A deeply engrained part of pop culture and virtually a culture all their own, blunts are something most herb enthusiasts have tried - or at least heard of.
The traditional blunt is simply a cigar that’s been emptied of its contents and filled with your choice of herbs. Today we also have blunt wraps, which omit the need for cigars and give you only the tobacco leaf.
But many people prefer to avoid nicotine, so we now also have better alternatives, the most widely accepted - and logical - being the hemp wrap.
If you want to find out more about the history of the blunts, modern options for wraps and how to roll yourself a smooth-burning fattie, you came to the right place. In this in-depth guide, we’ll cover all those topics, so you’ll leave it feeling like an expert and ready to try out this legendary smoking method.
What’s the difference between a blunt and a joint?
Although blunts are a big part of pop culture and nearly everyone has heard of one, it’s still cool if you don’t completely understand what’s the difference between a blunt and a joint and why would people choose one over the other.
The major difference between a blunt and a joint is the wrapper. Blunts are wrapped in emptied cigars, or today tobacco and other leaves. Joints on the other hand are rolled in rolling papers.
Since the material they’re made of is different, so is the smoking experience.
Unless you’re rolling spliffs, you must know that traditional blunts contain tobacco - therefore they also contain nicotine, which can be a put-off for some. But if you still want to try one, don’t let that discourage you because there are nicotine-free alternatives (we’ll talk about that later).
The biggest difference in the two is that blunt wrappers are heavier and thicker than papers, so they can hold much more cannabis. Also, the thick wrapper burns more slowly. With a larger capacity and a slower burn, they’re an awesome option for groups or slow and relaxed solo sessions.
How do you make a blunt?
Remember the first couple of times you rolled a joint or a cigarette? For most of us it was a wrinkly, unevenly sealed, virtually unsmokable mess. And even if you now have the experience and the skill to roll perfect paper cones, you might still struggle with blunts for the first couple of tries.
However, if you learn a few tricks, you’ll soon make perfect cones that even Snoop Dogg would love. So here’s a short guide that’ll help you learn to roll a blunt in no time.
Step 1 - Split
This step only pertains to those making the traditional blunt, that uses the wrap from a cigarillo or cigar. If you got some wraps ready, you can omit this step.
Take your cigar and split it on the vein using a small knife and slowly going lengthwise from the butt to the tip. You can damp the cigar first as it’ll be easier to rip. Once you’ve opened it up, remove the tobacco with your hand or a small tool, but be careful not to tear the wrap. Now you have your blunt wrap, and you’re ready for the next step.
Step 2 - Grind
You have your blunt wrap ready, so now you need to grind your herbs. Avoid grinding it to a super-fine consistency, rather stop grinding when the material is coarse and fluffy. This consistency allows for better airflow when you light up your wrap.
Step 3 - Pack
You have your wrap, and you have your ground herb, so now it’s time to pack. Load the wrap and be generous. You don’t want a skinny blunt where you feel the flavor of the wrap more than that of what you’ve put in it. A blunt that’s thinly packed will also break more easily.
Like with papers, you can rub your thumbs and index fingers throughout the blunt in an up and down motion to smooth everything out.
Step 4 - Lick
Once you’ve loaded your wrap, you can roll it up.
Push your herbs more to one side of the blunt and lick both sides for the first seal. Tuck the shorter side (the bottom one) under the longer one. Some weed may fall out while you’re tucking, but it doesn’t matter. Just take your time.
Then press the contents firmly with your indexes and roll the wrap back and forth with both thumbs until the longer side folds over the roll. You can also start folding from the butt and slowly adding more wrap until you reach the top. This method may be harder to master but can end with more even results.
After you’ve successfully rolled your blunt you need to bake it, so it doesn’t fall apart. Run your lighter flame quickly up and down the roll and rotate it at the same time. Just make sure you’re constantly moving the lighter, so you don’t burn the wrap.
Btw, if doing everything traditionally isn’t important to you, put a glass filter in the wrap. It’s awesome if you’re not used to blunts because the smoke will be milder, and it’ll also prevent herbs getting in your mouth and resin staining your fingers and lips.
What is a blunt wrap, and what’s it made of?
A blunt wrap is simply the material that wraps the blunt. Although in the past emptied cigars were mainly used, wraps can now be bought separately, to quicken up the process - and give you more alternatives.
For many years the only wraps you could get were the ones made from tobacco leaves. They can be found in flavored versions to boost the aroma. They are usually made from single leaves, but some are also made from multiple ones pressed together. Some also have a paper-thin inner wrapper that can help with rolling.
Since many people wanted to try blunts but didn’t like the idea of smoking tobacco, companies started releasing many nicotine-free alternatives.
You can now find a variety of such wraps, made from leaves from cacao and guava trees, palms, cordias, bananas and even mint.
But nothing has gained so much popularity in the blunt world as hemp wraps.
Hemp Blunt Wraps
Hemp wraps first started getting popular only a couple of years ago, but quickly rose in status to become an iconic staple of blunt wrap catalogs-- on track to potentially even surpass traditional materials. But why are hemp wraps the perfect modern alternative to tobacco?
Firstly and most attractively - they contain no tobacco, and thus no nicotine. Though nicotine is found only in trace amounts in tobacco wraps frequent use can still harm you. Additionally, unlike tobacco producers, most hemp brands take an eco-friendly and organic approach, so you know you’re getting a natural leaf containing no harmful toxins or additives. They also don’t use toxic adhesives often found in tobacco wraps.
Not only are hemp wraps better for you, they’re better for the environment. Tobacco is grown on huge fields as a monoculture. This means it’s more susceptible to diseases, so producers are spraying it with pesticides and herbicides. That also means it weakens the soil where it grows, so forests are cut down every couple of years to open up space for new fields. Tons of wood and unnecessary amounts of water are used in growing and curing process.
On the other hand, hemp is grown using organic practices, and it doesn’t require any pesticides, growth hormones ,and herbicides. It actually heals the earth where it grows AND the air that surrounds it-- as is it requires a huge amount of CO2. Hemp can also be grown on the same field year after year.
The smoking experience is also important, and is the reason why hemp wraps are quickly growing in popularity. Even those who’re used to tobacco love hemp wraps because they’re the only material that burns as slowly, delivers a similar flavor, and has the same overall feel. Except for the lack of tobacco smell, you’ll feel no difference between smoking the two.
Hemp wraps are available in a variety of flavors, including a range of delicious fruit and tropical options. You also have a variety of size options and the ability to buy pre-rolled, pre-filled hemp wraps.
How did blunts originate?
Blunts have been almost synonymous with hip-hop and rap artists for the past 20 or 30 years. But these thick, leaf based alternatives to joints don’t have a clear starting point. Meaning - depending on who you ask, they’ll probably tell you a different version of the history.
Let’s start by saying we don’t have any written history of the first person or nation who smoked a blunt. But it’s generally accepted that everything started in the Caribbean sometimes in the mid 19th century. It was then when general public first gained access to cannabis, as it was imported from East India.
Caribbean stoners rolled their newly discovered - and soon favorite - herb in tobacco leaves they’ve picked and dried themselves.
The theories about why they started doing that range from the idea they didn’t have access to bongs and rolling papers, or knew that tobacco disguises the smell of weed or simply because it allowed them to pack more herb at once. Regardless of the reason, Caribbeans invented blunts as far as we know, but New Yorkers were the ones who named them - and spread the word all over the US.
That started happening in the mid 80s when a lot of folk from the Caribbean began immigrating to New York. Around the same time, the tobacco industry in the US started working on improved cigar designs named “blunts”, soon taken over by everyone who emptied cigars and filled them with weed.
The New York anti-drug policy was also happening at the time, so marijuana users could no longer be as relaxed with their passion.
We don’t know exactly how all these events interacted, but the consensus is that the Caribbean shared their weed smoking methods with New Yorkers, New Yorkers needed a stealthy way to smoke, and using empty cigars as wrapping paper looked like they smoked tobacco, so they’ve started making the first traditional blunts. And they’ve loved it.
It was at the end of the 80s that musicians started to make blunts a part of rap culture, and we can hear it in 1988 in Big Daddy Kane’s song called “Raw” and King T’s song called “Flirt”. Many other rappers soon followed, including Biz Marke, Redman, and soon even Snoop Dogg who enjoyed his first blunt in 1993.
Rappers continue to push blunts throughout the US, head shops start opening all over the place, everyone wants to get in on the train and the industry is booming up to this day.
Bunts are a legendary smoking method and a big part of cannabis culture. Even with the rise of other tools like vaporizers and glass accessories, they’re still a favorite method for many. But today we no longer need to empty out cigars or use harmful tobacco leaf - we can load our herb in the most logical, safest and cleanest way by using hemp wraps.