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Spliffs vs. Joints: What’s the Difference?

Diving into the cannabis community can be a bit like learning a new language, especially with all the slang floating around. Let’s talk about two terms that often confuse newcomers: spliffs vs joints.


So, a joint is pretty straightforward – it’s just cannabis rolled up in paper, which could be anything from hemp to rice paper. On the flip side, a spliff mixes things up a bit with both tobacco and cannabis. This combo brings a different taste and overall effect, thanks to the nicotine buzz.


Why does this matter? Well, it’s not just about sounding cool at parties. Knowing the difference helps you make choices that suit your preferences, both in terms of health and experience.


In this blog, we’ll break down why you might lean towards one or the other, looking at the pros and cons, and what each choice says about your smoking style. Let’s get started!


a cannabis joint filled with flower on a blue surface


Spliff vs Joint: Historical Context

When we take a step back into history, it’s cool to see how the world has rolled with smoking cannabis. Originally, smoking was all about the pure, unadulterated plant. The idea was simple: grab some cannabis, roll it up, and you’ve got yourself a smoke sesh.


Now, the spliff brings a bit of international appeal to the table. It’s widely believed that mixing tobacco with cannabis started over in Europe. People there were into tobacco cigarettes and started mixing in cannabis for an extra kick. Over time, this trend made its way across ponds and borders, evolving into the spliff as we know it today.


This evolution wasn’t just about mixing substances; it was about cultures blending and influencing each other, creating new traditions and ways of enjoying cannabis. Through this historical lens, whether you’re team joint or team spliff says a lot about your smoking heritage and personal taste.


What is a Joint?

A joint is essentially cannabis rolled in a thin paper meant for smoking. Its simplicity and ease of use are what make it so appealing to many users.


Joints are are staple in cannabis culture, primarily consisting of pure cannabis that is sometimes infused with concentrates. They are known for their straightforward composition – cannabis packed in rolling papers, often with a filter or crutch at one end to aid in handling and smoking.


The materials for rolling joints are minimal, including rolling papers made from various materials such as hemp, rice, or flax, and of course, ground cannabis.


Popular Strains for Joints

The choice of strain for a joint can significantly alter the smoking experience. Popular strains for rolling into joints include Blue Dream, Sour Diesel, and OG Kush, each known for its distinctive flavor profile and effects.


a hand holding a joint


What is a Spliff?

A spliff, on the other hand, is cannabis mixed with tobacco — basically a cannabis cigarette.


Spliffs are characterized by their mixed content. They not only deliver the effects of THC from cannabis but also the nicotine buzz from tobacco, making for a combined experience.


The tobacco-to-cannabis ratio in a spliff can vary widely depending on personal preference, but a common ratio is 50/50. Adjusting this balance can alter the flavor, strength, and effect of the spliff.


In many European countries, smoking spliffs is the norm, deeply ingrained in the local smoking culture. The practice reflects a different approach to cannabis consumption, blending the social aspects of smoking tobacco with the recreational use of cannabis.


Key Differences Between a Spliff and a Joint

Tobacco Content

The most significant difference between a spliff and a joint is the presence of tobacco in spliffs. Joints consist solely of cannabis.


Flavor Profiles and Smoking Experience

The inclusion of tobacco in spliffs alters the flavor and the overall smoking experience. Spliffs tend to have a harsher, more stimulating effect due to the nicotine, whereas joints offer a purer taste of cannabis and its terpenes.


Health Considerations

Health implications of smoking spliffs versus joints vary, primarily because tobacco use is associated with a higher risk of developing various health issues, including respiratory problems, heart disease, and nicotine addiction.


Those opting for joints avoid the health risks associated with tobacco but still face potential risks related to inhaling smoke.


Rolling a Joint: Step-by-Step

The art of rolling a joint is akin to a rite of passage in the cannabis community. Here’s how you can master this craft:


Choosing the Right Paper

Your choice of thin rolling paper is crucial to your smoking experience. Options range from hemp, rice, and flax papers; each offers different burning rates and flavors.


Hemp papers are durable and provide a neutral taste, rice papers burn slower and are thinner, while flax papers are a balanced choice for beginners.


Grinding the Cannabis

Before rolling, grinding your cannabis is essential to achieve an even burn. A grinder can help you get a consistent, fine grind. Aim for a texture that’s not too powdery – this ensures your joint won’t be too tight and allows for smooth airflow.


Techniques for Rolling the Perfect Joint

  1. Prepare your paper: Hold the paper with the adhesive strip facing you, and fold it gently in the middle to create a groove for your cannabis.
  2. Fill it up: Distribute your ground cannabis evenly along the groove. If you’re using a crutch or filter, place it at one end.
  3. Roll it: Pinch the paper between your fingertips and roll it back and forth to shape the cannabis into a cylinder.
  4. Seal the deal: Tuck the unglued side of the paper around the cannabis, roll it tight, then lick the adhesive strip and seal your joint.
  5. Final touches: Pack the end of the joint to ensure an even burn. You can use a pen or a small stick to compact the cannabis gently.


With practice, rolling the perfect joint becomes an enjoyable prelude to your smoking session, blending tradition with personal touch.


a person rolling a joint filled with cannabis flower


Rolling a Spliff: Step-by-Step

The process of rolling a spliff is unique due to the inclusion of tobacco, requiring a slightly different set of skills and considerations.


Here’s a detailed guide to perfect your spliff-rolling technique:


Selecting Tobacco and Cannabis

Choosing the right tobacco and cannabis is the first step toward rolling a perfect spliff. For tobacco, a smooth, finely cut variety works best, as it blends easily with the cannabis and burns evenly.


When it comes to cannabis, selecting a strain that complements the tobacco’s flavor and the desired effects is crucial. A fine grind on your cannabis is also essential for a uniform mix.


Mixing Ratios and Preparations

The tobacco-to-cannabis ratio is a matter of personal preference and can significantly impact the spliff’s potency and flavor. A common starting point is a 50/50 mix, but feel free to adjust according to your taste and tolerance.


Mix your tobacco and cannabis thoroughly to ensure an even burn and consistent flavor throughout the smoking experience.


Rolling Techniques Unique to Spliffs

  1. Prepare your mixture: Once your tobacco and cannabis are well-blended, create a uniform mix to fill your paper.
  2. Create a crutch: Like joints, spliffs can benefit from a filter or crutch at one end. This not only helps with the structure but also prevents any material from entering your mouth.
  3. Fill and shape: Distribute your mix evenly on the cigarette rolling papers, holding it gently with the adhesive strip facing you. Use your fingers to shape the contents into a cylinder.
  4. Roll it up: Start rolling by tucking in the mix with the paper, and then roll back and forth to compact it into shape. Unlike a joint, you might want to roll a spliff slightly tighter to manage the burning rate of both tobacco and cannabis.
  5. Seal and enjoy: Lick the adhesive strip to seal the spliff, giving it a final twist to ensure it’s packed evenly. A well-rolled spliff should burn smoothly, offering a balanced blend of flavors and effects.


Rolling a spliff incorporates an additional level of skill and personal preference, blending two distinct cultures into a single, enjoyable experience. With practice, finding your perfect mix and roll will become second nature, enhancing your smoking sessions with every twist and lick.


The Smoking Experience

Smoking a spliff vs a joint offers different experiences in taste, how fast they burn, smoothness, and how long the effects last.


Spliffs mix tobacco and cannabis, giving a unique flavor that blends cannabis’s earthy tones with tobacco’s strong taste. This mix can be great for those who like complex flavors and the added buzz from nicotine. Spliffs usually burn slower and more evenly because of how tobacco burns, making them smoother to smoke. But, the tobacco in spliffs might make them feel harsher than smoking just cannabis in a joint.


Joints focus on the pure taste of cannabis. They let you fully experience the terpenes, which are what give cannabis its aroma and flavor, resulting in a cleaner and more fragrant smoke. Since there’s no tobacco in joints, the smoke is less harsh, which could be better for people who are sensitive or just want to enjoy cannabis on its own. Though, joints may burn faster than spliffs, meaning you might need to light them more often.


When it comes to how long the effects last, tobacco in spliffs can change how quickly you feel the high and how intense it is. Nicotine can make the high feel stronger but might also make it wear off faster. Joints, with only cannabis, tend to provide a more even and lasting high, letting you enjoy the THC and other cannabinoids longer.


Understanding these differences can help you choose the best way to smoke based on what you enjoy most, whether it’s the taste, the smoothness, or how long the effects last.


a person lighting a joint in a dark room


Alternatives to Smoking

Smoking is a common way to use cannabis, but there are many other options that provide different experiences and effects. These alternatives are great for people looking for something new or those who want healthier choices.


Vaporizing Cannabis

Vaping heats cannabis to release its active ingredients as vapor, avoiding burning the plant. This makes inhalation cleaner, reducing exposure to harmful combustion byproducts. Users often notice better flavor and more efficient cannabinoid consumption.


Vaping is considered less harsh on the lungs and airways than smoking, making it a better option for people worried about their respiratory health.


Edibles and Tinctures

Edibles are foods and beverages infused with cannabis extracts, offering a smoke-free way to consume cannabis. They provide a longer-lasting effect than smoking or vaping, as the active ingredients are metabolized through the digestive system. This method offers a discrete and convenient way to consume cannabis, with a variety of product types available, but it also requires diligent dosing due to the delayed onset of effects.


Tinctures are liquid cannabis extracts taken orally, usually with a dropper. They can be added to food or beverages or placed under the tongue for faster absorption. Tinctures allow for precise dosing and a quicker onset of effects compared to edibles, offering a controlled experience.


Pros and Cons Compared to Smoking

Vaping, edibles, and tinctures each have their advantages over traditional smoking methods.


Vaping is considered healthier and more efficient, allowing for a clearer taste and better control over dosage. Edibles provide a long-lasting effect and eliminate the need for inhalation, making them a good choice for those who want a smokeless option. Tinctures offer fast-acting convenience and precise dosing, appealing to users looking for immediate effects and control over their experience.


However, these methods also have downsides. The effects of edibles can be unpredictable and too intense for some, especially if improperly dosed. Vaping, while less harmful than smoking, still poses risks associated with inhaling heated substances. And tinctures, though effective, may require experimentation to find the correct dose.



To sum it up, we’ve looked at the differences between rolling and smoking spliffs and joints, showing how each provides a unique experience because of what they’re made of and how they burn. Spliffs mix tobacco and cannabis, giving a special taste and a sharper, though shorter, high due to the nicotine. Joints, however, let you enjoy the pure taste and smell of cannabis, resulting in smoother smoke and a steadier, longer-lasting high.


While we understand why some might prefer spliffs or joints based on what they like or the situation, we tend to lean towards the clean experience of joints. Ultimately, we prefer to experience the full range of cannabis’s flavors and effects without tobacco’s harshness and health risks. Still, choosing between spliffs and joints is a personal decision, often shaped by social settings, personal preferences, and health considerations.


To wrap up, we encourage everyone who uses cannabis to make informed choices about how they consume. Whether you like the mixed flavors of a spliff or the pure taste of a joint, knowing the differences is key. Above all, remember to use responsibly, keeping in mind the effects of both cannabis and nicotine to ensure a safe and pleasant experience.


a blonde girl with a tattoo smoking a joint


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is a spliff stronger than a joint?

A spliff can feel stronger than a joint to some users because it contains tobacco in addition to cannabis. The nicotine in tobacco can intensify the high from cannabis, creating a more pronounced effect. However, this “strength” is due to the combination of nicotine and THC rather than the potency of the cannabis itself.


2. Is a spliff and a joint the same thing?

No, a spliff and a joint are not the same. The main difference lies in their contents; a joint contains only cannabis, while a spliff contains a mixture of cannabis and tobacco. This blend impacts not only the taste and smoothness of the smoke but also the effects and duration of the high.


3. Why is it called a spliff?

The term “spliff” is believed to have originated in the West Indies and became popular in different parts of the world over time. It refers specifically to a roll containing both tobacco and cannabis. The origin of the word itself is a bit of a linguistic blend, much like the contents of a spliff, possibly derived from phrases used by smokers to describe their mixed rolls.


4. What’s the point of smoking a spliff?

Smoking a spliff offers a unique experience that combines the effects of both cannabis and nicotine. Some users prefer the altered state of consciousness that this combination can provide, enjoying the stimulant effects of nicotine alongside the relaxing effects of cannabis. Additionally, the tobacco can influence the burn rate, making the spliff last longer and potentially offering a smoother smoking experience.