How To Use A Grinder: A Step-By-Step Guide
Want to get the most out of that ounce of Cherry OG you just bought? Want to look like a “professional” stoner (oh, if only there was such a thing)? Want to impress your friends and be the envy of all those around you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the answer is simple: learn how to use a grinder.
Grinders don’t get a lot of press, but they’re an essential piece of equipment that no committed cannaseur should be without. In this article, the experts at Honest Marijuana show you how to use a grinder and tell you everything you need to know about this helpful tool.
What Is A Grinder?
The original ganja gurus from way-back-when came up with some pretty interesting cannabis slang. Some of that jargon is not very self-explanatory (like sploof and chronic).
Thankfully, there’s no wacky etymology behind the word “grinder.” In fact, it’s probably one of the most obvious terms you’ll find in the marijuana lexicon.
So what exactly is a grinder? It’s a small container with “teeth” used for dispensing smoothies. Just kidding! It’s a small container with “teeth” used for grinding nugs of weed into smaller pieces.
It’s also one of the easiest ways to get ahold of kief (which we’ll get to later on in this article). But before that, let’s talk about the different types of grinders and their parts.
What Are The Parts Of A Grinder?
All grinders must have at least three components:
- A grinding chamber
- Teeth or pegs to do the actual grinding
- A lid to keep it all contained
As simple as that may sound, grinders come in a variety of different sizes, so it’s essential to understand what you’re looking for before you buy.
Here are the three most common types of grinders:
- Two-piece (single chamber)
- Three-piece (two-chamber)
- Four-piece (three-chamber)
The naming conventions here may seem a little strange, so allow us to explain.
Two-Piece (Single Chamber)
Two-piece, single chamber grinders are made up of a small bowl about the size and shape of a hockey puck (maybe a little bit smaller). That’s the single chamber.
This kind of grinder is called a two-piece because it also has a lid. Bowl + lid = two pieces. Put the lid on the bowl and you’ve created the single chamber. Get it? Good. Let’s move on.
Picture a two-piece grinder with the lid and the bowl. Now add another piece underneath. That’s the three-piece, two-chamber grinder. Let’s start from the top.
First comes the lid. It may have teeth or pegs to help with the grinding. Next comes the grinding chamber. It may have teeth or pegs as well. In a three-piece grinder, the bottom of the grinding chamber will have holes for the ground-up bud to fall through (a two-piece grinder won’t have those holes).
When your weed is chopped small enough in the grinding chamber, it will fall through the holes into the collection chamber. You can then unscrew this bottom chamber and collect the pot for use.
Lid + Grinding Bowl + Collection Chamber = 3 pieces and 2 chambers.
In a four-piece, three-chamber grinder, the collection chamber has a small mesh screen instead of a solid bottom. Underneath the collection chamber is the final piece of the puzzle: the kief chamber.
As you grind, the larger (but still ground-up) pieces of marijuana fall into the collection chamber. As you continue to grind and agitate the whole thing, tiny, pollen-like material falls through the screen into the bottom chamber. This pollen-like material is kief, which we’ll talk about in the next section.
Building on our little marijuana math problem, here are the components of the four-piece grinder:
Lid + Grinding Bowl + Collection Chamber/Screen + Kief Chamber = 4 pieces and 3 chambers
Now that you’re familiar with the different types of grinders and their associated pieces, we’ll tell you why you want to use one.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Grinder?
Grinders are great as ganja goes. There are too many advantages to be ignored. Here are just a few of the benefits of using a grinder.
We’ve mentioned kief a number of times throughout this article, but what is it exactly? Kief is the term cannaseurs use to refer to the terpenes and cannabinoids that separate from the trichomes during the grinding process.
Kief is a more pure and potent part of the marijuana plant, which is why it’s prized as an additive in everything from bongs to blunts, vaporizers to vape pens, and hookah to honey oil.
If you’re considering buying your first grinder, we highly recommend getting one with a kief chamber. You may have to pay a bit more, but the rewards are well worth the expense.
When you grind your herb, you actually make it more potent. It’s not magic—it’s science.
- Grinding creates more consistently sized pieces. This maximizes surface area and makes your marijuana easier to burn.
- Grinding prevents canoeing (when the bud in a joint begins burning only down the middle) and provides a more even burn.
- Grinding limits the amount of contact your bud has with your hands. This prevents the trichomes from being absorbed by your skin.
Taste & Smell
Grinding unlocks all the wonderful tastes and aromas that your favorite strain of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies has to offer. This may not seem like a big deal when all you care about is getting high, but improving the flavor can only add to the amazing experience.
Grinding your marijuana into usable pieces can be done in half the time it would take you to do it by hand. That means you can get to smoking much sooner. ‘Nuff said.
As we mentioned, ground marijuana is more potent than whole buds. That means you don’t have to use as much of the ground stuff to feel the same effects and you can stretch that ounce of Yoda OG even farther.
Less Harsh Smoke
This may not sound like a good thing, but it is. Small grounds burn more evenly and more completely. That cuts down on the unburned plant matter that can harsh your experience and cause you to hack up a lung.
Sure, you can still carry your bud in a baggie, but c’mon man. This is the 21st century! It looks much cooler if you transport your weed in a grinder. Plus, your stash will be protected by the top, bottom, and sides of the grinder. That just makes good sense.
So what are you waiting for? Run (seriously, run!) out and get yourself a grinder. Then come back and we’ll show you how to use it.
How To Use A Grinder
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use a grinder. Enjoy!
1) Load Your Grinder
Remove the lid. With your fingers, break your bud into smaller pieces. Don’t put anything in the middle of the grinder. This is where everything pivots. Anything placed in the center won’t get ground.
2) Grind Your Ganja
Replace the lid. Hold the bottom of the grinder with one hand and rotate the lid with the other hand. At first, there will be some resistance, so give it a little muscle. Rotate the grinder until you feel the resistance disappear.
3) Tap That Grinder
Before removing the lid on either collection chamber, give your grinder a tap against the table or the palm of your hand. This helps dislodge the cannabis into the collection chamber and pushes more kief through the screen.
4) Collect Your Cannabis
Separate the grinding chamber from the collection chamber and scoop out your newly ground weed. Be careful not to damage the screen if you’re using a four-piece grinder.
If this is your first grind, you may not have much kief, but you can separate the kief chamber from the collection chamber to see for yourself. Eventually, it’ll be full of powdery goodness!
5) Enjoy The Fruits Of Your Labor
At this point, the sky’s the limit on what you can do with your ganja grounds. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Roll a joint (it’s super easy with ground-up bud)
- Roll a cross joint
- Pack a bowl
- Steep some weed tea
- Whip up a batch of your favorite edibles
If you have more patience than we do, you could use this cannabis to make a tincture, isolate, extract, or oil.
Tips For How To Use A Grinder
After a few uses, you’ll get the hang of your grinder and figure out what produces the best finished product. Here are just a few tips to get you started:
- Opt for an aluminum or zinc grinder (if you can afford it)
- Get one with plenty of teeth and holes
- Don’t overfill the grinding chamber (the finished product won’t be as fine)
- Turn the grinder upside down for a few turns
- Put a clean coin in the collection chamber to help knock the kief through the screen
There really are very few downsides to using a grinder, so we encourage you to give one a try today. If you’re still unsure whether a grinder is for you, talk the budtenders at your local dispensary.
They probably have a few floor-model grinders laying around that you can try before you buy. If you have them walk you through the process first, you might pick up more tips to make your marijuana-grinding experience even better.
Not sure how to use a grinder? The experts at Honest Marijuana tell you everything you need to know about this essential piece of stoner hardware.