can use either water or saliva for this. Some folks lick the blunt wrap while others use a paintbrush moistened with water. Whatever you do, don’t get it sopping wet — you don’t want the entire thing to disintegrate. Just moisten the wrap enough to make it easier to handle.

Step 5: Place weed in wrap

Hold the tobacco wrap in one hand, typically your non-dominant hand. Position your index fingers and thumbs in such a way that you form the wrap into a U-shaped trough. Now, grab a pinch of your ground-up marijuana and place it inside the tobacco wrap, forming a line that runs the full length of the wrap. Be sure you don’t overfill it—you still need enough space to wrap the tobacco leaf into a cylinder that completely encases the marijuana.

Grab a pinch of your ground-up marijuana and place it inside the tobacco wrap, forming a line that runs the full length of the wrap. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Step 6: Roll up your blunt

Use both hands to gently rock the wrapping paper back and forth. As you engage in this motion, you should be tamping down and evening out the marijuana. This technique will begin to shape your blunt into a cylinder that is uniform in thickness. When you’ve got the right shape formed, bring one edge of the wrap up and over the marijuana, and tuck it underneath the opposite side of the wrap. At this point, the wrap should completely encase the marijuana.

As you gently rock the wrapping paper back and forth, you should be tamping down and evening out the marijuana. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Step 7: Seal your blunt

Hold the edge of the wrap that is now on top of the other edge and use your tongue to dampen it. Lick the inside of the wrap and, when it’s moist, press it down on top of the other edge of the wrap. The moisture should make the tobacco stick to itself, thereby sealing the blunt shut. Be sure that the seam you just made is sealed along the entire length of the blunt.

Lick the inside of the wrap and, when it’s moist, press it down on top of the other edge of the wrap. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Finally, use a lighter and run the flame up and down along the seam. This dries out the tobacco and locks the seam into place so the blunt doesn’t fall apart when you’re smoking it.

Finally, use a lighter and run the flame up and down along the seam. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Step 8: Light up your blunt and enjoy

Now it’s time to light up one end of your blunt and pull the smoke through the other end. Enjoy!

Now it’s time to light up one end of your blunt and pull the smoke through the other end. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Why people like blunts

Many marijuana consumers have strong feelings about blunts. Those who love blunts tend to really love them. There are a handful of reasons why blunt lovers prefer this method of smoking above other methods:

  • Taste and smell – Many blunt fans enjoy the added tastes and smells that come from the tobacco leaf wrap. Aficionados often like mixing and matching wraps with different strains. Some blunt smokers also like experimenting with flavored blunt wrappers, introducing even more complexity to the taste and scent profiles of their smoking experience.
  • Slow burn – Blunts tend to burn a bit longer than standard joints, giving smokers an experience more akin to slowly puffing on a cigar or cigarillo.
  • Versatility – Compared to other, less mobile smoking methods, such as a bong or dabbing, blunts are incredibly versatile. You can easily and quickly roll one up anytime and anywhere, and they’re equally effective for solo and social smoking.
  • Effects – The tobacco leaf wrap introduces a new and often heightened sensation of feeling high. In fact, it’s fairly common for first-time blunt smokers to feel a bit overwhelmed by the combined tobacco-plus-cannabis buzz. But this is precisely the effect that many blunt fans want.

Why people hate blunts

Interestingly, the reasons some people love blunts are also the reasons other people hate blunts. Specifically, people who hate blunts tend to be turned off by:

  • The smell and taste of the tobacco wrap.
  • The sometimes harsh smoke produced by the tobacco wrap.
  • The additional “buzzy” effects typically produced by inhaling smoke from the tobacco wrap.

Bottom line

Blunts are excellent choices for cannabis connoisseurs who favor strong aromas and flavors accompanied by a slow burn and intense high.

How to roll a blunt Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is a blunt? What you need to roll a blunt Step-by-step instructions for rolling