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Cannabis grinders are so commonplace, it can be hard to imagine what it’s like to consume dry herb without one. Especially when the consumption method requires a fine and even grind, a cannabis grinder’s ability is indispensable for a quality session.

In this guide, we'll go over why you would use a cannabis grinder and what to do in the event where you don't have one handy.

Why use a cannabis grinder in the first place?

A cannabis grinder simplifies the task in breaking apart large amounts of flower quickly. They’re easy to use, requiring just a few twists to go from a bud to into small and even-sized pieces, essential for a smooth burn and proper airflow. These accessories will often time have storage for the ground flower and sometimes and additional chamber for kief (the flavorful and potent trichomes that shake off the cannabis).

However, not everyone has a grinder at the ready. Perhaps you forgot yours at home, or you’re waiting for a new one to arrive in the mail. There’s no reason to wait around – there are plenty of alternative ways to take apart your flower. Here, we’ll review five common methods you can use when you’re in a pinch.

Is it possible to grind cannabis without a grinder?

Even though there are many reasons to use a grinder, it is certainly possible to prepare cannabis without one. After all, cannabis has been consumed for thousands of years, and the modern grinder hasn’t been around nearly quite that long.

It's important to note alternative methods do not produce the same results. The mechanical challenges of not having a specially-made accessory mat mean that the flower pieces produced is be too large, or the chop too uneven, for a smooth consumption experience. Although the below alternative methods may not be perfect, they are very handy if a grinder is not in reach.

What are the 5 ways to grind herb without a grinder?

The alternative methods for grinding cannabis without a grinder all take advantage of items you probably have accessible at home. Below we'll outline each method and the tools needed:

The "old school" method

What you need to know: Talk about getting back to basics. Using your hands is the simplest and most convenient way to break apart your cannabis if you have no tools on hand. Be prepared for sticky hands afterward, though.

What you’ll need: A rolling tray or other flat surface, your hands

Our step-by-step guide:

  1. Wash your hands and dry them thoroughly.
  2. Set up over your rolling tray or flat surface.
  3. Take the dry flower in your hands, and roll it around using your thumb and one to two other fingers.
  4. Pieces will begin to break apart in the palm of your hand and onto the rolling tray.
  5. Once finished, dump the remaining pile on to the rolling tray.
  6. Wash your hands thoroughly.

The coffee grinder method

What you need to know: As the name suggests, the device is designed to break apart whole spices and coffee beans. In a bind, it can do the same for cannabis. Keep in mind, though, that it may be difficult to fully clean the coffee grinder once you’re done.

What you’ll need: A coffee or spice grinder

Our step-by-step guide:

  1. Clean the grinder of any coffee or spice remnants.
  2. Place cannabis inside the grinder like any other material.
  3. Pulse the grinder until you achieve desired consistency.

The pill bottle and a coin method

What you need to know: While it may sound strange, folks swear by this alternative method for grinding cannabis. It involves no sharp blades or electronic devices, but be sure to wash every component thoroughly before attempting.

What you’ll need: A penny or dime, and a small container like a pill bottle

Our step-by-step guide:

  1. Wash the coin and pill bottle thoroughly.
  2. Dry the coin and pill bottle (or allow to air dry).
  3. Place the cannabis into the clean bottle.
  4. Insert coin into the bottle, and close the lid.
  5. Shake the bottle vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Repeat for another minute, or as needed.

The knife method

What you need to know: This straightforward way to grind cannabis gives you full control over the size of the flower. You can continue to chop until the grind is fine enough to your satisfaction. However, if your flower is particularly sticky, it may be difficult to maneuver the knife as cannabis builds up and sticks to the blade.

What you’ll need: A sharp knife, a cutting board

Our step-by-step guide:

  1. Clean and dry knife and cutting board.
  2. Place the cannabis on a clean cutting board.
  3. Begin to chop the cannabis carefully.
  4. Continue until the cannabis is the desired size.

The shot glass method

What you need to know: A pair of scissors opening and closing in the narrow confines of a shot glass or cup mimics the grinder’s teeth. Just like the knife method, though, particularly sticky plant material may stick to the blades and may make it difficult to open and close them.

What you’ll need: A shot glass, scissors

Our step-by-step guide:

  1. Clean and dry the shot glass and scissors.
  2. Place the cannabis into the shot glass.
  3. Insert the scissors safely into the shot glass.
  4. Snip at dry herb until the desired grind is reached.

For the next time you're without a grinder

If you find yourself grinder-less, don’t fret. There are plenty of alternative methods to grind your cannabis. While you might find yourself missing the perfectly-sized pieces produced by a grinder, many household objects such as a knife, scissors, or even just your hands can you close enough.

Want to learn more about grinders? Check out our helpful article here.

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