How to Roll A Joint Like A Professional

If you’ve decided that it’s finally time to learn how to roll a joint, or simply want to improve your joint rolling skills, you’ve come to the right place. A little background information on myself, I used to teach a joint rolling class three times a week and have taught thousands of people the way of the J during my tenure as a professional joint rolling instructor. Needless to say, I consider myself highly qualified to get you rolling. This guide will be longer and more in-depth than most that are out there, so without further delay, let’s get into the details.

Before you start, you’re going to need a few things:

  • Cannabis
  • A grinder - If you don’t have one, using your hands works too
  • Rolling papers - I recommend starting with standard sized papers rather than king sized ones
  • A flat surface to roll on
  • Crutch papers - You can find these at your local smoke shop or create one using a business card
  • Something to pack the joint with - I recommend using the flat end of a pen or a chopstick

joint rolling essentials

Step One: Get Your Grind On

Probably the simplest step, put however much cannabis you’d like to use into your grinder or through your fingers until it is all evenly grinded. I recommend starting with somewhere between one and two grams before getting more ambitious in your joint rolling ventures as well as ensuring that all stems are removed from your grinded cannabis. Leaving stems in invites the risk of a tear developing in your joint down the road, so it’s better to avoid that situation altogether by just taking them out.

Step Two: Creating a Crutch

For the uninformed, the word “crutch” in this article will refer to a piece of paper that serves as a filter and point of structural support for your joint. Putting a crutch in your joint will bolster airflow while minimizing the chance of any cannabis making its way into your mouth. An often overlooked step, the crutch of your joint has a much larger impact on how the finished product turns out than many people realize. While it is possible to roll a joint without a crutch, I find using a crutch to be easier as well as more consistent than the classic, crutchless method.

crutch filter for rolling joints

There are a variety of crutch rolling methods, but in my experience, I’ve come to prefer the “spiral method”, which I will now detail. Start my making the smallest fold you can on the end of your crutch paper, this will serve as a leverage point so you can roll into a spiral shape. Something to keep in mind while rolling your crutch is that, if rolled correctly, the circumference and size of your joint will reflect that of the crutch. For a larger joint, roll a looser spiral so that it expands into a larger crutch, and for a smaller joint, roll a tighter spiral so the circumference of your crutch is smaller. The best part about the spiral method is that is allows you to freely adjust the size of the crutch, at any point in the joint rolling process, you can tighten or loosen the crutch to better fit your joint.

spiral crutch for joint

Step Three: Pre-Rolling Preparations

Once your weed is ground and your crutch is created, you’re almost ready to roll. To start, you’ll want to place your crutch at either end of your rolling paper (make sure the adhesive strip is facing you). If you’re left handed, put it in the far right end, the opposite goes for those who are right handed. Next comes ones of my favorite parts, adding the weed. What you’ll want to focus on here is making sure that the cannabis is evenly distributed throughout the rolling paper, make filling it from where the crutch ends to at least ¾ through the entire paper (the rest can be packed into the joint towards the end of the process), this will ensure that no air pockets form within your masterpiece so that it can burn evenly and smoke less harshly.

crutch in a rolling paper

Until now, much of what I’ve taught you has been pretty standard, but this next part is where things get a little more innovative. The next step of your pre-roll prep is what I refer to as the packing step. What this step will accomplish is tightening the cannabis on the inside of your joint to that it burns more slowly and the joint itself appears more uniform in size. To do this, lightly pinch the two ends of the paper and rub them together between your fingers, if done correctly you’ll feel the cannabis compact within the paper. Move your fingers along the length of the joint until everything is uniformly packed. The goal is to make the circumference of the cannabis with the joint equivalent to the circumference of your crutch.

filling a jointpacking a joint

While packing the joint, you may notice some peaks and valleys in the contents of your joint, and here is where you can address them to roll the most aesthetically and functionally pleasing joint possible. For the low points, sprinkle in a little more cannabis over the area and pack it once again to ensure consistency. For high points, you can use your finger to lightly push the excess weed into a lower point or towards the end of your joint (away from the crutch) before proceeding to pack it once more until you are happy with your joint’s appearance. For perfectionists like myself, this step is crucial and grants a greater degree of control over the end product. Be sure not to overpack your joint, though, as it will significantly impact airflow in a negative way.

packed joint

Step Four: Get Rolling

The trickiest step, this is where people often find themselves frustrated, as it is where they typically mess up their progress. However, thanks to the crutch, this step should be much easier. Once your joint is sufficiently packed, roll the lower lip of the paper (the end closest to you) downward until it touches the crutch. From here, roll it upwards just a little bit so the the lower lip of paper becomes tucked behind the crutch. Once the lower lip is tucked behind the crutch, you’re in the clear. Rolling the side of the joint with the crutch will guide the rest of the paper, just make an effort to roll the other side evenly as well so your joint doesn’t become a cone (unless that’s what you’re going for), so take your time here and relax knowing that you’re all but done creating your masterpiece.

rolling a jointalmost rolled jointfreshly rolled joint

Once your joint is entirely rolled, it’s time to seal it. While many lift the lip of the joint to directly lick the adhesive strip, I prefer simply leaving it in place and licking along the adhesive strip from the outside, your saliva will permeate the thin rolling paper allowing you to seal your joint without running the risk of messing it up at the last step. With your joint sealed, you can choose to pack more into it by using the mouth of the joint to scoop up leftover cannabis and using a pen, chopstick, or whatever else you may have laying around to pack it down until the joint is filled to your liking.

finished joint

Parting Words

I didn’t become a professional joint roller overnight, and likewise, you shouldn’t expect your first creations to come out looking exactly like the pictures you’ve seen throughout this guide. However, I’ve never rolled a joint worse than my first and each time I roll, I improve. As such, every time you roll a joint with this method, you should find that the finished product will increase in quality each time as you figure out the kinks of the process and learn how to correct your own mistakes. Be on the lookout for an advanced joint rolling guide sometime in the future, in which I can go over some lesser known joint rolling styles and techniques. I hope this in-depth guide has been of help to you and, as always, keep it a mile high.


Travis A. Denver Co.
An accomplished scholar, researcher, athlete, writer, and editor, Travis is always aiming to keep himself on the forefront of content creation. Most of his free time is spent practicing mixed martial arts, hitting the slopes, or adventuring with his beloved canine companion, Fate.