Grind Cannabis Without A Grinder
5 min

10 Ways To Grind Cannabis Without A Grinder [2024 Update]

5 min

This is the weed grinding survival guide that's been missing from your life. Chock-full of alternative methods for grinding cannabis without a grinder, we cover the whole gamut—from the inspired to the insane, and everything in between.

No Grinder? No Problem

Of course, by far the best way to grind cannabis is by utilising a grinder. However, even the most stubborn, uncompromising grinder aficionado can find themselves without a device when they need one most.

Surrounded by good vibrations, but no available means of grinding your herb, you need to find a way to render your bud into an easily smokable form. After all, festivals, concerts, and large public gatherings are great settings in which to enjoy a few joints with friends, or make new friends to enjoy joints with.

But, did you know that the average grinder rarely strays further than the coffee table? Not that it’s unwelcome at a rock festival, but it tends to be thought of as rather precious, even delicate. If there’s one thing stoners get attached to, especially those that prefer joints, it’s a reliable metal grinder with multiple tiers and a kief-catcher. Such a coveted item is often left behind as a precaution, before the adventure has even begun.

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Top 10 Weed Grinders

Whatever the reason you find yourself without a grinder, you need not fear any longer. We will walk you through a list of options for when you find yourself without a grinder, at home or on-the-go. The following is by no means a definitive list of grinder-less grinding options; use your creativity to come up with other methods to make the process even easier or cooler (and make sure to share them with us in the comments).

Also, consider that you may want to find yourself a decent weed grinder that can withstand some travel. While we don’t necessarily advise bringing your nice three-chamber grinder on your hot spring getaway, we might suggest carrying a basic plastic device to help you out. Or, you can use a simple credit card-style grinder to keep things even more discreet and portable. These nifty devices sort-of resemble a miniature cheese grater and easily fit into your wallet.

Grinding Weed Without a Grinder: 10 Alternatives to Save You

Perhaps it goes without saying, but using anything other than a traditional cannabis grinder can be detrimental to the quality of your bud. However, we understand that desperate times call for desperate measures, and the methods listed below will serve you when you are in a grinder-less pinch. Always be prepared, and make sure to visit our headshop for the absolute perfect grinder.

1. Use your Hands

Use your Hands

To state the obvious, picking apart your nugs with your fingers will do in a pinch. Although, if you happen to be smoking some really dense, sticky weed, it can seriously impair your spliff rolling abilities. Spiderman hands might be great for swinging from webs, but they can make a right mess when rolling joints. In some parts of the world, this is the customary way to grind up buds, especially amongst Mediterranean smokers.

2. Scissors and Shot Glass

This is a far more elegant solution. Sure, it requires some tools, but all are common household items. Quick, clean, and very efficient, it’s probably the next best method to using a grinder. All you need to do is chuck the bud into a narrow glass—like a shot glass—insert the scissor blades, and start snipping away like a mad man. 

We won’t deny that it may be a chore to snip all of your precious, sticky cannabis buds into smaller pieces. But let’s keep it real: if each piece ends up being the perfect, smokable size, a little bit of tedious (alternatively, meditative) snipping will be worth it.

3. Coffee Grinder

Coffee Grinder

OK, so this one is kind of cheating, but, again, it's a common household item that can serve as a pretty effective grinder. We advise caution, as coffee grinders tend to pulverise the buds too much for our liking, and your coffee may also never taste the same again. But there may be situations where the grinding power of your whirring electrical friend will come in handy. Keep pulsing to a minimum, and you may just achieve the ideal grind with a coffee grinder.

Just know that if you are sloppy with cleaning your electric grinder afterwards, your journey to work the next morning will seem like a beautiful dream. But perhaps that could be a welcome bonus!

4. Knife and Chopping Board

You’re probably noticing a recurring theme here. In our defence, before we get to the more exotic methods, it’s important to cover all of the substitutes you can find in your house—or your friend's house—as this can really save your smoking sessions. Pretty much every kitchen has a knife and cutting board. So, get a sharp knife—the same kind you’d use to cut onions and potatoes—and go to town on your marijuana bud. Just make sure it’s clean and that the blade is not serrated. You don’t want to tear up your flowers like a madman and dislodge those precious trichomes.

5. Pestle and Mortar

Pestle and Mortar

This is the secret the kid that stole stuff from the science lab knew about. Cooks, herbalists, and scientists use this pair to grind all kinds of stuff, so why not stoners? 

Downsides? The pestle and mortar method works best with buds that are sufficiently dried. If your weed contains too much moisture, you might end up smashing it as opposed to rendering it into small pieces.

6. Don’t Grind It! Compress It!

Maybe grinding, snipping, cutting, ripping, squishing, or “mortaring” don’t work, or maybe you just find them uncool. Whatever. The good thing is, there is something else you can do, and you may even like the result better: Say hello to the wonders of hash-making! No cutting and snipping required! 

Have a hair straightener handy? If so, you can make some seriously dank rosin by extracting those precious cannabinoids and terpenes from your bud. All you have to do is wrap a chunky bud in parchment paper and squish the goodies out of it between the heated plates of the straightener. In a couple of minutes, some sticky resin will be your reward. 

7. Wash It!

Using a hair straightener for some sticky resin fun is great and all that, but let’s take our hash-making endeavours one step up on the awesomeness scale by turning our weed into delightful bubble hash! Some call bubble hash "ice-hash" for the simple reason that ice is used to make it. But no worries, you won’t need to empty out your fridge and/or get your kitchen messy. 

Gadget-loving stoners with an adventurous streak know about ice washers, which are devices that do the job perfectly, all in a single miraculous machine. The Bubbleator by The Pollinator Company is perhaps the best-known of the ice hash machines. In a nutshell, you toss in a stash of buds, some ice, and water, plug it in, and magic happens. The end product is premium hash, free of any solvents. Did you notice we didn’t mention grinding your buds? That's because we don’t need to when making bubble hash! Just break them up into smaller chunks with your hands or a pair of scissors.

8. Shake It! (Like a Pro)

Grind Cannabis: Shake It

If you know a little about the botanical details of a cannabis bud, you may know that most of the good stuff is contained in the trichomes—tiny “crystals” on your weed that make it sticky (and you very high). What’s interesting is that you can shake these crystals off and collect them to make hash. These crystals or trichomes, by the way, are also called kief, and they are the key to some seriously dank hash.

Pollen shakers are widely available these days, allowing users to sieve the trichomes from mediocre marijuana and turn them into amazing high-grade hash. Place approximately 10g of dried buds into the shaker and let it sit in the freezer for 45 minutes. Then, shake the hell out of it for the next 10–15 minutes. We recommend wrapping your hand in a towel to prevent frozen fingers. Another solvent-free extraction method, but more labour-intensive.

9. DIY Shaker (Pill Bottle and coin)

Maybe you don’t have a pollen shaker around, or maybe you’re ordering one right this second because it sounds too good not to have. In any case, there is a DIY alternative you can use to save some cash. Find an empty pill bottle, add a small coin and a small amount of bud, then shake, shake, shake. Cleanliness is next to godliness, so make sure to give the empty pill bottle and the penny a good scrub before you get started. It may not look as “pro” as a real pollen shaker, but it’s still surprisingly effective and doesn't leave a mess.

10. Blend It! (But we would really rather you didn’t)

Blend It! (But we would really rather you didn’t)

OK, this is our last one, and we only advise using this method for emergencies. “Emergencies” as in, you literally have none of the aforementioned options available.

If you are in a “Die Hard”-type semi-apocalyptic situation plucking shards of glass from your feet, and the only appliance undamaged by the furious gun battles in Nakatomi Plaza is a blender, then toss that bud in quick and roll a spliff before Hans Gruber reloads. Horribly inefficient and truly a last resort.

Avoid the Hassle by Stocking Up on Cannabis Grinders

Let’s conclude this article by pointing out (again) that a grinder is really a must if weed is your thing, which we assume is the case, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article.

We’d even go so far as to say that you shouldn’t just have a single grinder, but several. Nobody wants to lose their favourite grinder, so keep your prized one right next to your rolling papers, and buy another cheap grinder for excursions. Think of it like packing a Saturday night special; better to have one and not need it, than need one and not have it.

Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
With an AB Mass Media and Communications degree, Miguel Ordoñez is a veteran writer of 13 years and counting and has been covering cannabis-related content since 2017. Continuous, meticulous research along with personal experience has helped him build a deep well of knowledge on the subject.
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