Bust out the Backwoods—it’s National Blunt Day (March 27).
Blunt, joint, or spliff?
While blunts, joints, and spliffs are similar in presentation and consumption, these terms are certainly not synonymous.
A joint is ground flower rolled in hemp or cigarette paper, like Zig Zag, Smoking, or Raw. As far as sparkable sticks go, a joint is for the purists. It’s just white or brown paper, weed, and a bit of spit and glue.
A spliff is very similar to a joint, but instead of rolling ground cannabis on its own, the bud is mixed with tobacco. This is not to be confused with a popper, which is either a small amount of cannabis stuffed into the tip of a cigarette or both substances mixed in the bowl of a pipe or bong.
A blunt is weed packed into a gutted cigar or wrapped in compressed tobacco paper, like Phillies or Swisher Sweets. They’re usually larger than a joint or spliff and only come in a muddy brown colour. While both joints and spliffs can be customized with flavoured or colourful paper, when left in it’s natural form, blunts tend to have the strongest taste as the cigar wrap adds an oaky and earthy aroma.
All of the aforementioned consumption methods can be either hand rolled or prepared using a rolling device.
While there is well-founded concern regarding the negative impacts of smoke inhalation on the human respiratory system, blunts do have a few upsides.
Due to the distinct flavour and presence of tobacco, blunts are generally preferred by an experienced smoker. Research published in 2009 showed the presence of tobacco increased “the vaporization efficiency of THC by as much as 45 percent”, generally making consumers experience weed’s psychoactive effects at a faster rate.
Compared to joints, they are more durable and easier to repair if ripped or dropped. Blunts also tend to be rolled larger and burn slower than a standard joint, making them ideal for a smoke circle or a consumer with a heavy tolerance.
As blunts use cigar wraps, they come with many of the same risk associated with cigarettes and are generally considered to be one of the least healthy ways to consume cannabis.
Studies have shown combining tobacco with cannabis can contribute to issues around dependency, while other evidence suggests long-term consumption can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, cancer, and lung disease.
Companies like Backwoods Cigars—which produce some of the most popular blunt wraps on the market—carry a legally mandated banner on their official website and packaging warning consumers about the risk of consuming the product. Specifically addressing pregnant women, the Surgeon’s General Warning reads: “Tobacco use increases the risk of infertility, stillbirth, and low birth weight.”
As the paper is made from tobacco leaves, it is also often warned that chronic blunt consumption runs a higher risk of addiction than that of joints.
Whereas rolling papers can take several years to expire, blunt wraps can go ‘stale’ quite quickly when opened. They tend to become brittle and leave behind a fowl taste when burned if left unsealed. It can also be a harsher smoking experience as the combustable materials are heavier.
Presence in pop culture
While the likes of Willie Nelson, Cheech and Chong, and Doug Benson are classically seen with a joint hanging out of their mouths, celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Rihanna, and Cypress Hill’s B-Real smoke blunts.
They are heavily rooted in hip hop culture and were popularized during the height of the gangsta rap movement in the late ’80s and throughout the ’90s.
Movies like “Boyz n the Hood” and “Friday” iconized blunts as a staple of stoner culture, almost always rolled by the likes of rapper-slash-actor Ice Cube and the late Tupac Shakur.
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Some celebrity cannaseurs, like rapper Wiz Khalif, have publically sworn off of blunts, actively prompting their followers to opt for a cleaner consumption method.
How to roll a blunt
Instead of trying to explain how to lick-and-bake a blunt, here’s a video of Canadian rapper and songwriter Tory Lanez rolling one during story time for online magazine Hot New Hip Hop.