Joint is a slang term for a cigarette rolled using cannabis. Rolling papers are the most common rolling medium in industrialized countries; however, brown paper, cigarettes with the tobacco removed, beedis with the tobacco removed, tracing paper, ATM receipts and newspaper are commonly used in some developing countries, and by poorer smokers in first world countries.1 Modern papers are now made from a wide variety of materials including rice, hemp, and flax, and are also available in flavored varieties.2
A joint can vary in size,3 typically containing between 0.25 to 1 grams net weight of cannabis (joints have been rolled with 2 or more pounds but this is not a common practice) (depending on whether tobacco is used in the rolling process).4
Joints consist of dried cannabis rolled inside a cylinder by hand or by a rolling machine. When smoked to the very bottom of the joint, it is often difficult to hold and is called a 'roach' or a 'crutch' in the United States. The roach will often have an appreciable amount of THC from the accumulated resin. The roach can be held with finger nails, roach clips, roach pins, tweezers, rolled-up top of a matchbook, or can be smoked using a pipe.
Though all joints customarily contain cannabis,5 regional differences have been noted. In Europe, certain Commonwealth nations, and more recently North America, joints, or spliffs,6 typically include a bit of rolled cigarette packet cardboard or business card in one end to serve as a mouthpiece. This is known as a filter or "roach." Other common terms used for the paper "filter" are "crutch", "tip" or "cut". (In North America, "roach" instead usually means the smoked-down butt of a joint, which can be finished off in a pipe, rolled into the lighting-end of a new joint, or saved for a cumulative all-roach joint.) In the past decade, filters have become more popular in North America as well.
The term spliff is sometimes used to distinguish a joint prepared with both cannabis and tobacco,7 as is commonly done in European countries, where joints containing only cannabis are rarely smoked. However, in the West Indies where this term originated (especially Jamaica), a spliff is simply a marijuana cigarette, normally containing no tobacco.
Multiple variations of joints, including a back-rolled joint (often referred to in the United States as a Dutchie for its origin in the Netherlands' coffeeshops) and tulip, exist. Joint-rolling requires a certain level of skill, which can be honed with practice. There are various internet tutorials on joint rolling styles.8 Several aspects of joint-rolling can have an effect on the end product: the thickness of the rolling papers used, the mix of cannabis and tobacco, the use of a filter, and the quantity and quality of the cannabis.
The word joint ultimately originated from French, where it is an adjective meaning "joined" (past participle of the verb joindre), derived in turn from Latin iunctus, past participle of iungere ("join"/"bind"/"yoke").
By 1821, "joint" had become an Anglo-Irish term for an annexe, or a side-room "joined" to a main room. By 1877, this had developed into U.S. slang for a (usually unsavory) "place, building, establishment," especially referring to an opium den. By 1935, "joint" was being used to refer to the hypodermic needles used to inject heroin and other drugs at such establishments; this may have been influenced by the secondary meaning of "joint" in the sense of something done "in common" or shared. Its first usage in the sense of "marijuana cigarette" is dated to 1938.9
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There are many slang terms mostly synonymous with the word joint;10unreliable source? e.g., "fatty" can be used to describe a joint that contains an unusually large quantity of marijuana.11unreliable source? A "pinner" is a term used for a very skinny, straight, tightly rolled joint containing a small amount of cannabis, a "secret agent" is a cigarette with the tobacco replaced with cannabis and is used for covert smoking, and the term "jay" or "J" is used as an abbreviation for a generic joint.
The term spliff is a West Indian word of Jamaican English origin,12 but has spread to several western countries, particularly the UK, and many countries in Europe. Its precise etymology is unknown, but it is attested as early as 1936. While Jamaican spliffs are generally conical in shape, those elsewhere tend to be cylindrical and of varying lengths. A joint is also called a "doobie" (or "doob" for short), mostly when rolled with king sized rolling papers.
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- e.g., in Jamaica: The Rastafarians by Leonard E. Barrett p. 130.
- "Roll Your Own Magazine - Winter-Spring 2008". Ryomagazine.com. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
- "Dope activist to smoke 1m long joint". news.com.au. 2006-11-26. Archived from the original on 2009-10-28. Retrieved 2012-01-28.dead link
- World Health Organization: Division of Mental Health and Prevention of Substance Abuse (1997). Cannabis: a health perspective and research agenda. p. 11. WHO/MSA/PSA/97.4.
- "Joint". Dictionary.reference.com. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
- "Online Etymology Dictionary". Etymonline.com. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
- Australian Government Department of Health: National Cannabis Strategy Consultation Paper, page 4. "Cannabis has been described as a 'Trojan Horse' for nicotine addiction, given the usual method of mixing cannabis with tobacco when preparing marijuana for administration."
- "How to roll". dailysmoker.com. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
- "Online Etymological Dictionary". Etymonline.com. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
- "joint". Urban Dictionary. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
- "fatty". Urban Dictionary. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
- "Spliff". Dictionary.reference.com. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
13. How To Roll A Joint www.WeAreBaked.com, A Stoners Guide To Marijuana