What is the difference between joints, blunts, and spliffs?

What is the difference between joints, blunts, and spliffs?
Adam Parsons

How do you differentiate between a blunt, a spliff, and a joint? Whether it's the amount of weed used, the use of tobacco, or the role tobacco plays, it's easy to understand the difference as soon as you compare and contrast.

There's more than one way to smoke your favourite cannabis. While bongs, pipes, and other extravagant rigs are congenial in their own right, plenty of cannabis lovers still cherish the art of rolling their ganja.

From joints to spliffs to blunts, all three varieties of rolled marijuana offer a convenient way to medicate. And, thanks to the distinct features of each, cannabis consumers can even customise their high and relish in a unique smoking experience unlike anything from a piece of glass.

For those who are new to blunts, spliffs, and joints, trying to tell them apart can get confusing. So, what really differentiates the three primary types of rolled cannabis?



For those in the US, the joint is probably the most common way you see cannabis rolled up. Simply enough, if you're in the US, it's a rolled up cigarette containing nothing but weed. The same term, however, is used differently in Europe. A joint is a term can be used to describe either a pure marijuana cigarette or one containing a blend of weed and tobacco in that part fo the world. The latter, however, is also known as a spliff, which we'll be discussing later in the article. For now, we'll be working with the US definition.


Joints can vary greatly in size. It all depends, of course, on the type of paper you use and the amount of weed you put in. If we had to estimate, though, most joints contain between half a gram and a full gram of cannabis. Size-wise, they end up a little smaller or larger than the average cigarette. In terms of shape, though, they tend to get slightly wider as you get closer to the top.


Part of a joint's ubiquity is its simplicity; all you need is rolling paper, some weed, and maybe a rolled up filter paper. The latter is not quite a cigarette filter, but rather a piece of thicker paper with the end folded in over itself twice, then rolled into a cylinder. This serves as the mouthpiece, keeping the end of the joint open and smokable while preventing pieces of weed from flying into your mouth.


The flavour of your joint depends exclusively on the strain you're smoking and the terpenes within. Since the paper (usually) isn't flavoured, there's nothing taste-wise standing between you and the good flower itself. With that in mind, make sure you save your tastiest strains for your joints.


• It's nothing but weed.

• If you have an issue with tobacco, you can just roll up one of these to smoke with your friends, and we're sure none of them will have an issue. Of course, nothing's stopping you from lighting one up alone, either.

• If you're not worried about the weed smell lingering for most of the day, you can also spark one of these indoors without the same worry that comes with lighting tobacco inside. No eternally lingering scent, no stains on the walls and furniture, no problem!


• You might see your supply dwindling quicker if you roll joints regularly. You can always roll smaller joints, but that wastes paper and filters.

• That's not even to mention the time you'd spend constantly rolling, which is time you should spend smoking.



Moving on, a spliff is often how you'll see marijuana smoked in Europe, if not out of a glass piece. Here, of course, they'll sometimes refer to it as a joint, but since that means something distinct in the US, its more specific term is a "spliff". Like a joint, a spliff involves weed wrapped in rolling paper. The difference here, however, is that tobacco is included with the weed.


From the outside, besides the colour of the tobacco showing through the paper, joints and spliffs are indistinguishable. Along with that, they'll almost always have the same amount of smokable material inside. Spliffs might end up a bit larger, but that's only due to tobacco padding out the extra space.


Similar to a joint, you'll need to get some rolling paper, weed, and filter papers. You'll also need tobacco. Many people just use cigarettes, although it's more cost-effective to buy packs of loose tobacco designed to be rolled up. While not available at all corner stores, almost any smoke shop selling tobacco will have them.


The flavour of your weed still comes into play here, but this time it'll be joined by the powerful taste of tobacco. This means you won't miss much if your strain isn't too terpene-loaded. If it does have a rich taste, though, it could pair nicely with the tobacco.


• If you're trying to save weed while still enjoying a full smoke sesh, spliffs are perfect.

• They also work well if you and your friends smoke tobacco already and want to get high at the same time.

• Along with that, the fact that a good chunk of what you're rolling isn't weed means you'll be able to stretch your stash out even longer.

• Given that tobacco also gives the smoker a head rush, a spliff can have you feeling just as good as a joint.


• If tobacco happens to make you uncomfortable, a spliff might not be a pleasant experience.

• Given that there's less weed, it might take more spliffs to get you as high as you want to be.

• The presence of tobacco makes these a bit more problematic for smoking in the house.



Lastly, if you've ever watched a rap music video or been to Los Angeles or New York City, there's a chance you've already seen a blunt before. They're an icon in the world of cannabis. Many people even consider learning how to roll one a rite of passage. Simply put, a blunt uses cigar wraps instead of paper, and a hell of a lot of weed.


A properly rolled blunt will always come out cylindrical. However, just like people, they're beautiful in all sizes. If you're using around a gram or so of weed, it might come out a bit thicker than a pencil. If you're celebrating, though (and have the rolling skill), you can fit up to two or more grams in one wrap.


The amount of cannabis you can use, however, greatly depends on what type of wrap you use. The wraps in question are obtained from cleaning out cigars. Rather than Cubans, though, we're talking about the sort you find sold behind the counter in corner stores. Brands like Swisher Sweets, White Owl, and Optimo, for instance, can hold about a gram or more.

Two of the most famous brands of wraps used for blunts, though, are Backwoods and Fronto. Since Backwoods cigars are larger, rolled up pieces of tobacco leaf, they can fit well over two grams of weed inside. Some Backwoods cigars, however, include leaf stems that make rolling impossible. Fronto solves this problem by selling smokers the entire tobacco leaf. No "guts" to clean out, no chance of getting a wrap that's all leaf stems—just pure bulk convenience.

Since tobacco is the main material of the wrap, these are typically only filled with cannabis.


Similar to spliffs, the tobacco's flavour plays a main role here. This time, however, you might get a little extra flavour on top. If you want a Swisher, White Owl, or even a Backwood, you'll have plenty of sweet and fruity flavour options to choose from. Fronto smokers, however, will only get the flavour of natural tobacco. Since there's only weed inside, though, the terpenes in your bud will have a chance to shine as well.


• You get the combined sensations of tobacco and weed, while having enough weed to really send you sky-high.

• If you're at the right kind of party, whipping one of these out is a great way to get everyone stoned and impressed with you.

• The combined flavour of the wrap and weed makes for a very tasty smoking experience.


• Given the size of a typical blunt wrap, you'll have to use more weed than you would for a joint or spliff.

• The dominance of tobacco might make it unpleasant for some.

• If you leave it out for some time, the wrap will get dry and noticeably harder to smoke. If you leave out the cigar without rolling the blunt, the wrap becomes essentially unusable.


Truth be told, there isn't one clear-cut answer as to which one is best. Do you like tobacco involved in your smoking experience? Do you have a lot of weed to smoke? Can you roll one or the other better? All of these questions will come into play.

If you have efficiency in mind, joints might be preferred since they're straight weed, while blunts should be avoided. If you're looking to smoke with a lot of people, though, it'll be wise to roll a larger blunt. Lastly, if you're being conservative with your weed stash and want to get your morning cigarette and toke out of the way, spliffs are the way to go.


No matter what you go for, all three are going to get you high. As long as you remember the distinctions, and make note of where you are in the world, you'll never be caught looking confused.

Enjoy responsibly! And make sure you limit your tobacco consumption as much as possible.

Adam Parsons
Adam Parsons

As a professional cannabis journalist, author, and copywriter, Adam has been writing about all things psychoactive, CBD, and everything in between for a long time. In an ever-changing market, Adam uses his BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism degree to keep in stride with contemporary research and contributing worthwhile information to all of his projects.