What’s in a name? Deciphering the differences between joints, blunts & spliffs

Without even looking at someone, I bet that nine times out of 10 you could estimate their age range solely by asking them what they call “cannabis.” Kush? Pot? Ganja? Point being, the Wikipedia list of different names to call cannabis is astoundingly long, and many terms in the stoner lexicon are just different names for the exact same thing.

Which leads me to the question, are joints, blunts and spliffs the same thing?

Short answer: No, or at least, not always.

These days, a joint is what you typically think of when you combine rolling papers and cannabis on your crafting table to smoke a rolled cannabis cigarette. If you take anything away from this, the classic depiction of a marijuana cigarette is called a joint.

It gets a bit more confusing when we dive into the synonyms – I’m talking doobie, twist, fatty, (and according to wikipedia, I’m also talking “giggle stick”). But depending on where you are in the world, you may also be talking “spliff.”

In places like the UK and Jamaica, spliff is a word that means a joint. However, it gets tricky because, especially in the UK where the word spliff is most common, joints are often rolled with both tobacco from a cigarette and with cannabis; hence the confusion.

The most agreed upon definition, at least in North America, is that a spliff is rolled using regular rolling papers that you’d use to roll a joint, but consists of both cannabis and tobacco, as mentioned above.

This way of smoking your rolled cannabis product is an old-school method as far as North America is concerned. Some say it was a way to make your cannabis stretch a bit further, others suggesting it was because everyone was already smoking cigarettes anyway, or that it was just to dilute the cannabis to not get “too high.”

READ MORE: The Art of the Roll

For the eagle-eyed reader wondering why I emphasized that spliffs are a tobacco product but rolled with regular rolling papers, we like to call that foreshadowing. Another method to fusion dance tobacco and cannabis is to roll a blunt.

Blunts are rolled by using a tobacco leaf wrapper such as that used in a cigar, with the name actually deriving from the cigar brand Phillies Blunt Cigars. The most common way is to purchase a cigar, with pop-culture favouring Backwoods, Swisher Sweets or White Owl, then splitting it open, removing the tobacco, and rolling it up using everyone’s favourite plant.

Blunts are typically larger than cigarettes, harsher than spliffs, carry an undeniable cool-factor, but are still highly toxic tobacco products that are more porous than rolling papers, resulting in smoke that has higher concentrations of toxins.

One of the products that started showing up everywhere following legalization, because in Canada dispensaries cannot sell tobacco products, are tobacco-free “blunt wraps.” Brands like Juicy and High Tea Leaf offer hemp wraps as an alternative, matching the assortment of flavours that blunt brands boast, coming in flavours such as blueberry, mango, chocolate, vanilla, grape, and watermelon among many more.

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