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Weediquette - Backrolling

A new way to roll.

If there’s one thing you should know about the Kid, it’s that the Kid is a creature of habit.

Like anyone, I’ve established routines throughout my life. There’s a certain way that I brush my teeth, make my bed, peel an orange and navigate my way through town. I learn everything once and I never alter my technique, even when I find out about better ways to do things. Thereby, I have been rolling joints the exact same way my brother showed me when I was 15.


Though I maintained the exact same technique throughout, I didn’t really get good at it until I was about 17, and since then I’ve rolled the exact same joints. To be fair, the method I was using was pretty flawless: The simple cone spliff rolled with a regular sized Bambu and a crutch rolled out of about an inch-long strip. I didn’t discover that there was a better way until I was 22, when someone enlightened me on the way of the backroll.

Backroll is a widely-used method for hand-rolling a cigarette. The method involves inversion of the rolling paper, so that the gum strip faces the inside. Once rolled, the gum can then be licked through the paper and torn off, thus removing any excess paper. This technique was developed due to the alleged increased heat (possibly caused by additives) generated by smoking tobacco wrapped in multiple layers of paper.

- Abraham F. Wikipedia

Backrolling a joint is an improvement on the traditional style because it minimises the amount of paper in your joint, allowing it to burn slower, more evenly and taste better. The first person I saw implement it was an older girl I was hooking up with. I felt incredibly schooled as I watched her place the weed onto the paper with the glue side down, slide the crutch in, roll the glue edge forward and paste it and burn off the excess paper. I had to know what the hell this was all about but didn’t want to let on that I was a novice in any field at all, let alone the erudite practice joint-rolling. After we had smoked it, I swallowed my pride and asked for a lesson. I tried but I did a poor job, and she laughed at me. I tried to forget backrolling even existed. As I got older, I started smoking a lot more joints by myself and felt secure enough in my solitude to give it another whirl. Again, I sucked. Everyday for two weeks I began backrolling a joint, then quickly give up and rolled old school so I could fucking blaze. It’s hard to perfect the delivery method of your favourite thing while anticipating putting into your face.


The thing that I had the most trouble with was tucking the glue side around the tiny one-inch crutch. It became such minute surgery that I just couldn’t get it secure and it would unravel by the time I licked the rest of the joint. It finally dawned on me: Use a bigger crutch!

Today, I finally tried it out with a crutch that’s two inches long (before rolled), and it worked! By Moses, it worked, and I managed to do it quickly too. I’ll take you through the process.

First, the standard preparations…

Then I laid the paper in my hand, with the glue side down and towards me, and put the weed on it. The important thing here is not to fold the bottom up.

I put the big crutch in after the weed. This is a change in procedure from my standard practice of holding the crutch in the paper and then dumping in the weed and rolling it.

Now I curl up the glue end.

And the lick, starting from the crutch. Having a bigger crutch made it easier to rotate the licked glue side.

Finally, the fun part: burning off the excess paper. If you don’t get one clean burn, I’d say do a little touching up with the lighter, but don’t go crazy trying to get a perfectly straight seam. It’s not going to effect the way the joint burns. You’ll see once you light it.

And here I am, incredibly pleased with myself and rapidly getting stoned.

Here’s to a better life.

Photo credit: Sunny Ali


Previously: Weediquette - First-Timers in the Hindu Kush