Cannabis smoking has been around for a couple of hundred years. It has, however, historically been smoked through a pipe, a chillum, or a hookah. The relatively new way of smoking cannabis through a joint was just brought to America by Mexican immigrants. And not much has changed in this recreational innovation in the last 200 or so years, aside from the introduction of joint filters.
Before we discuss how to make joint filters and why use one, let us understand what these little devices are.
What are Joint Filters?
Joint filters –also called a crutch or a tip – are little apparatuses that act as a mouthpiece between the joint and your lips. Unless you opt for a reusable glass tip, these filters are usually made of cardboard or any sturdy paper. These small devices effectively add a level of structural integrity to any pre-rolled joint. While these devices are more of a preference than a necessity, they serve a number of benefits.
Why use joint filters?
There are two types of people who smoke cannabis joints, those that smoke unfiltered, and those who swear by the advantages of these filters.
One of the main reasons why some people use joint filters is because the filters prevent unwanted bits of cannabis from sticking on your lips and tongue after a hit. Their primary purpose is to create a separation between the cannabis and your lips, and by doing that, they keep tiny cannabis pieces from flying into your mouth. Similarly, it adds a barrier of separation between your fingers, your throat, and the heat from the burning embers.
Another benefit of joint filters is consistent airflow. Often, a tightly rolled joint can become pretty challenging to smoke, and you will have to do too much sucking to get a decent hit. The joint filters are designed in a way that will allow the maximum amount of airflow every time.
Last, but certainly not the least, these joint filters reduce tar, chemicals, and carcinogens found in cigarettes. The devices have three sections: the tip, the chamber, and the mouthpiece. The chamber is filled with silicon beads that do the majority of the filtering work. In fact, you can see the tar build-up in your filters, giving a vivid visual representation of the chemicals that were kept out of your lungs.
How to make joint filters?
Many people roll a joint filter by literally rolling the material into a cylinder. This is a very easy method, but it negates all the benefits a filter was supposed to offer. The main and obvious mistake is that the opening in the center of the filter is big enough to let small pieces of cannabis, as well as the tar and chemicals, get in your mouth and into your lungs.
Instead, you can make a much better filter simply by adding a few folds before rolling it up.
The W or Normal Joint Filter Tip
Start by purchasing a joint filter tip at any local or online shop. If you do not have access to this, you can still create your own tip using some sturdy paper, like a business card or cardboard.
Cut off a rectangular strip from the crutch material. The width and length are entirely up to your preference on how thin, thick, long, or short you want your joint to be.
Make a few folds at the end of your material. You can start by creating a 1mm to 2mm fold to create a rectangle shape at the end. Next, fold the tip again in the opposite direction. Repeat the process, and basically, you are folding it into a “W” or if you want to toss in a few more folds, an accordion. Make sure not to crease the paper when folding as this will make the final filter too tight. Also, keep enough unfolded paper to wrap completely around the filter.
Take the end and start rolling to form a cylinder. You should be able to see a “W” or an accordion in the circle once you are finished rolling between your fingers. Make sure to roll the filter back and forth until the filter stays coiled up and does not unroll or expand once you put it down. How tightly or loosely you want to wrap this is, again, a personal preference.
Take your rolling paper, place your new filter at the end, and roll it all into a joint. If part of the filter gets exposed, simply push it and tuck it into the edge of the paper once you’re done rolling.
The Heart-Shaped Tip
The “W” or accordion design is the standard tip for joint filters. There are several other creative and more challenging ways of rolling a joint filter. The heart-shaped joint filter is another popular and great option if you want to be creative and impress your friends.
For this filter, you will need your crutch material, a standard barbecue skewer, and a pin.
Fold back about 1 cm of the end of the paper. Use your stick to create little arcs on both sides of the fold. This will form the top part of the heart.
Then fold the end down to complete the heart shape.
Carefully roll the rest of the filter material around the heart, the same way as the standard “W” filter. Roll the filter using your thumb and forefinger to create a circle around the heart and until the material stays rolled up on its own.
If the top part of your heart collapsed at any point, simply take your pin or needle and carefully push the arcs into shape again. Use this new filter to roll a joint.
Knowing how to make joint filters is a sacred art within the stoner culture. Crutch designs have taken leaps and bounds forward over the past years as most cannabis smokers lean on this little device to make the most out of a freshly rolled joint. It may seem complex like origami, but the step by step guide above should help you get the process down pat.