If you’re new to cannabis, you may have a few questions about grinders and how to use one. Cheap weed grinders can be purchased at almost any smoke store or head shop, or you can order one online from a variety of retail outlets. They can be as simple as a grinding card (like a cheese grater for cannabis) or a more complex multi-chamber device. In this tutorial, we’re going to teach you how to use the most common type of cannabis grinder: a 4-piece grinder with a kief catcher.
What Is a Grinder and Why Do I Need One for Cannabis?
As you might have guessed, a grinder is the tool you use to break your cannabis up into small bits for smoother-hitting bowls or for wrapping in rolling papers and blunt wraps. There are a number of ways to grind cannabis if you don’t have a grinder, but grinders speed up the process and offer perks like kief catchers. A kief catcher refers to the bottom chamber below the screen that gathers all the potent crystal kief knocked off the buds in the grinding process. You can scoop the kief out and add it to the top of your bowl, or use it later to press your own hash or cook edibles.
Want to get the most out of that ounce of Cherry OG you just bought? Want to look like a “professional” stoner (oh, if only there was such a thing)? Want to impress your friends and be the envy of all those around you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the answer is simple: learn how to use a grinder. Grinders don’t get a lot of press, but they’re an essential piece of equipment that no committed cannaseur should be without. In this article, the experts at Honest Marijuana show you how to use a grinder and tell you everything you need to know about this helpful tool.
The original ganja gurus from way-back-when came up with some pretty interesting cannabis slang. Some of that jargon is not very self-explanatory (like sploof and chronic). Thankfully, there’s no wacky etymology behind the word “grinder.” In fact, it’s probably one of the most obvious terms you’ll find in the marijuana lexicon. So what exactly is a grinder? It’s a small container with “teeth” used for dispensing smoothies. Just kidding! It’s a small container with “teeth” used for grinding nugs of weed into smaller pieces. It’s also one of the easiest ways to get ahold of kief (which we’ll get to later on in this article). But before that, let’s talk about the different types of grinders and their parts.
What Are The Parts Of A Grinder?
All grinders must have at least three components:
- A grinding chamber
- Teeth or pegs to do the actual grinding
- A lid to keep it all contained
As simple as that may sound, grinders come in a variety of different sizes, so it’s essential to understand what you’re looking for before you buy.
Here are the three most common types of grinders:
- Two-piece (single chamber)
- Three-piece (two-chamber)
- Four-piece (three-chamber)
The naming conventions here may seem a little strange, so allow us to explain.
How to Clean a Sticky Grinder
One day, you’ll have used your grinder so often that it will become sticky with kiefy resin. The threading on the sides where pieces screw together will become gummy, making it difficult (or impossible) to twist open. Avoid having your grinder lock up on you by keeping it clean; here are a few tips for keeping things running smoothly.
- Rub the sticky grinder parts with isopropyl alcohol and salt. This is a go-to cleaning method for pipes and bongs, but it works just as well for getting rid of the stickiness on grinder pieces.
- Use a small brush (e.g. a stiff-bristled paintbrush, or a clean beard brush or toothbrush) to knock kief loose from the screen.
- Freezing your grinder makes it harder for kief to stick to surfaces. Consider putting your grinder in the freezer before cleaning up the kiefy mess if it’s being particularly stubborn.
- For really irredeemably sticky grinders, sometimes it’s best to just replace the thing altogether, especially if it’s a cheap grinder.
What is a grinder used for?
The purpose of an herb grinder is to grind marijuana buds down to a finer consistency that you can roll into a joint or pack into a bowl. Grinders are used primarily to improve the smoking experience by breaking down cannabis flower evenly. You may not need a grinder to break down nugs into smaller pieces, but using one decreases the likelihood of clogging your pipe. It allows you to use the flower more efficiently and makes joints and blunts burn more evenly.
Manual grinders: You can find a basic hand-cranked grinder for as little as $15 online, including on sites such as Etsy, where some artists offer customized options with your name or favorite phrase engraved. There are also plenty of hand-cranked mini grinders online that cost less than $25.
Automatic grinders: Grinders with three or more components may cost as little as $25 and go all the way up to $200 or more. For example, the handheld, battery-operated E-shredder from Aux Tools retails for $199.99. Other automatic grinders, such as the Mamba Electric Herb Grinder, sell at a much lower price point.
Tips for using a grinder
Whether you buy a manual or automatic grinder, the process of grinding weed is fairly straightforward. Here are a few expert tips to get the best output from your herb grinder.
Be gentle: You don’t have to exert much force when twisting a manual grinder. About a dozen steady turns should get you the perfect weed grind on a well-maintained grinder with sharp blades. It’s also important not to overfill the grinder. You can always go back for a second round to avoid taxing the grinder.
Turn it upside down: If you want a super fine grind, remove the kief chamber, turn the grinder upside down, grind, and then put the kief chamber back in place after you grind. This technique prevents the buds from dropping into the bottom chamber, allowing for finer grinding and resulting in smoother ground weed.
Clean the grinder: As with other cannabis accessories, like water pipes and ash catchers, it’s crucial to keep a grinder clean. A soft cloth and brush should do the trick, but avoid abrasive materials like scrubbing pads, which can damage an herb grinder. Use rubbing alcohol as a cleaning agent, rinse with warm water, and thoroughly dry. This basic maintenance can help your grinder last longer and allow you to enjoy a smooth cannabis experience every time.
Why Should You Grind Your Weed Anyway?
Grinding your weed before smoking or vaping it, will simply make it much easier to use. You will also find that grinding cannabis will make it easier to carry, and more enjoyable to smoke.
Ground weed is typically less harsh, because it is so much more consistent. Unlike whole buds, whose shape can affect the fluidity of the smoke produced, ground weed will smoke cleanly and evenly. When it comes to joints, this means being able to roll tight, smooth joints that smoke efficiently. When it comes to bowls, using ground weed will allow you to avoid unpredictable hits and cherried bowls.
Moreover, grinding your herb before use will limit its contact with your hands. This will prevent the trichomes, and the precious cannabinoids they carry from being damaged. As such, using a grinder will help to maintain the quality and potency of your buds. Instead of losing those trichomes, a good grinder will let you collect them for later enjoyment.
Kief is a term that refers to the fine trichomes and cannabinoids that collect either in the bottom chamber, or on the walls of your grinder. Kief is much more potent and purer than regular buds. Enjoy responsibly, because the intensity of its high may surprise you.
Kief crystals can be added to bowls, vaped out of most kinds of vapes, or sprinkled into joints or blunts. They can also be cooked with, after prior decarboxylation. If you are considering buying a grinder, investing in one with a kief chamber is well worth it.
Better Tasting Weed
Smoking or vaping ground weed will really bring out the natural flavours of its terpene profile. As you open the main chamber of your grinder, you can expect the natural odour of the strain to overwhelm you. While some people may only care about getting high, many will find that the improved taste and flavour of ground bud really enhances their smoking experience.
Carrying cannabis around in a small grinder can be pretty convenient. Most metal grinders feature magnetic casings that ensure your bud stays stored away safely, even during transportation. Furthermore, a well-built grinder can help you to better manage odours that may otherwise be troublesome. You may also be surprised by just how much cannabis your grinder can carry at once.