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

01 March 2023
Don't ever let anyone convince you that you can't smoke if you don't have a grinder, here are the best alternatives.
01 March 2023
13 min read
How to Grind Weed Without a Grinder - 7 Tips to Make a Homemade Weed Grinder

Read more
  • 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. The most frequently asked questions about grinding weed
  • 9. 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!

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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. The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Grinding Weed

So, there you have it. All the best ways to grind or chop up your sticky icky when you don't have a grinder at hand. But why do we even need to grind our ganja up? How finely ground up should the result be? Let's answer these two burning questions and all the other most common queries when it comes to grinding your bud up perfectly...


Why do we even need to grind up our weed?

We chop up our greenery before smoking for a few key reasons. First up, it makes for a much more evenly burning product. If you leave your buds whole before smoking, they just won't burn very well at all, especially if you are dealing with the super dank and dense stuff that is freely available in this day and age. When the surface area of your herb is increased, more of it can come into contact with the flame or heating element at once, giving you an improved and more even burn each time.

Have you ever been based on a blunt or joint that just doesn't want to smoke at all, or is burning super unevenly? Well, there's a good chance that the bud hasn't been properly chopped up before it was all rolled up nice and tight. Grinding up your weed also helps to improve the flavor profile of your herb. Depending on the strain, grinding up your weed allows you to really get in there and bring out each unique terpene, giving you a more flavorsome and enjoyable smoking experience.


How finely should we grind our weed?

The answer to this one depends largely on what kind of smoking device you are using. For joints and blunts, you want your weed to be nice and evenly chopped up into small little pieces that make rolling a breeze. If this isn't the case, then your blunt or joint won't burn properly at all. For bongs and pipes, you may want a slightly finer grind. With a bong, the finer you can get your grind the better - but only to a certain point. The last thing you want is to turn that green gold into a fine powder, for it to just fall through the holes in the bowl before it had a chance to burn. It's all about finding that happy medium. This allows for an even smoother hit with more flavor and less draw resistance.

For dry herb vaporizers, you want to make sure that your weed is ground to around the same grade as you would for a joint or blunt so that it can be evenly vaporized and deliver maximum results. If you're all about the edibles, then you will need to decarb your weed before you start whipping up delicious dank treats. Decarboxylation is the process of heating your weed to around 115-120 degrees for at least 30 minutes. This process activates the THC in the herb and makes it available for consumption when ingested. For decarbing, a medium grind is perfect.


Why is my weed so hard to grind up?

There are a couple of factors that could be in play here. To begin with, you may have some weed in hand that hasn't been dried and cured correctly. For the best smoking and grinding experience possible, you want to dry your weed for at least 7 days, if not a little longer. This should be done in a climate-controlled room, with a temperature range of between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and relative humidity of between 45-55%. If your weed isn't dried in the ideal conditions, it will be much harder to grind up. A good way to tell if the weed is well-dried is to check the color and texture of the buds. If they are still green and moist, it has not been dried correctly. If the small bud stems snap easily, then you should be close to well-dried weed. After the drying process has finished, it's time to cure those nugs. What the hell is curing when it comes to cannabis? Curing is a process in which your buds are stored over an extended period of time, usually between 1-3 months.

This allows the chemical processes within the bud to develop further, improving the taste and smell of your herb as well as helping to preserve it for longer. Think of it like aging a nice whiskey or wine - thank god it takes much less time! To cure your buds, simply place them into an airtight container (mason jars work great for this), and leave them for as long as you can. Make sure you burp the jars twice a day for the first week, then twice a week for the rest of the curing period. Having said that, it can be hard to grind up really dense bud strains even if they have been properly dried and cured. It's a good problem to have. Another possibility is that you are dealing with some super dank stuff! The more trichomes and resin on your buds, the stickier they are, and the harder it will be to get a perfect grind. Another great problem, right?


What is the best alternative to a weed grinder?

Look, this comes down to personal preference, but for us - you can't go past a great pair of scissors. It's one of the oldest methods of grinding up weed, and it's still used today in a wide range of countries - even more so than grinders themselves in many areas. It's easy, efficient, and gets the job done. All you have to do is snip away at those nugs until they are all broken down into a good-sized grind - simple!

If you don't want your scissors getting too sticky or messy, then grab a little isopropyl alcohol to keep things clean.No matter what method you use to grind up your Cannabis, make sure to take it slow, and enjoy the process. It's just one part of the smoking ritual that makes the whole thing so satisfying, right?

9. 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!