Joint (cannabis)

Joint (cannabis)
A joint prior to rolling with a paper mouthpiece at left
A joint with mouthpiece.

Joint is a slang term for a cigarette rolled using cannabis. Rolling papers are the most common rolling medium among industrialized countries, however brown paper, cigarettes with the tobacco removed, and newspaper are commonly used in developing countries.[1] Modern papers are now made from a wide variety of materials including rice, hemp, and flax.[2] One of the newest innovations in joint-rolling technology has been the introduction of transparent cellulose-based rolling papers.[3]

A joint can range in size,[4] typically containing between 250–750 mg net weight of cannabis and/or fillers.[5]



Joints consist of dried cannabis rolled inside a cylinder by hand or by a rolling machine. When smoked to the very bottom of the joint, it is often difficult to hold and is called a roach. The roach will often have an appreciable amount of THC from the accumulated resin. The roach can be held with finger nails, roach clips, roach pins, tweezers, or can be smoked using a bowl. Joints are often passed around a group circularly, and hoarding the joint (otherwise known as "grannying" or "bogarting ") is considered a serious breach of protocol.[6]


Commercially prepared American medical cannabis joint.

Though all joints by convention contain cannabis,[7] regional differences include the following:

  • In Europe and certain Commonwealth nations, joints, 'B1's', or "spliffs",[8] typically include a bit of cardboard or rolled business card in one end to serve as a mouthpiece. This is known as a filter or "roach." In North America, "roach" usually means the smoked-down butt of a joint, which can be finished off in a pipe, rolled into the lighting-end of a new joint, or saved for a cumulative all-roach joint. Another common term used for the paper "filter" is a "crutch".


Herb grinder for cannabis used to prepare herb for rolling into a joint.


The word joint ultimately originated from French, where it is an adjective meaning "joined" (past participle of the verb joindre), derived in turn from Latin iunctus, past participle of iugare ("join"/"bind"/"yoke").

By 1821, "joint" had become an Anglo-Irish term for an annexe, or a side-room "joined" to a main room. By 1877, this had developed into U.S. slang for a (usually unsavory) "place, building, establishment," especially referring to an opium den. By 1935, "joint" was being used to refer to the hypodermic needles used to inject heroin and other drugs at such establishments; this may have been influenced by the secondary meaning of "joint" in the sense of something done "in common" or shared. Its first usage in the sense of "marijuana cigarette" is dated to 1938.[9]

Other terms

There are many slang terms mostly synonymous with the word joint,[10] e.g. "fatty", which is used to describe a joint that contains an unusually large quantity of marijuana.[11]

The term spliff is a West Indian word of Jamaican English origin,[12] but has spread to several western countries, particularly Canada, the United States, and many countries in Europe. Its precise etymology is unknown, but it is attested as early as 1936. While Jamaican spliffs are generally conical in shape, those elsewhere tend to be cylindrical and of varying lengths. "Spliff" can also refer to various styles of cigarette rolled with a mixture of hashish and tobacco.[8]

See also


  1. ^ e.g., in Jamaica: The Rastafarians by Leonard E. Barrett p. 130.
  2. ^ "''Roll Your Own Magazine'', Winter-Spring 2008". Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  3. ^ "Clear Rolling Papers/Clear Cigarette Papers". Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  4. ^ .,22606,20823618-5005962,00.html. [dead link]
  5. ^ World Health Organization: Division of Mental Health and Prevention of Substance Abuse (1997). Cannabis: a health perspective and research agenda. p. 11. WHO/MSA/PSA/97.4. 
  6. ^ Iversen, Leslie (2008). The Science of Marijuana (2nd ed. ed.). New York City: Oxford University Press. p. 14. ISBN 9780195328240. 
  7. ^ "Joint | Define Joint at". Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  8. ^ a b "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  9. ^ "Online Etymological Dictionary". Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  10. ^ "joint". Urban Dictionary. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  11. ^ "fatty". Urban Dictionary. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  12. ^ "Spliff | Define Spliff at". Retrieved 2011-04-20. 

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