Blunts vs Joints: A Tale of Two Tokes

smoke marijuana blunts vs joints

Even though you can consume cannabis dozens of ways nowadays, the classics just don't go out of style. Whether you choose to rock a doobie, blunt, or pre-rolled joint, there is nothing quite like passing the dutchie to the left amongst friends.

In America, your preference of what to roll might come down to where you grew up, when you grew up, or even what style of music you listen to. And although there are many commonalities between the two, there are definitely differences when it comes to blunts vs joints.

While some folks use the terms interchangeably, the history of blunts vs joints is separate and distinct.

Joints: A Brief History

The earliest account of a marijuana cigarette comes from Mexico. In 1856, a pharmacist at the University of Guadalajara wrote in the Mexican Academy of Pharmacy public pharmacopeia that laborers were mixing cannabis with tobacco in their cigarettes.

By 1870 cannabis cigarettes could be found commercially. Advertisements for Grimault's Indian-Cigarettes can be found in The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, marketed as a treatment for respiratory ailments.

By 1877 the term 'joint' was established as slang for a 'place, building, establishment,' and even opium den. Some historians suggest the word evolved into marijuana cigarette because, when you roll one, you essentially bring 'the joint' with you.

The Jazz Age

By the time the Roaring 20s came around, recreational marijuana use had migrated North into the U.S.   Jazz musicians especially enjoyed cannabis over alcohol because it made them more creative without the loss of motor skills. The association of cannabis use with jazz would prove to be strong and enduring.

The Jazz Age of the 20s and 30s would go on to coin many slang terms for marijuana cigarettes, a few of which we still use today. Both the word 'joint' and 'reefer' harken back from this age.

The first written use of the word 'joint' comes from a March 12, 1938 issue of the New Yorker magazine. In it, Meyer Berger writes an expose detailing the seedy life of a marijuana smoker in Harlem, or as he calls them "vipers." Meyer goes on to cite some of the jazz slang at the time such as, 'joint', 'roach', and 'the Man' (a detective).

Flower Power

The is no doubt that the counter-culture movement of the 60s had enormous influence on cannabis culture, writ large. Hippy attitudes about pot brought marijuana into the mainstream through songs and film.

Cannabis was the flower of power, and doobies were the vehicle. There are still pot smokers of this generation who prefer rolling joints over all other smoking methods.

Modern Day Doobies

On face-value, joints haven't changed, you are still smoking a paper-wrapped tube of weed. But substantively, technology has come a long way for joints; the cannabis strains are better, the rolling papers are better (if they are paper at all), and modern grinders are awesome.

That is if you want to roll your own joints at all, the availability of pre-rolled joints is only growing as more states legalize recreational marijuana.

There are even master-joint rollers who can create marijuana-masterpieces of any shape, such as Tony Greenhand's smokable AK-47 joint.

Anybody packing that much firepower knows there is a battle when it comes to blunts vs joints.

A Blunt Origin Story

Like so many great things, the precise origin of the blunt is hazy and the product of excess. At some point in the late 70s/early 80s, someone cut open a cigarillo, replaced some of the tobacco with weed, and re-rolled it.

Later versions would be filled entirely with cannabis and wrapped using a tobacco leaf, commonly called a blunt wrap.

Surprising as it is, the term 'blunt' is not a slang one. The United States Tobacco Taxation Board classifies all individual cigar wrappers as “Blunts” and taxes them as roll-your-own tobacco.

The Rise of Hip-Hop

The term 'blunt' became widely popular when Hip-Hop culture rallied around the Philly Blunt brand in the early 90s rap scene. In 1992, Redman from the Wu-Tang Clan, released the song "How to Roll a Blunt."

"I love it when they call me Big Poppa / I only smoke blunts if they roll'd propa."-Notorious B.I.G. (1994)

Besides Philly Blunts, other popular brands today include El Producto and Dutch Masters.

What is In a Name?

Nowadays, blunts have as many slang names as joints do. Some popular names for a blunt are: dutchie, blazer, bleezy, blizzard, blizz, bluntski, cannon, elbow, elroy, L, gorilla finger, weedgar, or backwoods cigar.

When it comes to dope nicknames, blunts might take the edge in blunts vs joints. 

How Do They Compare?

Similarities

  • Both are ground cannabis wrapped in a smokable fiber.
  • A variety of flavors and sizes can be found for both blunt wraps and rolling papers.
  • Each method is lightweight, portable, and fairly inconspicuous to smoke.

Differences

  • Joints are rolled with paper, cellulose, or even gold. They are usually translucent or white but can be covered in designs such as camouflage.
  • Joints usually include a filter-tip, sometimes called a roach.
  • Rolling papers offer a joint-roller more versatility in creating huge smokable artwork.
  • Rolling papers are much cheaper than blunt wraps.
  • Blunts are rolled with blunt wraps, tobacco-pulp paper, cigarillos, or tobacco leaves.
  • Blunts burn longer and slower. This makes them well suited to passing in a large group.
  • Blunts can be more difficult to roll for beginners.
  • Blunts offer an additional tobacco buzz along with the weed-high.

Blunt vs Joints, Who Wins?

Chalk this one up to personal preference; anyone that wants to smoke a blunt is not going to turn down a joint or vice versa. So, whether you’re rolling a phattie blunt or flying paper planes, know that you are in good company keeping the classics alive.


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Cameron Hodgdon
Cameron Hodgdon is an author, poet, screen-writer, 3rd generation Indian motorcycle rider and creature of the Mojave wasteland. He currently lives in Las Vegas.