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10 Ways to Break Up Your Cannabis if You Don’t Have a Grinder

Having a grinder on hand is commonplace for many cannabis enthusiasts, but when you go a few times without one, you see why this product is a must-have for breaking down buds in a pinch. Don’t worry, though — when you need to deconstruct some nugs and find yourself without the help of our cylindrical toothed companion, remember that the ingenuity of a cannabis enthusiast knows no bounds.

From simple old school tricks and techniques to a few MacGyver-worthy hacks, here are 10 ways you can bypass the grinder by utilizing nothing more than a few (relatively) easily assessable household items and a bit of creativity.

1. Your Hands

This may seem obvious, but going back to the basics is sometimes the way to go. Breaking down cannabis by hand can be a very intrinsically rewarding experience despite its few downsides. Yes, cannabis is sticky, and breaking it down by hand can be a bit tedious. But those fingers of yours can sure do some work when it comes to flower picking.

“Getting your hands dirty,” so to speak, is a terrific way of building a relationship with your buds. It allows you to get a true feel for your bud’s structure and trichome saturation, and it also affords you the opportunity to get up close and personal with your strain’s unique bouquet of aromas. Your fingers won’t want to let go!

2. Parchment Pressing

To bypass getting your hands sticky, try using a piece of parchment or wax paper as a barrier between you and your buds. This eliminates the burden of having to worry about removing the sticky and aromatic resin from your hands afterwards.

Most paper products have what it takes to get the job done with this hack, but parchment works especially well because its waxy surface helps keep everything from sticking. Cut a few pieces up and place them between your fingers before you begin, or use the pieces to create a barrier when smashing buds with heavier objects.

3. Keys and Cards

Not everyone has parchment on hand, but most of us have a set of keys we can utilize in a pinch. It’s a super simple concept: simply use the keys’ (after you clean them, of course) serrated edges to cut way at your buds. You may end up getting your keys a bit sticky as a result, but this isn’t something a little alcohol swab can’t handle.

Another quick fix involves digging into your wallet for a credit card. They tend to be firm enough to break down buds without snapping. Plastic cards are also perfect collection tools for your finished product, making them very useful to have around for the aftermath.

4. Blunt Force

For those times when your bud is a bit more on the dry side and the aforementioned hacks are not within your means, use blunt force to break down your buds. This works well in both medicine containers and plastic baggies; just make sure your container is sealed before you get started. Hard containers can be shaken vigorously (letting the buds smash against the surface over and over), while baggies can be smashed against a hard surface such as a counter or wall. Stickier and/or denser flowers may have a hard time breaking apart using this hack alone, but my next tip can help with that.

5. A Coin and Container

Drop a clean coin inside of your hard container before giving it a good shake; the coin will thrash around and tear through your buds. Dense and sticky buds stand much less of a chance against a thrashing coin in a confined space. Prescription bottles and breath mint tins are ideal candidates for this hack. Make sure you give your can a solid shake, and be sure not to overpack it — you want to leave enough room for the coin to do its job in there.

6. Scissors and a Shot Glass

Scissors are already the perfect companion for trimmers, but they can also be used post-processing as a neat way of breaking down your larger buds. A shot glass makes for a great catching container for your clippings. You can also place your buds inside of the shot glass and use your scissors in a pestle and mortar fashion, grinding and cutting your buds as they sit within the shot glass.

Both tricks have their pros and cons: clipping over a shot glass affords you the opportunity to cull unwanted stems from your final product, but may leave larger “budlets” which can be undesirable for rolling joints. Using the pestle and mortar technique is much quicker but also leaves you less control in picking out stems.

7. A Knife and Cutting Board

Don’t be afraid to get a little fancy in the kitchen by pulling out a knife and cutting board for a bit of good old fashioned cannabis carving. Serrated knives obviously work a bit better due to their ability to pull and tear as your knife glides along, but any knife can really do the trick. A cutting board helps keep everything contained so that you can get back to your business without an extensive cleanup. Treat the process very much as if you were slicing vegetables, letting the knife do the work as you go.

8. A Pizza Cutter/Rolling Slicer

Rolling herb slicers and pizza cutters are both very useful tools to keep in mind if you find yourself sans grinder. Like knives, wheeled cutting devices provide a sharp surface for slicing, though their design makes cutting sticky buds a much easier task than if you were to simply use a knife.

Also, for sewing enthusiasts, rotary blades work perfectly well as a substitution. These blades tend to be much sharper as they are designed to cut though multiple types of fabric.

9. A Microplane

Otherwise referred to as graters, microplanes make for a perfect alternative to knives. Running some buds through a microplane makes for a fine, even grind. If you’re thinking about rolling and want consistency, microplanes are a great solution. They come in all shapes and sizes, so if you have one laying around, give it a try. This can be a huge time save for anybody looking to grind slightly larger amounts of cannabis into a consistent finished product.

10. A Coffee Grinder

If you’re working with a larger quantity, these first nine hacks may prove to be less efficient, but if you’re in the presence of a coffee grinder or some other small food processor, you’ve just scored the mother load. Many hardcore grinding aficionados will skip the traditional hand grinder altogether and opt for a larger setup such as a coffee grinder to automate the entire process. A coffee grinder may just be the ultimate hack for somebody looking to break down a large amount of cannabis into a finely ground, consistent end product. It requires very little effort, and can grind large amounts in no time at all.

From simple old school tricks and techniques to a few MacGyver-worthy hacks, here are 10 ways you can bypass the grinder by utilizing a few household items and a bit of creativity.

How to grind weed without a grinder

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Contents

  1. Why it’s important to grind your weed
  2. Grinding weed without a grinder
  3. How to break apart marijuana with your hands
  4. Protect your trichomes
  5. Other methods for grinding weed without a grinder
  6. Bottom line

Grinding your weed is a key preparation before smoking. The best way to grind weed is with a grinder designed specifically for herbal applications. But what if you don’t have a grinder on hand? If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll want to know how to grind your weed without a grinder. This guide will equip you with everything you need to know about how to grind weed without a grinder.

Why it’s important to grind your weed

Before you get started with actually grinding your herb, it’s important to understand why you should focus on getting a good grind prior to smoking.

The specific reasons for grinding your cannabis before smoking differ depending on your smoking method. For starters, if you are trying to roll your herb into a joint, spliff, or blunt, then breaking your cannabis down into smaller chunks is obviously the only way you can fit the herb into your rolling paper. There would simply be no way to roll up an entire nug all on its own. But when you grind the weed into small pieces, you can spread it evenly across your wrap and then roll the whole thing up into a smokable form.

When you grind the weed into small pieces, you can spread it evenly across your wrap and then roll the whole thing up into a smokable form. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Grinding weed is also necessary for other forms of smoking. For example, if you are smoking out of a bowl—whether it’s part of a spoon pipe, a handheld bubbler, a bong, or anything else—you should always grind your herb first if you want to get the most out of your cannabis. Technically speaking, you can get away with dropping a full nug into your bowl and smoking it. But doing so is incredibly inefficient. That’s because there is a very limited amount of surface area that can be exposed to the flame, which will result in an uneven burn and make it hard to tell if there’s unburned green in the center of the nug.

However, if you grind that same nug into smaller chunks, you will be able to pack it evenly into the bowl. And when you ignite the weed in your bowl, there will be a larger surface area to burn. This technique gives you a more uniform combustion across all of your herb and ensures that you ignite the entire quantity, leaving nothing behind. To put it simply: grinding your marijuana ensures that you thoroughly burn and smoke your entire nug so that nothing goes to waste.

Grinding your marijuana ensures that you thoroughly burn and smoke your entire nug so that nothing goes to waste. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Grinding weed without a grinder

By far the best way to grind your cannabis is with a dedicated herb grinder. This tool gives you a uniform grind so that the small pieces of herb are all more or less the same size, further enhancing the efficiency of your smoking experience and letting you get the most combustion out of your marijuana. Further, grinders can help leave intact a greater portion of trichomes—and all the cannabinoids they contain—since they’re not rubbing off onto your hands. However, with all that said, there are still times when you simply cannot access a grinder. In those cases, you can improvise and break apart your marijuana with your hands.

How to break apart marijuana with your hands

This process is best done using a rolling tray or flat surface that can catch your weed and allow you to use both hands to pull apart the nug and separate stems and seeds. But if you’re in a pinch and don’t have a flat, smooth surface handy, you can use the palm of your hand.

Hold your non-dominant hand flat. This will be where you collect your ground-up marijuana. Hold your nug in your dominant hand.

Gently but firmly roll the herb between your middle finger, index finger, and thumb. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Gently but firmly roll the herb between your middle finger, index finger, and thumb. Be sure you roll the herb directly above your non-dominant hand so that all the little pieces fall into your open palm. Continue this process until you have crumbled the entire nug.

Carefully sort through the crumbled herb in your palm. Break down any especially large chunks with your fingertips until all the pieces of herb are roughly the same size.

Once you’re happy with the consistency of your grind, use your ground-up marijuana to roll up your joint, spliff, or blunt, or to pack your bowl.

Protect your trichomes

When you crumble weed with your fingers, the ultimate goal is to strike a balance between applying enough force to break apart the cannabis without damaging the herb.

Remember, you’re trying to protect the trichomes as much as you can, since this is where all the THC and other cannabinoids are concentrated. No matter how gentle or careful you are, you will still end up with sticky resinous fingers when you’re done, and there will be some degree of trichome loss as a result of the crumbling process. Do your best to be as gentle as possible while still applying adequate force to break apart the bud.

Other methods for grinding weed without a grinder

Crumbing weed with your hands is the classic go-to strategy when you find yourself without a grinder. But there are a few other methods you can try if you have access to some basic household equipment.

Method 1: Scissors and a shot glass

For this method, you’ll need a clean shot glass and a pair of clean, sharp scissors. Place your nug into the shot glass. Then poke the scissors down into the shot glass and slice apart the marijuana. Be careful that you don’t spill the cannabis as you work the scissors. As always, shoot for slicing your cannabis into pieces that are as uniform in size as possible. And remember, the sharper your scissors, the more precise your cuts will be and the more intact your valuable trichomes will remain.

Place your nug into the shot glass. Then poke the scissors down into the shot glass and slice apart the marijuana. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Method 2: Coffee grinder

Did you know that you can also grind your marijuana in a coffee grinder? Doing so will give you a decent grind, but will leave the blades of your coffee grinder sticky with resin. Try this method only if you’re fine with having a resin-covered coffee grinder.

Method 3: Kitchen knife and cutting board

Another method is to chop your cannabis using a very sharp kitchen knife and cutting board. If your knife is too dull, you will end up tearing your bud rather than slicing it cleanly, and this could lead to significant trichome damage. But if you can get a nice clean slice, you’ll leave intact more of the trichomes and get a much more uniform final product. Of course, your knife and cutting board will accumulate residual sticky resin, so you should plan on washing them immediately after slicing apart your marijuana.

You can grind your weed by chopping your cannabis using a very sharp kitchen knife and cutting board. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Bottom line

While a grinder is the single best piece of equipment you can use to grind marijuana, you can also improvise with household items and your own hands.

How to grind weed without a grinder Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Why it’s important to grind your weed Grinding weed without a grinder