The popularity of vaporization has left little time for conversation on the art of rolling. However, this minimalist, easily accessible, tried-and-true consumption method still reigns supreme globally. The creative potential and skill required to craft a functional roll is celebrated among many cannabis enthusiasts.
Defining joints, blunts, and spliffs
If you’re new to cannabis, there are three broad categories that rolls fall under: joints, blunts, and spliffs. Each can be defined by their content (cannabis-tobacco ratio) as well as the rolling material, tobacco, hemp, etc.
What is a joint?
Joints are arguably the most iconic way to consume cannabis. Small and portable, you can take them anywhere and spark up where you please.
They consist of cannabis rolled up inside a thin rolling paper that is usually white, but novelty papers come in all colors and flavors. Papers can be big, small, made out of hemp, rice, paper, etc. There are all kinds of variants.
Joints often have a crutch, or filter, which adds stability to the roll and allows you to smoke your joint to the end without burning your fingertips.
The interior of a joint is exclusively marijuana. No extra stuff in here, man! It can be whatever strain you choose, but it is always and only marijuana. And just so you aren’t completely confused by all the weird and wonderful weed terms out there, let’s compare the joint to another stoner mainstay — the spliff.
A spliff is similar to a joint (some might say identical), but it contains both marijuana AND tobacco, and, therefore, should not be used to refer to a joint. So when you add tobacco to your bud and wrap it in paper, you’ve transmogrified you’re joint into a spliff.
Tah dah! Bet you didn’t even know you could do magic. But wait! We’re getting off track. We’ll go over spliffs in detail later on in the article. Now, we’ll get back to the topic at hand: blunt, joint, spliff.
This is where the major difference between blunt, joint, and spliff occurs. A joint is rolled in some form of rolling or cigarette paper. These papers can be composed of widely different materials including the classic wood-pulp to the more exotic rice to the “duh, why didn’t I think of it before” hemp.
Each type and brand of paper has different properties including, thickness, size, flavor, “rollability”, and burn length. Brand names include Zig-Zag, Randy’s, Club, Bambu, Elements, Raw and our personal favorite, NoGlu.
Back in the day, joints were always white or light tan. It wasn’t that we were somehow prejudiced against other colors (cannabis has always been a very inclusive culture). That’s just how the rolling papers were made.
We took what we could get because we really didn’t care what the outside looked like—we were going to burn it anyway. It was always about what was on the inside.
Flash forward 50 years, and most rolling papers—and by extension, our joints—are still white or light tan…for the most part. Now, rolling papers come in all sorts of psychedelic colors, so your joint can be gold, gray, polka-dotted, or even clear (for that voyeur inside us all).
Most rolling papers are about 3 inches long. When rolled, they typically resemble a cigarette. That said, they can be thinner or thicker depending on the paper used and how much marijuana you pack inside. As you’ll see when we dissect the blunt in the next section, size does matter (sorry, we couldn’t resist).
The flavor of a joint will come from the strain used to roll it rather than the paper. This is because most rolling papers are flavorless. That allows you to experience the full taste of your Fruity Pebbles without the paper getting in the way.
That said, while most papers are indeed flavorless, some flavored varieties can be found.
What is a blunt?
A blunt is a roll with cannabis inside a cigar or blunt wrap. These wraps are made out of tobacco, which adds a buzz and energy to your cannabis high.
Typically, they’re bigger than joints and last a lot longer.
Like a joint, the interior of a blunt is strictly marijuana. Whether it’s a blunt or a joint doesn’t depend on the strain inside, just that it’s exclusively marijuana. A blunt or a joint mixed with anything else is not a blunt or a joint and should be referred to by a different name.
Again, this is where the major difference between a blunt and a joint occurs. A blunt is made by filling a piece of tobacco paper with your choice of marijuana. Alternatively, a blunt can be created with a cleaned-out cigar wrap. Cigar wraps are typically made from compressed tobacco leaf.
And while we’re on the subject of cigars, cigar wraps, and blunts, there’s a huge debate about hand-rolling vs. machine-rolling. Honest Blunts are rolled by a machine. That allows us to ensure that every Honest Blunt lives up to our exacting standards.
And really, it’s not about who or what rolls the blunts. It’s about what they’re made of. We use only the best bud and the best organic-processed hemp-leaf wrappers to build our blunts. Nothing cheap and no fillers. That’s the Honest Marijuana way.
It reminds us of the legend that the best Cuban cigars were hand-rolled on the thighs of virgins. What does that do? Absolutely nothing. The hand-rolled angle was just a way to make that particular cigar stand out. It didn’t contribute to the quality or the taste. What was inside did that.
We’ll put our machine-rolled Honest Blunts up against any hand-rolled blunt out there, and we’ll guarantee that “hand rolling” won’t make a lick of difference in the quality, the taste, or the experience.
Blunts are brown, and that’s all you get. No wacky colors or fun prints. Just the dull brown color of dirt or mud. But really, that’s okay, because the contrast between the brown wrapper (whether it’s tobacco, cigar, or hemp) and the green ganja makes each and every blunt a thing of beauty. You might even call it a work of weed art!
So why is this important to our discussion of blunt, joint, and spliff? Because color sets the three apart. Joints are rarely brown (unless you go out of your way and pay through the nose to get brown rolling paper), and blunts are never white, gold, or — god forbid — polka dot.
Like joints, blunts can range in size. Because they use wrap or paper meant for cigars, they are almost always longer and thicker than the typical joint. While the length doesn’t vary all that much, the thickness can fluctuate depending on the amount of marijuana packed inside.
Some like their blunts packed full so that they resemble a commercial cigar. Some like their blunts packed less than full so that they resemble a drinking straw. Regardless of the size, it’s what’s on the outside — tobacco paper or cigar wrap — that makes a blunt a blunt.
The flavor of a blunt will be affected by the type of exterior wrapping you use. At the most basic, a tobacco flavor will be mixed in with the flavor of the strain you choose. Sometimes this is good. Sometimes it is bad.
It may take some experimentation to find the right strain to mix with the blunt wrapper of your choice (if you roll your own, of course). A better option is to let the professionals construct your blunt for you. That way, you’ll be guaranteed to get the freshest, most flavorful, longest-burning blunt possible.
What is a spliff?
A spliff is like a joint, but it has tobacco and cannabis mixed together in a rolling paper. They usually have more tobacco than a blunt, so will have even more of the energetic, buzzy effects of tobacco. Spliffs usually have crutches too.
Spliff smokers can alter the ratio of cannabis and tobacco to their preference—lots of cannabis with a little tobacco, lots of tobacco with a little cannabis, or somewhere in between.
Just like blunts and joints, spliffs contain marijuana. But unlike blunts and joints, spliffs are not all marijuana inside.
Instead, spliffs contain a combination of marijuana and tobacco. Most spliffs — be they store-bought or DIY — don’t contain more than 50 percent tobacco because, really, if you wanted more tobacco than weed, just buy a cigarette.
So with the addition of tobacco into the mix, you can see why it’s essential that you use the correct term for what you’re going to smoke. Imagine this conversation between you and your crush:
You: “Hey, bae. Wanna smoke a spliff wiff me?”
Them: “Nah. That tobacco stuff’ll kill you! You tryin’ to make me sick? Don’t talk to me anymore!”
You: “Wait! No tobacco in my smoke. Just weed.”
Them: “That’s a joint, you tool! I can’t be with someone who doesn’t know the diff b/w a joint & a spliff! I’m out.”
You: “Please don’t go.”
Them: “Too late. Friend zone.”
So sad. If only you’d used the correct term when you had the chance. You’d be high with your crush by your side right now instead of flying solo again. Word choice is important, boys and girls.
While the interior of a spliff puts it squarely in its own category, the exterior of a spliff looks very similar to that of a joint.
That’s because spliffs are rolled in your choice of — wait for it — rolling paper, just like a joint. In fact, joints and spliffs may look exactly alike from the outside, so it’s critical to know what’s inside (and refer to it correctly) before you smoke.
Just like joints, the color of a spliff depends on the type of rolling paper you choose.
Most spliffs will be white or light tan. But there’s no reason you can’t go wild and wrap your weed/tobacco mix in a fancy color if the feeling strikes you.
The size of your spliff depends on the size of the rolling paper you choose. Most spliffs will be about three inches long and the same thickness as your typical joint.
Some sources like to claim that a spliff is (or should be) bigger or smaller than a regular joint and that that’s how you can tell them apart. To that we call B.S. Here’s why.
Let’s say you set out to roll a joint. You sprinkle all the marijuana you want on the rolling paper and are just about to close when you think, “Wait a minute. I think I’d rather have a spliff.” What do you do?
You scoop out some of the weed and replace it with tobacco. Essentially, you’ve got the same amount of ground material on the rolling paper (for your spliff) as you did for your joint. The end result will be the same size regardless of whether it’s a spliff or a joint.
In this case, size doesn’t matter (thank goodness).
The flavor of a spliff will be dramatically different than a joint but quite similar to a blunt.
Remember, the joint is pure Mary Jane, so the strain will dictate the flavor and aroma. The spliff is a mix of Mary Jane and tobacco, so it will taste and smell more like a cigarette than a joint.
You’ll also find that spliffs and blunts taste and smell a lot alike because they both have some part Mary Jane and some part tobacco. In the spliff, the tobacco is on the inside (with the Mary Jane). In the blunt, the tobacco is on the outside (in the wrapper).
The paper differences between joints, blunts, and spliffs
Paper choice is important to your smoking experience; it’ll impact the amount of weed you need (the size of the paper), the flavor (tobacco papers are notably sweeter than hemp paper), and burn (thicker papers tend to burn slower than thinner papers).
Papers and blunt wraps can be flavored, but they aren’t for everyone. Some consumers think flavored papers meddle with the complex tastes and aromas of cannabis, while others are loyal to specific brands because of their distinct flavor additives (this is more common among blunt aficionados).
Consumers also choose papers based on rolling ease and functionality. The best papers don’t tear, seal seamlessly, handle well between your fingers, and burn uniformly. Nothing is a surer sign of a failed roll than a joint that runs, i.e., burns lengthwise along one side.