Joint (cannabis)

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"Spliff" redirects here. For other uses, see Spliff (disambiguation).
A burning joint.
A joint prior to rolling with a paper filter at left
A joint with filter.

A joint (IPA /dʒɔɪnt/) is a rolled marijuana cigarette.[1] Papers are the most common rolling medium in industrialized countries; however, brown paper, cigarettes with the tobacco removed, beedis with the tobacco removed, receipts, and newspaper can also be used, particularly in developing countries.[2] Modern papers are manufactured in a range of sizes from a wide variety of materials including rice, hemp, and flax, and are also available in liqorice and other flavored varieties.[3]

A joint can vary in size,[4] typically containing between 0.25 to 1 grams net weight of cannabis (joints have been rolled with 2 or more pounds but this is not a common practice). Tobacco may or may not be used in the rolling process.[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, rolled-up top of a matchbook, inserted into a roach stone, or can be smoked using a pipe.

Also Joints may refer to Hashish Joints, which could be either Tobacco-Hashish Joints, or Hashish-Only joints. In Afghanistan locals smoke joints filled with Hashish only while in most countries people reach enough high when mixing with tobacco.

Variations and terminology[edit]

Commercially prepared American medical cannabis joint.

Though all joints customarily contain cannabis,[6] regional differences have been noted. In Europe, certain Commonwealth nations, and more recently North America, joints, or spliffs,[7] typically include a bit of rolled cigarette packet cardboard or business card in one end to serve as a mouthpiece. This is known as a filter. Other common terms used for the paper filter are "roach", "crutch", "tip" or "cut". In North America, "roach" instead 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. In the past decade, filters have become more popular in North America as well.

The term "spliff" is sometimes used to distinguish a joint prepared with both cannabis and tobacco,[8] as is commonly done in European countries, where joints containing only cannabis are rarely smoked. However, in the West Indies where this term originated (especially Jamaica), a spliff is simply a marijuana cigarette, normally containing no tobacco.

Multiple variations of joints, including a back-rolled joint (often referred to in the United States as a Dutchie for its origin in the Netherlands' coffeeshops) and tulip, exist. Joint-rolling requires a certain level of skill, which can be honed with practice. There are various internet tutorials on joint rolling styles.[9] Several aspects of joint-rolling can have an effect on the end product: the thickness of the rolling papers used, the mix of cannabis and tobacco, the use of a filter, and the quantity and quality of the cannabis.

A somewhat more healthy type of joint is the e-joint. It is basically an e-cigarette that has cannabis-extracts inside it.[10]


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 iungere ('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 'place, building, establishment,' and especially to an opium den. Its first usage in the sense of 'marijuana cigarette' is dated to 1938.[11]

Other terms[edit]

There are many slang terms synonymous with the word joint. The term 'spliff' is a West Indian word of Jamaican English origin but has spread to several western countries, particularly the UK, and many countries in Europe. Its precise etymology is unknown, but it is attested as early as 1936. 'J' or 'jay' can be used as an abbreviation for a generic joint. Another term frequently used to refer to this would be 'doobie.' [12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bungalow Bill (November 26, 2001). "joint". Urban Dictionary. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  2. ^ e.g., in Jamaica: The Rastafarians by Leonard E. Barrett p. 130.
  3. ^ "Roll Your Own Magazine - Winter-Spring 2008". Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  4. ^ "Dope activist to smoke 1m long joint". 2006-11-26. Archived from the original on 2009-10-28. Retrieved 2012-01-28. [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. ^ "Joint". Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  7. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  8. ^ Australian Government Department of Health: National Cannabis Strategy Consultation Paper, page 4. "Cannabis has been described as a 'Trojan Horse' for nicotine addiction, given the usual method of mixing cannabis with tobacco when preparing marijuana for administration."
  9. ^ "How to roll". Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  10. ^ E-Njoint
  11. ^ "Online Etymological Dictionary". Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  12. ^ "Spliff". Retrieved 2011-04-20. 

13. How To Roll A Joint, A Stoners Guide To Marijuana