Photography by Jonathan Coward for Herb
It’s not how the joint looks, it’s how it burns. Getting a joint to burn properly—slowly, evenly—can be difficult and mystifying, even for veteran joint rollers. But learning to roll a joint that burns this way will not only improve your smoking experience but save you cannabis that would otherwise go up in smoke. Sometimes, rolling a slow-burning joint is as easy as choosing the right product and preparing it correctly. But sometimes, you can introduce other products—like honey, or shatter—to slow down the speed at which your joint burns.
Try these simple techniques to make your joints burn slower.
Curing is the stage of cannabis cultivation that directly follows drying. This is when your freshly dried cannabis is stored in air-tight jars for a prolonged period of time, which helps to rid the cannabis of excess substances that affect the way it will smoke. Think of it like the cannabis version of aging wine.
The length of time in which cannabis flower is cured will affect how slowly and evenly it burns. Uncured or under-cured cannabis may still be too wet to burn properly, meaning you’ll likely end up wasting most of your joint just trying to get it lit. On the other hand, cannabis that is too dry will burn extremely quickly. The trick is finding cannabis that’s cured for just the right amount of time. If you can find well-cured cannabis, your joints are sure to burn more slowly and evenly.
Cannabis that isn’t properly ground, can have a significant impact on the way that your joint burns. If you haven’t ground your cannabis enough, for example, the large chunks of cannabis flower will be difficult to light and lead to an extremely uneven smoke. Just like trying to smoke cannabis that’s too moist, if you’re trying to smoke a joint of improperly ground cannabis, you’ll likely waste a lot of the joint just trying to keep it lit. Another problem you may run into is having your joint burn unevenly, where little holes form in the sides of your joint, or where only one side of the joint burns (known as “canoeing”.)
To grind your cannabis properly, choose a sturdy grinder that evenly grinds your flower so that all of the little bits of cannabis are about the same size. You should be left with a pile of fluffy looking, finely ground cannabis. Just make sure that your cannabis isn’t too finely ground to the point where it looks like powder. If your cannabis is too finely ground, it can also stifle the airflow of your joint. Your ground cannabis shouldn’t resemble little green pebbles, nor fine green sand. Aim for somewhere in-between.
Choosing the right rolling papers can make a big difference in the speed at which your joint burns. The general rule to follow here is that the thicker the paper, the faster your joint will burn. Therefore, avoid thick rolling papers that resemble what you might find wrapped around a cigarette. Look for the words “thin” or “ultra-thin” on the packages of your rolling papers.
The material of the rolling paper will also play a role in how your joint smokes. The best rolling papers are those made out of hemp. Not only because it means you’ll technically be smoking cannabis rolled in cannabis. But because hemp rolling papers will burn slower, more evenly, and go out less. RAW rolling papers are a popular brand among joint enthusiasts, as they’re both thin and made out of hemp.
Using hash oil won’t just make your joints burn slower. It’ll also get you higher. After you’re done filling your rolling paper with ground cannabis, try dropping some hash oil on top evenly throughout the joint. Or, if your hash oil is particularly sticky, you can try spreading it along the inside or outside of the paper with your dabber, like butter on toast. Whether you spread your hash oil on the inside or outside of your joint is a personal preference. Either way, the hash oil’s thick, sticky consistency is sure to slow down the burn rate of your joint. Just be careful—as previously mentioned, adding hash oil to your joint will also significantly boost its potency. If you do add hash oil to your joint, it’s recommended that you smoke less of the joint than you would normally, wait at least 15 minutes, and if you’re not as high as you’d like to be, continue smoking the rest.
Some cannabis enthusiasts swear by honey as the perfect sticking agent to keep your blunt wraps from uncoiling mid-toke. But what about using honey in a regular joint?
Due to its thick and sticky consistency, adding honey to a regular joint can help slow down the amount of time it takes for your joint to burn. Many also report that it can add a sweet, enjoyable flavor to your joint. The trick to adding honey to your joint is moderation. If you douse your joint in honey to the point where your rolling paper is sopping wet, sticky, and floppy, you’ve obviously added too much. Stick to the mantra “less is more.”
Simply drizzle a thin line of honey into your rolling paper before adding in your cannabis. Then, using your finger or a butter knife, gently spread the honey evenly across the inside of your paper. This should leave a thin layer of honey on the inside of your rolling paper. Then, add your cannabis and roll your joint up like normal.
Another option is to roll the joint first, then roll the outside of the joint in a thin layer of honey. Many people do this, and then roll the sticky outer surface of their joint in kief or more ground cannabis. This can certainly add style points to your joint, as well as slowing down the smoking time. Just be sure not to spread the honey too far down the joint to the part where you’ll be holding on with your fingers. If you do this, you will end up with sticky, disgusting fingers.
If you have too much air flowing through your joint, it will cause it to burn quickly and unevenly. Therefore, rolling your joints tightly will improve their burn. In order to roll a tight joint, you’re going to want to take your time with the “packing” stage of joint rolling. This is when your cannabis is already sprinkled inside your rolling paper, and you proceed to rub the two sides of the paper up back and forth against each other so that the cannabis inside the paper begins to form a tight log shape. Once you have this tight log of ground cannabis inside the paper, it’s time to roll it up. Bring the side of the paper closest to you all the way down until the top of the paper is flush with the top of the cannabis log inside the paper. Then, use your one thumb to tuck the top of the paper over the cannabis, and your other thumb to roll the paper upwards, completing the joint.
Doing this properly is simply a matter of practice. There is no mystical secret to rolling a nice, tight joint. You just have to practice, practice, practice. Here’s our guide to rolling a perfect joint.
Just be careful not to roll your joint too tightly. If your joint is too tight, it will prevent any airflow, meaning you will have a difficult time inhaling any smoke.