Marijuana Grinders: What They Are, How to Use Them, and Their Benefits
Grinders are essential tools for marijuana consumers who enjoy dry flower. Here you can learn all about marijuana grinders, including how to use them and the important role they play in vaping or smoking dry flower or creating marijuana edibles.
The marijuana grinder is one of the most crucial tools anyone who consumes marijuana can have in their arsenal. Whether you vape, smoke, or infuse your marijuana into edibles, properly preparing them first with the help of a grinder will improve your overall experience.
If you’re new to marijuana, you likely have a few questions about grinders, including what they are, how they work, and why you want to use one. This comprehensive guide on grinders will teach you everything you need to know about marijuana grinders to get you started.
What is a Marijuana Grinder?
As its name suggests, a grinder is a tool used to speed up and simplify the process of grinding marijuana into a fine consistency that most consumers prefer.
The most basic style of these palm-sized cylindrical-shaped tools consist of two interlocking halves, top and bottom, that when separated reveal metal teeth patterns designed to shred and tear dried cannabis into a consistent grind.
Dry cannabis flower is placed in between the teeth of the grinder, and then the top and bottom halves are locked together and twisted in opposite directions. This twisting motion moves the teeth together, catching the dry flower between them and breaking it down into small, even particles.
Herb grinders, sometimes referred to as a “bud grinders,” also come in 3-Piece and 4-Piece designs, with additional chambers and screens that make it easier to remove your dry herb after it’s been ground. Grinders are usually made of wood, metal, or plastic, and come in a variety of color options.
Why Use an Herb Grinder?
Grinders make breaking up large amounts of dry marijuana flower a much faster, cleaner process. While some cannabis consumers may be tempted to use their hands to pull apart and grind marijuana, investing in a good herb grinder offers several advantages.
One of the problems with using your hands to break up marijuana is that it leads to inconsistently-sized pieces. You will undoubtedly be left with some pieces that are bigger than others, referred to as “nuggets” or “nugs,” leading to uneven heating or burning. A grinder, with its carefully positioned teeth, is designed to shred dry marijuana flower into an even consistency every time.
Marijuana grinders, in particular 4-piece grinders, are also able to conveniently separate and collect any kief from your herbs. Kief is cherished by most dry herb consumers out there because of its high concentration of active botanical compounds. With a grinder, you can scoop out any pollen from the kief catcher and add it to your vaporizer, pipe, joint, or edible recipe. When using your hands, it is almost impossible to capture the kief that’s knocked off the bud while tearing it up. Using your hands can also cause the cannabinoid and terpene packed trichomes to break, causing them to stick to your fingers as a sticky resin instead of staying on your marijuana where it belongs.
Grinders also help prevent any unintended loss of marijuana, improving the efficiency of your vaping, smoking, or cooking sessions and saving you money. Using your hands to break up herbs will likely cause you to lose some on your fingers, reducing the natural effects of the marijuana as a result. With a grinder, you know that all the valuable bud and its trichomes are collected.
An herb grinder also helps preserve the integrity of your marijuana. Using your hands to break up your buds can transmit your skin’s natural oils, tarnishing some of the resin left on your herb.
Parts of a Grinder
While marijuana grinders can vary slightly in design and build, in general they contain at minimum three components, including:
- A grinding chamber
- A lid
- Teeth or pegs for grinding
The most basic style of herb grinder is the 2-piece, single chamber grinder. The two-piece grinder is made up of a small collection chamber and a lid, both containing teeth, which come together to form a single chamber. Once the marijuana is ground, it collects at the bottom of the collection chamber.
More advanced grinders can have additional components that offer a more convenient grinding experience. In a 4-piece, three chamber grinder, the collection chamber features a small mesh screen at its base rather than a solid bottom. This allows finer particles like trichomes to drop into an added lower level, known as the kief catcher. Altogether, the four-piece grinder is made up of four pieces — lid, a grinding bowl, a collection chamber with screen, and a kief catcher — that come together to create three chambers.
How to Use a Grinder
Despite the thoughtful engineering that goes into their designs, marijuana grinders are straightforward and easy to use. Here is a step-by-step, easy-to-follow guide on how to use both a 2-piece and 4-piece grinder.
- Remove the top lid of the grinder. Evenly distribute your dry marijuana flower in between the teeth of the grinding bowl, using your fingers to gently break up bigger buds if necessary. Avoid placing your marijuana at the center or the edges of the grinding bowl.
- Replace the lid of the grinder and rotate it either clockwise or counterclockwise about 5-10 times, or until all of your herb is ground to your ideal consistency.
- With a 2-piece grinder, you’ll start to be able to tell that the marijuana has reached an ideal size by the grinding sound and amount of rotation resistance.
- With a 4-piece grinder, you’ll want to continue rotating the grinder until all the marijuana has fallen through the holes of the grinding bowl.
- Open up your grinder to reveal all your freshly ground herb. You are now ready to load this ground marijuana into your pipe or vaporizer.
- If you’re using a 2-piece grinder, you simply have to remove the lid to find your ground marijuana in the bottom chamber.
- With a 4-piece grinder, you’ll want to unscrew the entire grinding bowl to remove it and the lid to get to the marijuana that’s fallen within the collection chamber.
- If you’re using a 4-piece grinder, unscrew the bottom kief chamber to find the highly-concentrated, fine particles of kief from your herb. You can add the kief to your vaporizer chamber or onto the glass bowl of your pipe for more powerful natural effects, or save it for something else later.
Depending on your marijuana, you may find that over time your grinder becomes hard to turn and in need of cleaning. Warm water and a cleaning solution made of isopropyl alcohol and salt works well to clean any stickiness from the metal pieces of your herb grinder. Use a small brush to knock any loose dry herb or kief from screens.
Benefits of Grinders
Whether your dry marijuana flower is destined for a vaporizer, pipe, or joint, the finer consistency achieved with the help of a grinder helps maximize its natural benefits.
Some benefits of using an marijuana grinder include:
- Better vaping and smoking performance: Evenly ground particles of dry marijuana are more suitable for vaporizing in a vaporizer and smoking in a pipe. A finer texture of marijuana can be packed more tightly, increasing surface area to maximize airflow and ensuring a more even exposure to heat for cleaner, smoother draws.
- Enhances the smell and flavor of your marijuana: Using a grinder to break up your herb into smaller pieces exposes the marijuana to more surface area, allowing more of its scents and flavors to be released and enjoyed.
- Saves herb: Grinders catch every particle of your dry herb, including its fine pollen, in a contained space rather than it getting lost on your fingers. This saves you money along the way.
- More intense natural effects: By boosting surface area to allow a vaporizer or pipe to expose more of the dry marijuana to heat, a greater concentration of the herb’s active compounds are released for more powerful natural effects.
Get Started with a Grinder
Now that you know about grinders and their importance for maximizing the benefits of dry herb, visit our Cannabis 101 page to learn how to incorporate your freshly ground herbs into vaporizers and pipes.
Visit our Accessories Buyer’s Guide to find the grinder that is right for you.
Grinders are essential tools for dry herbs. Here you can learn all about grinders– how to use them and the role they play in vaping or smoking dry herb.
How And Why To Use A Marijuana Grinder
Grinders are essential pieces of marijuana paraphernalia. From producing a smoother smoke to making cannabis easier to carry, there are many reasons why grinders deserve to be part of your arsenal. Many smokers may hesitate at the upfront cost, but if you are a regular cannabis consumer, you will find the investment to be well worth it in the end. Before you go out and buy a grinder, there are a few things you should consider.
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.
WHAT KINDS OF GRINDERS ARE THERE?
Grinders can differ in shape, size, price, and functionality. The style of grinder you choose will depend on your needs and your budget. For those looking for maximum portability and cost efficiency, a small two-chamber grinder may be best. Whereas those looking for power and speed may be better off investing in an electric grinder.
Electric grinders are super convenient because they do all of the hard work for you. The main downside to electric grinders is the power requirement. Unless you have a battery-powered grinder, you will need a power outlet to use one. Electric grinders also have a tendency to overdo it, completely pulverizing and crushing your weed during the grinding process. Because of these disadvantages, electric models tend to be less popular among smokers. Unless you have to grind a large amount of bud quickly, you are probably better off using a manual grinder.
TWO-PIECE, SINGLE CHAMBER GRINDER
This is the most basic kind of grinder you can find. The two-piece grinder is just that, two pieces that close together to grind your weed in a single chamber. The inside part of each piece should be layered with sharp teeth. This type of grinder has no catch chamber for kief. Instead, it tends to get mixed in with the ground bud or stick to the sides of the chamber.
Because of their simplicity, two-piece grinders are on the cheaper side of the price spectrum. Moreover, these kinds of grinders tend to be made from a variety of materials including wood, plastic, and metal. While plastic or wooden grinders may be cheaper, metal grinders are much more durable.
FOUR-PIECE, THREE CHAMBER GRINDERS
These kinds of grinders are the most popular among regular smokers. While they may be a bit pricier than the simpler two-piece grinders, the added functionality is well worth it. This style of grinder has 3 chambers: one for weed to grind, one for ground weed, and one for catching kief. The crystal catcher alone makes this type of grinder worth the extra expenditure. That trove of kief can come in really handy on a rainy day when your stash runs out. This kind of grinder is typically made of metal, for added durability.
Card grinders are pretty rare out in the wild. While they may be easy to store and carry, they are also messier. Card grinders are built similarly to food graters. They are composed of a single piece of metal with a multitude of small holes, or a fine screen, for grinding purposes. Card grinders are very inexpensive and cost-effective.
HOW DO YOU USE A GRINDER?
Two-piece and four-piece grinders can be properly used in just a few simple steps.
1. REMOVE THE LID OF THE GRINDER
This should give you access to the main chamber, allowing to insert your buds. Use your fingers to break up the bigger nugs that don’t fit well. Make sure to avoid placing anything in the centre of the chamber. This is where the grinder pivots, and in case of metal grinders, there tends to be a magnet to help keep the lid on tightly. Anything placed in the middle will not be ground.
2. REPLACE THE LID AND GRIND
After setting your bud in place, put the lid back on. Press it down, shutting it tightly, twisting it a bit if need be. Give the lid about 10 to 15 clockwise rotations, while applying a bit of pressure. Tap the sides and the top of the grinder a couple of times during and after the grinding to make sure everything gets processed.
3. UNSCREW THE LID AND ENJOY YOUR BUD
After grinding, carefully unscrew the lid off of your grinder. Be gentle, as ground cannabis can fall out of your grinder if it is stuck to the top, or if the grinder is being held unevenly. Simply load your ground cannabis up into your joint or pipe and enjoy!
4. COLLECT YOUR KIEF CRYSTALS
Don’t forget to make use of those precious kief crystals! After grinding a few grams of cannabis, you will probably have enough kief for a full bowl. You can craft a kief scraper tool out of a torn bit of paper, or preferably, very thin cardboard. Specialized scraping tools are available for purchase, or may even come with your grinder.
CLEANING YOUR GRINDER
It is important to clean your grinder so as to ensure that it keeps working as intended. Moreover, a thorough clean may reward you with bud or kief that may be stuck in certain parts of your grinder. Too much resinous build-up on the insides of your grinder can make it harder to use, eventually clogging it up altogether.
There are several techniques that can help you to clean your grinder as efficiently as possible. Using a small, fine toothbrush to dig away at hard to reach spots will result in a more thorough clean. If that does not work, grinders can be soaked in isopropyl alcohol, salt, and warm water for a few minutes before cleaning. Also, rubbing away at trouble spots with a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and salt can solve most problems. Finally, freezing your grinder before cleaning may help you knock loose some of those stubborn clumps of resin.
Grinding cannabis will make it more pleasant to smoke, and easier to make edibles with. Grinders come in several types, to suit your needs and budget.