Imagine passing a joint with your friends only to discover a soggy mess that burned the tips of your fingers. While this scenario is contrived, there are many reasons that a joint crutch could be beneficial to cannabis users. A joint crutch, also called a joint filter or tip, has been used to filter smoke and makes smoking cannabis easier.
A joint crutch is essentially the joint's mouthpiece that prevents people from burning their lips or fingers. A filter also allows cannabis consumers to smoke their joint all the way to the end. That's a big deal if you're a budget cannabis smoker.
What is a Joint Crutch?
A joint crutch goes by many names. You'll hear people call it a joint tip, filter, mouthpiece, and possibly other monikers. Throughout history, marijuana has been consumed with a variety of tools such as hookahs, pipes, and chillums. There's no clear indication as to where the marijuana joint originated, but the marijuana cigarette is a relatively new phenomenon.
The joint crutch is typically an optional component of a joint, blunt, or spliff. It can be made from a sturdy piece of paper or bought in glass, wood, silicone, and ceramic varieties. Minimalists enjoy the simple combination of rolling papers and weed, but going the extra mile by using a joint crutch can enhance the experience for many. You can make them yourself but they can also be found among the products sold at local dispensaries.
Crutch vs. Filter
Online retailers often use the term "crutch," "filter," and "tip" interchangeably. A crutch can refer to a thick piece of paper that has been used to create the end of a joint. A crutch can also refer to a honeycomb-shaped glass filter sold at an online head shop. The crutch can be a simple mouthpiece with multiple holes at the end for easy inhalation.
Retailers and consumers will also use the term "filter tip" when describing a marijuana crutch. Some joint filter tips will even have activated charcoal filters to reduce the intake of tar and other harmful carcinogens when smoking cannabis and tobacco. These joint filters are inserted in a joint's end. When deciding whether to use crutch vs. filter, either term works.
Benefits of a Joint Crutch
Rolling a joint filter isn't standard procedure for most joint rollers. Some see making joint tips as an unnecessary step. Joint smokers who are in a hurry don't want an extra step to get between them and their joint smoking. For those that have the time and patience, learning how to roll a joint crutch can be a worthwhile talent for an improved smoking experience.
No Scooby Snacks
For one, a joint crutch prevents users from inhaling cannabis plant material, also referred to as "Scooby snacks." Every cannabis smoker knows the feeling of taking a big puff from a spliff, joint or blunt and choking on the bits of ground-up cannabis lining the rolling paper. A joint crutch literally filters any small plant bits from entering your mouth.
You can roll up the best-looking joint with the finest weed available, but the experience can be soured with a nasty burn from a lit joint. The risk for joint-related burns is low, but a joint filter can add extra space between the burning plant and you. A joint crutch is a strong mouthpiece that keeps your fingers and lips burn-free.
No Soggy Joints
Some joints smokers tend to leave the tips of a joint a slobbered mess. A joint without a filter can get extra wet due to excessive saliva making the joint smoking experience considerably unappealing. A joint crutch's thick material is impervious to your buddy's knack for drenching the joint ends. A dry crutch maintains the joint's structure and the smoke circle going.
Efficient Weed Smoking
By adding the joint mouthpiece, cannabis smokers are able to smoke the weed in their joint all the way down to the end of the joint. Without a joint filter tip, many smokers just throw the "roach" in a glass piece or add it into another joint. A joint crutch allows you to smoke your fresh buds without wasting any of it.
How to Roll a Joint Filter at Home
More often than not, cannabis smokers will fashion a joint filter out of everyday household products. Various online smoke shops sell reusable joint filters, but when you're in a pinch, other sturdy materials will do. A joint crutch can be made with common materials like an index card, a manila file folder, a business card, or any material with similar thickness.
Not every paper card or product will work. Try to avoid making joint crutches out of material that contains petroleum-based dye or ink. These substances can be harmful when heated and consumed. Once you've assembled your necessary filter material, you're ready to start making a joint crutch.
Step 1: Gather Material and Choose Width of Joint Crutch
Joint crutches come in all shapes and sizes. Before you start folding and rolling your joint crutch into its final form, you'll have to decide on the size of paper and the width of the crutch. The width will depend on how much space you want between the burning joint and you. Many users use ½" or ¾" wide joint crutches.
Step 2: Fold a Design
There are a variety of fold designs you can use for your joint crutch, some more simpler than others. One of the most common folds is the 3-fold "M" or "W" pattern, depending on what angle you're looking at the crutch from. Start by making 3 small folds while alternating the fold direction each time.
When rolled up, the folds will create a filter screen that blocks plant material from reaching the mouth. Bigger joints may require more folds to create an efficient joint crutch that doesn't allow Scooby snacks to pass through. Pre-cut crutch papers can take out the guesswork.
Step 3: Roll the Joint Crutch
Compress the folded design and roll the paper material into a cylinder. Continue to roll the rest of the paper until you see the "W" or "M" shape in the center of the cylinder. Adjust the cylinder's shape to your liking. You can wrap the filter tight for a thin joint that keeps out Scooby snacks or a use a looser wrap for a slightly larger joint with more space within the cylinder.
Step 4: Compress and Remove Extra Paper
Apply pressure with your fingers to make the cylinder hold its shape on its own. Continue to roll the cylinder between your fingers to form the shape. You can remove excess paper material to achieve your desired joint crutch diameter.
Step 5: Add the Crutch to the Joint
Put the joint crutch at the end of a rolling paper lining them up together. Continue to roll a joint as usual. Light up and enjoy.
Pre-Made Joint Crutches
Joint smokers can buy pre-made joint crutches online in a variety of forms. A roach clip is a unique metal holder that can act as an alternative to a crutch, but without the filtering of smoke and plant matter. Crutch-making cards or pre-rolled crutches are a worthwhile investment for those who want the filter without the hassle of making them.
RAW makes superb joint filter tips made from naturally unrefined long fibers. RAW also makes cone tips, a crutch-making book, as well as glass tips and joint holders that can hold as many as 3 joints. Search online for reusable joint filter tips that can be personalized and include screens and ash catchers.
Reusable joint crutches come in a variety of materials including silicone, wood, glass, and ceramic materials. You can even find printable 3D models of skull or dragon-shaped joint filters online. Search on Etsy for custom glass rolling tips. Make sure to practice proper accessory hygiene to reduce harsh hits and dirty filter tips.
Joint crutches remain a popular accessory, despite the technological advancement of cannabis consumption. Some cannabis businesses are even using business cards that also function as crutch cards made with water and soy based dyes. A joint crutch isn't necessary, but can enhance the joint smoking experience in a variety of ways.
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