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The art of rolling a joint is sacred within stoner culture, the gospel of group smoke sessions and true cannabis connoisseurs. To make the most of that freshly twisted joint, weed smokers lean on the simple yet effective crutch when rolling up.

Also known as a filter or tip, a crutch is essential to the joint rolling process. You can't roll the perfect joint without one. It functions as an extension that keeps fingers and lips from being burned by the fiery cherry and makes the joint easier to hold and pass around in a social setting.

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Another benefit of using a crutch is that it allows for better airflow, preventing the bottom tip of the joint from closing in on itself or becoming clogged with sticky resin buildup. You also use your weed more efficiently, as the crutch allows you to burn through all of your bud before you reach the end of the rolling paper.

Still wondering why the crutch is such a coveted part of the joint rolling process? Here's what the internet has to say about it …

It may seem like origami but relax. Creating a crutch isn't hard. It's incredibly easy to do and, once you get the process down pat, takes a matter of seconds. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to make a crutch and bring your joint rolling skills to the next level.


How to make a crutch

Step 1 – Tear the cardstock paper

Take the cardstock paper or index card and evenly tear off a piece roughly a half-inch wide or a little more than 1 centimeter. If you're rolling with longer king-size papers, you may want to increase the width to three-fourths of an inch, or about 2 centimeters. You don't have to be extremely accurate with the width. Eye it out to the best of your ability if you don't have a measuring tool handy. Fold a crease into the paper to help ensure that you get an even tear.   

Step 2 – Fold the paper

Take one end of the paper and fold it into a zig-zag “M” shape. To do this, make four creases folded back-to-front until the tip of the paper resembles the letter M. Try to keep an adequate amount of length leftover for the next step.    

Step 3 – Wrap it up

Taking the remaining length leftover from the folded tip, wrap it around the folds until there's a circle surrounding the zig-zag M-shaped pattern. If there's not enough paper left over to complete the wrap, you can unwind your M and try to remake it with smaller folds.

Step 4 – Put crutch in rolling paper

Once you have the perfect crutch folded and rolled up, drop it into the tip of the rolling paper.

It's easiest to grind up your weed and put it inside the rolling paper after inserting the crutch. Depending on whether you want a pinner or cone-shaped joint, place the crutch at the end tip and disperse the ground weed accordingly throughout the inner crease of the rolling paper.

Step 5 – Roll it up

Now that you have your crutch and weed situated in the rolling paper, you're at the final stretch. Simply roll it up, seal it up, sit back, spark it up, and enjoy.

And remember, when desperate times call for desperate joint rolling measures, a potential crutch can come to you in many unexpected forms.

Frequently asked questions

What material can you use for joint filters?

Thick paper or cardboard makes for the best joint filters, commonly called crutches. A crutch allows for better airflow through the joint, prevents excessive moisture from making the end wet, and reduces waste. Glass and wooden crutches are great alternatives to paper. They can be found at tobacco shops, head shops, and some dispensaries. 

Where can you get joint papers?

Most dispensaries and delivery services carry joint papers, also called rolling papers. Brand-name joint papers like Joker and ZigZag are for sale behind the counter at most gas stations and grocery chains. Papers are also available at head shops, local tobacco shops, and online. 

Can you reuse filter tips?

Whether you can or should reuse a filter tip depends on what it's made with. Paper crutches absorb oil and resin left behind in the process of smoking a joint. While you can use a crutch more than once, it will likely alter the flavor and become less effective with each re-use. Glass tips are meant for reuse and can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol.

Can you use cigarette filters in joints?

Yes, you can use cigarette filters in cannabis joints if you have them available. The generic cigarette filter tip is made of cotton, cellulose acetate fiber, paper, or activated charcoal.

Feature image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps