What’s the Difference Between a Blunt, Joint, and Spliff?
In times of trouble, when you are a dopeless hope fiend – all bets are off. Any way you can smoke or ingest weed will do and no one in their right mind will judge you. But what about when you’re flush, when you have weed to spare and time to kill? That’s when personal tastes and preferences come into play, especially when it comes to what you like to roll.
The three pillars of rolling – blunts, joints, and spliffs – all have their fans, allies, and propagandists. Let’s look at what makes each one burn.
Blunts: Close but no cigar (and not that close anyway)
A professional skater, an icon of the 90s, or the greatest American to ever be named Hamilton? Whatever you call Hamilton Harris, in a single minute in the mid-90s classic movie ‘Kids,’ he taught an entire generation of teenagers how to twist a blunt – on the fly, in the park, surrounded by friends who are up to no good.
Other than a great way to spend your afternoon, a blunt is a hollowed-out cigar or a blunt paper/cigar paper filled with weed. The name comes from the Phillies brand “Blunt” cigars, which, like White Owls and Dutch Masters, were mainly popular on the East Coast for blunt rolling. (In the South, it’s Swisher Sweets and Backwoods, and the same goes for the West Coast. In the Midwest, we don’t know, but corn husks would not suffice).
Blunts are the cannabis-delivery method of choice in Hip Hop and for weed heads who got to know the plant far from the nag champa and tie-dyed environs of your local head shop. Blunts are for the street, the studio, the party, the front and back seats of a Cutlass or a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham d’Elegance with the shag carpet and wood grain paneling end to end.
They also get you hella stoned – no matter what herb you’re smoking. (This could be partly due to the head rush from power hitting the cigar paper).
Back in the day, when Hamilton Harris was twisting up a nickel bag in Washington Square Park, you could have poor quality weed with stems (look at the herb he dumps in the blunt) and still get you and your friends lifted.
This is part of why blunts were perfectly suited to the “quantity over quality” brick weed of the 90s, back when in states like Texas you could buy 2 or 3 pre-rolled Swisher Sweet Perfectos for $10. As the song went, some of your Sweets might be tight, some might be f-d up, but all would get the job done.
In our “only high-grade weed” era though, dumping one or two grams into a cigar paper for a single session can start to get costly.
So how do you roll a blunt?
- Take your cigar, lick it, split it down the middle (if you’re using a Backwoods, you’ll unravel it, not split down the center) and dump the tobacco in the trash. (if you’re using a Backwoods, dump the tobacco back in the pouch, to keep your other Backwoods fresh)
- Take some well ground herb and dump it inside the cigar paper, pack it down some with your fingers, and using a generous amount of saliva seal it with your mouth bit by bit till the end.
- Take a lighter and “toast” it a bit just to dry the blunt.
- Roll up the windows, spark the blunt
- Smoke the blunt
- Repeat steps 1-5
Pros: Gets you very high. There’s just something about the taste.
Cons: Hard to twist one if you’re running low on weed. If you’re a germaphobe, the amount of spit that goes into rolling one might be a turnoff. You have to smoke a cigar paper or a tobacco leaf (Backwoods), which can be a deal-breaker if you hate tobacco or are an ex-smoker. One of the least discreet ways to smoke.
A joint, a fattie, a pinner, a “marijuana cigarette” – joints have gone by all types of names ever since marijuana became a cultural staple in the 20th century.
The origin of the name is unknown, but it appeared as early as 1938, in a New Yorker article on marijuana culture in New York.
Yes, it’s something that cops or a youth pastor would say, but “marijuana cigarette” is actually sort of a good way to describe a joint. It’s a rolling paper filled with weed, twisted up and smoked.
How do you roll a joint?
- Break up some weed
- Take a rolling paper and put a good amount of weed in there
- At this stage you can decide whether to put a rolled up paper filter at the end. (This means you can smoke it to end without it burning your fingers, but you also aren’t left with a “roach” at the end.)
- Tamp down the weed, twist it, lick it, and shake the end to pack it down a bit.
- Use a lighter to dry the spit
- Light the joint
- Smoke the joint
- Repeat steps 1-7
Pros: A time-tested classic, a great thing to materialize out of your pocket at a party, can be somewhat discreet.
Cons: It’s not a blunt. If you’re running low, using straight weed can dip into your reserves a bit too much. That friend of yours who won’t pass it.
They’re into a lot of weird things in Europe – the metric system, mayonnaise on fries, fascism. Add to that list the spliff – a way of smoking weed that could get you physically assaulted in some corners of the States but actually makes good sense if you give it a shot.
Simply put, a spliff is a joint that you make by mixing weed with some tobacco. It’s a great way to stretch out your weed if you’re a bit dry, and also produces a slightly different high from a joint. There’s the headrush of the nicotine and the sensation of smoking a cigarette, mixed in with the cannabis high.
Also, they tend to burn better than joints or blunts because the tobacco is dryer and more uniformly ground, and doesn’t have the high amounts of tar-like weed. So you’re less likely to get joints that run or banana boat or whatever the metric system equivalent is.
In the States, spliffs have never really gained traction and in most stoner circles if you started mixing in tobacco with your weed on the rolling tray, you could lose friends. This may be partly due to lower rates of tobacco smoking and often more abundant, cheaper weed, but we’ll just chalk it up to a cultural thing.
This is because even if a spliff doesn’t chase d’evils away, it’s a great way to burn some trees that – like fascism – could catch on in the States someday.
How do you roll a spliff?
- Break up some weed
- Mix in some tobacco
- Twist it into a nice cone shape
- Light the spliff
- Smoke the spliff
- Commute to work by bicycle (if not on strike)
- Repeat steps 1-6
Pros: A good way to conserve weed. That tobacco/nicotine head rush is nice. Ingratiate yourself with foreign exchange students.
Cons: Tobacco – arguably not healthy. You don’t get that pure weed taste like with a joint.
Now, which is the best way to smoke weed – blunt, joint, or spliff? That’s like asking a parent which of their children they love the most. Obviously there’s an answer, but it’s just a matter of personal preference.