Monday October 21, 2019

By Matthew Mongelia

Joint Rolling Machines or Hand-Rolled? 420 Culture

Though sometimes considered the training wheels of cannabis, the humble joint roller is an often-overlooked tool that deserves a place in any rolling aficionado’s kit. Not ideal for every occasion, these simple contraptions offer a few features unmatched by other joint-rolling methods.

Pros of Joint Rolling Machines

While they may not showcase your ability to hand-roll a joint, joint rolling machines can get the job done quickly and efficiently under most circumstances. Here are some other top features of joint rolling machines:

Efficiency/Speed

Hand-rolling more than a few joints can take a considerable amount of time. Joint rolling machines put out a joint in under a minute; about 20-30 seconds if you’re adept. It is by far the most efficient method outside of using industrial, specialized equipment to load multiple joints. If you want to try to skip the rolling altogether and opt for pre-formed cones, anyone who’s worked in a dispensary will attest, hand-filling cones is tedious work.

Joint Rolling Machines
Joint rolling machines can help you roll faster.

Many hand-rollers still appreciate the speed of a good joint machine, reserving hand-rolling for times of relaxation and enjoyment; machines are for quick and necessary demands.  When you need a lot of jays in a hurry, a rolling machine is a good option.

Ease of Use

Joint rolling machines are incredibly easy to use, with simple instructions. There are few moving parts, most are quite durable, and require only minimal fine motor skills (which can be an issue for consumers with disabilities).

For those that haven’t mastered hand-rolling (or even ventured into it), joint rolling machines allow almost anyone to roll a joint with minimal time and energy invested.

It’s the first and easiest step to stop relying on others (be it more costly jays at a dispensary or bugging a friend), and allows you to take command of your cannabis consumption. Beside, sometimes after a long day, it’s just easier to let the machine get it.

Uniformity

If you’re new to hand-rolling, your jays might not be the most dependable cannabis delivery method. With a machine, you’ll know what to expect every time. While many mean it as a put-down, the “training wheels” description has some merit to it. Hand-rolling takes practice, so in the meantime, you’ll have something to fall back on. If you’re still getting up to speed and don’t have time, product, or papers to risk, consider a roller.

Inconspicuous and Standard Dosing

Although cannabis is gaining international acceptance, many still attach a stigma to bigger joints. The clean, uniform, cigarette-like appearance that joint rolling machines produce is simply easier to blend-in in social settings, and closer to what non-smokers are used to seeing consumed. The standard 1¼ inch size is a manageable dose on the go that’s less likely to attract gawkers (though the smell still might).

Cons of Joint Rolling Machines

As with anything in life, there are several cons to weigh in when determining if you want to use a joint rolling machine. At the end of the day though, none of the following aspects are detrimental to your cannabis consumption experiences. However, they are things that should be considered if you’re new to joint rolling and want to learn about all your options thoroughly. Take a look at some of the most common complaints surrounding joint rolling machines:

Bad Machines Make Bad Joints.

We highly suspect that most people against joint rolling machines have either never used one, or only used poorly made ones, and poorly made joint rollers are everywhere, so it’s a decent guess. The key element to a joint roller is the rolling sheath. These can vary in material from high-quality synthetics to old-fashioned vinyl. The vinyl ones, while cheap and readily found, tend to roll joints unevenly or too tight. You’re left with a joint prone to canoeing and tough to draw; ultimately, less desirable to smoke.

Joint Canoeing
Poor joint rolling machines can result in improper burning and canoeing.

Another thing to look for is that some cheaper joint rollers have a loose close, with a tendency to spring open if packed too tight. They’ll sending flower flying if you even look at them wrong. Look for a firm close, but not too tight. A roller should be able to sit closed with product in it without you holding it clasped, but still roll freely.

All machines take a little trial and error to find the right fill amount, but if your joint roller is constantly making bad jays and flinging product at you, it’s worthwhile to ditch it for a better one. Joint rolling machines are fairly cheap, so if you buy one you don’t like, at worst, you’re out $6-8.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

While joint rolling machines are consistent, they are also inflexible. Beyond a small amount of variation, the machines will require a set amount of cannabis each time. Many smokers adjust the size of their joints to whatever the intended occasion calls for – a big fatty for social occasions, or a pinner for a quick lift, etc.

Rolling machines typically come in two standard sizes, a 1¼” cigarette-sized standard, and 5” or “blunt”-sized. There are a few other non-standard sizes, like king size, so be sure to check that the roller you’re purchasing matches the size of your desired papers.

Hand rollers can fit an impressive amount of flower in a standard joint paper, or almost nothing. As you progress in your pursuit of joint smoking, it’s likely that this one-size-fits-all won’t always cut it. If you don’t desire the size or shape that that machine makes, you’re out of luck.

The Stigma

People like to gate-keep the weirdest things. Some cannabis enthusiasts deride those who can’t or don’t hand-roll. Sure, hand-rolling is a useful and enjoyable skill for any smoker to acquire, but it’s in no way necessary. It’s possible, even probable, that some snob will make a comment about a machine-rolled joint. If someone makes fun of your joint, feel free to not share with them.

Wrapping It All Up

Finding a quality joint rolling machine can sometimes be a bit of a mission depending on what head shops you have access to. To this writer’s experience, OCB makes the best widely available rollers on the market. They have a smooth action, churn out quality jays, and the thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) sheaths can last a few years on daily use. There are products to be found above the OCB standard, but they are more difficult to come by for the typicall consumer. The disdain that the common cannabis smoker has for joint rollers is uncalled for. For making a quick jay, few things work better.


Are rolling machines useful or just lame? Weigh in below with your own joint rolling experiences.


Matthew Mongelia Matthew Mongelia

Matt Mongelia holds and MFA in writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has worked in the cannabis industry in various roles for 4 years, from dispensaries, production and retail to events, content and marketing. He is a writer for the comic Dark Beach, and has previously covered music and cultural content for SOL REPUBLIC.


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