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How to Grind Weed Without a Grinder - 7 Tips to Make a Homemade Weed Grinder

Don't ever let anyone convince you that you can't smoke if you don't have a grinder, here are the best alternatives.
07 July 2022
9 min read
How to Grind Weed Without a Grinder - 7 Tips to Make a Homemade Weed Grinder

  • 1. Checking the buds
  • 2. Grinding with scissors
  • 3. Chopping board and a knife
  • 4. Mortar and pestle grinding
  • 5. A coffee grinder can be a weed grinder
  • 6. Grating your weed
  • 7. Methods that work but we don't recommend
  • 7. a. The pill bottle and coin grinder
  • 7. b. Grinding with your hands
  • 8. Conclusion

Having some marijuana buds but not having a grinder is not such a pleasant surprise, but it isn't the end of the world either. The truth is, you will probably still be able to smoke your joint anyways, you just need to find out what alternatives there are to grinders.

To your luck, that's exactly what we're here for: to give you some tips on grinding weed without a grinder.

The best alternatives to grinding marijuana when you don't have a grinder include using a pair of scissors and a bowl; a knife and a cutting board; a mortar and pestle; and using your hands as a last resource. 


Grinded cannabis buds

Grinded cannabis buds should be small but never reach a powder state.

Let's go through some common weed grinding methods and extra grinding advice.

1. Checking the Buds

Before you even start thinking about rolling that joint or packing your bowl, the first thing you will need to do is to check that your buds are in the optimal conditions for smoking. These are the aspects to look out for to check if your buds are ready for smoking:

  • Dryness: cannabis flowers need to dry for 1 to 2 weeks before they are dry enough to grind and smoke. If your buds feel too sticky and are hard to tear apart they're probably still humid. Another good way to check if they're well dried is snapping one of the stems, if it breaks easily then they're dry. 
  • Curation: after the drying of your buds, you will need to store them in a concealed jar for at least 3 to 4 weeks for the curing process. This is where the THC will be enhanced to its maximum potential, as well as the aroma and flavor. 
  • No signs of mold: if there was mold in your plants and you didn't recognize until now, we're sorry to break this to you but you're going to need to get rid of these buds. 

Once you've made sure that your buds are well dried and cured, looking sparkling green and smelling good, it's time to grind your cannabis!

Related story
How to Dry Cannabis Buds

2. Grinding with Scissors

One of the best go-to alternative solutions for grinding without a grinder is a pair of scissors. Some frequent marijuana users would even rather use scissors as their usual grinding method, always keeping a tiny pair of scissors on them. The only two things you will need are a small and clean recipient, preferably slightly tall and with a small circumference, like a glass; and a pair of scissors. Now that you have your elements, breaking apart your buds, place them inside the recipient. Then, just place the scissors inside while you hold the recipient with your other hand and do the cutting motion several times until you see the weed looks even and well ground. Ta-dá, time to roll or pack that pipe or bong!


Grinding cannabis buds with scissors

Grinding cannabis buds with scissors.

There’s also another option when using scissors to grind up your stash of sticky icky. First up, you want to break the buds down into small pieces - about the size of a pea is perfect. Then, grab a piece of weed with your index or pointing finger and thumb, and carefully use the scissor to chop the nugget down to the perfect smoking size. 

This may seem a little counterintuitive at first, but there are certain countries where this is actually the preferred way to grind up weed. In Australia, for example, this is the most common way to “chop up” as they say down under, and this is actually for a pretty specific reason. The bowls used in the majority of Aussie bongs (which they call cone pieces) are quite different from the glass bowls commonly used in the USA or Europe. These metal pieces have a much smaller hole, and so Aussie stoners usually prefer their weed to be chopped up a fair bit finer than a regular grinder is capable of. They also almost always mix tobacco with their weed when smoking bongs, or punching cones as it is locally known. Aussies really do have the best slang when it comes to smoking weed!

3. Chopping Board and a Knife

In case you couldn't find your scissors but you're still at home looking for alternative ways to grind weed without a grinder then head to the kitchen, my friend. Take your usual chopping board and any knife you have in hand, clean both of them well and dry them thoroughly. If you have a plastic board that's better for cleaning, and non-serrated knives will work best for chopping. 


Chopping cannabis with a knife to grind it

Chopping cannabis with a knife to grind it.

Once both items are well cleaned, place your buds on top and show off your chef skills: chop, chop, chop and chop some more until the buds look small and ground. Take out them rolling papers, it's time to roll! This is the preferred method of chopping up weed in a bunch of countries, especially where “brick weed” is super common. What is brick weed, we hear you ask? Well, if you need to ask that question you should count yourself pretty lucky. Brick weed is found in many countries, particularly in South American nations and throughout the Asian continent.

Safety Warning

Don't get too excited and chop too fast or you might risk cutting yourself and spreading blood all over your buds, both things which we don't want to happen. 

Producers use compressing machines to press their buds into solid bricks, which not only helps in transporting large quantities in the most efficient manner but also reduces the amount of weed fragrance. This has a few obvious advantages for the growers and distributors in countries where there are still extremely harsh penalties for the sale of weed, but it lowers the quality and makes it easy for cultivators to hide low-quality weed when selling.

Brick weed is notoriously hard to grind up, as the compressing method that it goes through makes it very tough to break apart. This is why users who have to endure the horrors of brick weed (we may be overstepping the mark a little here, brick weed comes in a wide range of qualities and can actually be pretty good a lot of the time) prefer to use the knife and chopping board method. It is just way easier. 

4. Mortar and Pestle Grinding

Ahh, cooking tools saving the day again. If you're just feeling funky you probably chose this method, because we refuse to believe you don't have a cutting board and a knife at home, and if you don't then what do you even eat?  Anyway, we're not here to lecture you on your alimentation. So whatever the reason, the mortar and pestle grinding alternative caught your attention, ours too! Mortars and pestles date back all the way to ancient times, even before 35.000 B.C., so get ready to feel like an ancient stoner


Mortar and pestle for grinding weed

Mortar and pestle for grinding weed.

Before you start, make sure the weed is seriously well dried, or else it will likely turn into a mess. First, take the mortar, separate your buds into smaller pieces, and place them inside. We recommend you set amounts for just one joint at a time. Then take the pestle, place it inside the bowl and continuously press and turn on the buds, gradually grinding your marijuana. Before you finish, shake the bowl around a little to check that the buds are evenly ground, and once you're happy with the size get ready to smoke.

In general, we really do not recommend going down this route. Using a mortar and pestle will effectively grind up your buds, but it will also remove a huge amount of trichomes from the weed. Trichomes are the “crystals” that cover good weed and are where all the goodness (cannabinoids and terpenes) are found. In fact, when using a motor and pestle you are essentially making hash at the same time as grinding up the buds. If you decide on this method, over time you will notice a layer of brown or black substance starting to cover the bottom of the bowl. That, ladies and gentlemen, is homemade hash.

5. A Coffee Grinder Can Be a Weed Grinder

Yes, you can use your coffee grinder, electric or manual, for grinding your marijuana buds as well. If you have one of those cute, small, manual coffee grinders then we would recommend opting for that one instead of the electric grinder. It just makes sense that an object with the word 'grinder' in its name would do the job. As well as in the other methods that include kitchenware, clean your tools before and after!


Using a coffee grinder to grind cannabis

Using a coffee grinder to grind cannabis.

Well, the instructions for this method are quite simple, just place your weed buds inside, after you've taken out all the stems and seeds (which shouldn't have grown anyway) and grind! If you're using an electric machine make sure you don't over-grind the buds by pulsing the button between short intervals to keep your weed from turning into powder. 

6. Grating Your Weed

It seems like kitchenware was destined to become weed grinding alternatives for creative stoners. Another great kitchen tool you can use to grind your weed without a grinder is a cheese or carrots grater, or just any grater in fact. Grinding your cannabis flowers with a grater is fun and simple: just grab a plate, place your grater on top, choose the grating size of preference, we recommend the smallest ones, and swing your hands up and down through the blades as you hold the buds.


You can grate your cannabis instead of grinding!

You can grate your cannabis instead of grinding!

Pay attention as you are grating or you'll end up with some extra finger flesh, barbeque flavor in your joint, not too vegetarian friendly. 

7. Methods That Work But We Don't Recommend

Last but not least, we must mention two common grinding-without-a-grinder methods and why we disrecommend them. These two methods are using a container and a coin, and grinding with your hands.

The Pill Bottle and Coin Grinder

This method consists of using any small container with a lid, such as an empty pill bottle, playdough containers, or old film canisters, hello fellow film photographers, and a coin, small or medium coins work best. You just need to place the coin, or a couple of coins but not too many, and the buds inside the container. Close the recipient and shake it! Check every now and then to make sure you don't over-grind. 


Grinding weed with a pill bottle and a coin.

Grinding weed with a pill bottle and a coin.

Did you already figure why this is a bad idea? In case you haven't, well, have you noticed how at the moment we all had to turn a little OCD with cleanness due to the lovely (note sarcasm) covid pandemic? Keeping in mind that money tends to be completely covered with bacteria, acting as a germs carrier with people touching it all the time and passing it hand in hand, we believe using coins to grind your cannabis isn't the cleanest of them options. 

Grinding With Your Hands

Some friends might roll their eyes at you for walking the mile just for grinding your cannabis, arguing you should simply use your hands. Can you grind your buds with your hands? Yes, of course, but do we recommend this? No way. To grind weed flowers using your hands, we beg that you wash your hands first, not only because of the coronavirus thing going on but because no one likes dirty marijuana and it only takes two minutes to wash them.


Grinding with the hands

Grinding with the hands isn't the cleanest method for grinding without a grinder.

Most people use one hand as a bowl and the other as a pestle, pressing against the first hand as they tear apart the buds into small pieces until they look ground enough. The problem is that most people are not aware that when you're grinding with your hand, you're destroying a big part of the cannabis bud's trichomes, those magic lollipop-shaped glands that shine all over your flowers. 

Whatever right? Actually no, it's in the trichomes where most of the cannabinoid contents are stored, such as THC and CBD, not to mention loads of terpenes responsible for the delicious flavor and aroma of your buds. So if you're a true weed affectionate we believe grinding marijuana with your hands will be your last resource for grinding cannabis without a grinder. 

8. Conclusion

Not having a grinder will never stop a stoner from smoking. There are many alternatives and any quirky mind will find a solution to the problem easily. The one thing you definitely need to be aware of is the cleanness of the tools you use. Have fun with these creative grinding methods and enjoy getting high later!

07 July 2022