How to Grind Weed With and Without a Grinder

In 2024, weed grinding is pretty much essential for a quality smoke sesh. While it isn’t 100 percent necessary, ground flower smokes so much better than a hunk of flaming nug. It’s easier to handle, more resistant to pesky inhale blockage, and it renders your smoking devices generally easier to clean when you’re done. But how to grind weed the best way is often a pointed debate.

Thankfully, cannabis grinders are widely available at smoke shops and dispensaries alike, ranging from super affordable to higher-tech—and therefore pricier. But even if you’re without a grinder, you can still successfully break your weed down with your own two hands…or some of the everyday household items chilling in your junk drawer or kitchen cabinet. 

Why grinding weed is important

Putting weed in a grinder isn’t mandatory. However, it’s common knowledge among industry veterans that breaking your buds into small pieces results in a vastly superior smoking experience—especially when we’re talking about joints or blunts, where size (and airflow) matters.

Healthy cannabis flowers can grow to be super massive, and so can their nugs. But while part of cannabis culture is all about lusting after these aromatic little trees and lauding them for their great size and shape, shoving a big chunk in your bong’s bowl piece is one of the worst ways to experience a product. 

Indeed, big nugs are meant to be admired—and then immediately broken down for consumption. Think of it as part of the process when it comes to thoroughly experiencing the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes: ground cannabis means better airflow, a more even burn, and the promise of kief in your near future. In fact, most grinders come with kief catchers, a handy function that collects all of the itty bits of flower that are too much of a fine grind for today’s bowl but perfect for sprinkling atop tomorrow’s.

How to use a grinder

Knowing how to grind weed is super simple, especially if you’re using a nice multi-chamber grinder or one of those electrical grinders that do much of the work for you. Breaking those buds into smaller pieces is easy with these tools.

Ideally, your herb grinder has a kief catcher. However, you can get the job done well with a basic two-piece—it’ll just be a bit harder for you to collect that kief if you’re dead set on getting the most out of your flower. 

Step One: Prepare your weed

Pre-grind your flower by removing the stems and breaking down the larger nugs, ensuring they’re small enough to fit in the top chamber of your grinder. You don’t want to grind more than about one gram at a time, or your grinder will get clogged. 

Step Two: Place your weed in the grinder

Separate the top and bottom chambers of your grinder—or the top two, if you have a three-piece grinder. Place your weed in the top chamber and replace it with the lid.

Step Three: Grind your flower

To grind your cannabis, hold the pieces of your grinder together so no weed falls out. Then, rotate the top and bottom chambers in opposite directions, applying gentle pressure. You’ll be able to feel your flower breaking down as you go, sort of like a mortar and pestle.

Step Four: Check consistency

After a few seconds of grinding, open up your grinding chamber to check for desired consistency. 

Step Five: Transfer ground weed

Once you’re happy with your grinding process and flower consistency, it’s time to consume! Transfer the ground flower into a bowl, a joint cone, or a container for later use. You can dip into your kief catcher and sprinkle some kief on top of your flower for an extra oomph—just keep in mind kief takes quite a while to collect, so you may want to get a few healthy grinding sessions in before you check. 

Step Six: Clean your grinder

To avoid your grinder getting clogged from several rounds of resinous flower passing through, keep it clean! You can accomplish this by taking it apart and soaking it in isopropyl alcohol for about 30 minutes to one hour. Make sure to rinse it off and dry thoroughly before your next use. 

How to grind weed without a grinder

If you don’t have a grinder on hand, no problem. You can still break your weed down for your smoke sessions. The easiest way to do so is by hand, but this can be somewhat time-consuming and requires a good amount of patience. 

Here are a few other DIY ways consumers around the world turn to when it’s time to break down big nugs:

Mortar and pestle

Remember when we mentioned that grinding weed sort of feels like working a mortar and pestle? That’s because the two tools are pretty much interchangeable!

Simply place your buds in the mortar, using your pestle to crush and grind the flower until you’ve reached your desired consistency—just keep in mind that this method can be time-consuming.

Pill bottle and coin

Sort of a strange one, but another successful way to grind your flower is to place it in an empty pill bottle, along with a coin of your choice. Then, shake it up. The coin will ricochet off the pill bottle’s walls, cutting through the cannabis and separating your buds as it goes. 

Blender or food processor

This is a favorite for edible makers since you can generate volume quickly—although you might not always be lucky enough to have a blender or food processor. But if you do, try tossing some fluffy nugs in place of the leafy greens you usually blend. Pay close attention and be sure not to blend it for too long; otherwise, the grind will likely be too fine. 

Knife and cutting board

This method is straightforward and simple, although it requires precision and can get messy if you’re not careful. 

Pair of scissors

Another classic option, although you’ll likely have to give your scissors a thorough scrub once you’re done. Thankfully, we have a how-to section on cleaning off cannabis residue in just a few paragraphs. 

Cheese grater

Certainly less tasty than fresh Parmesan or mozzarella, but you can successfully grind your weed with a cheese grater, too. 

Coffee grinder—your last resort

Finally, you can easily grind your weed with a coffee grinder. However, this option remains the least popular—especially for regular coffee drinkers. If you’ve purchased your coffee grinder specifically for cannabis, that’s another story, but regularly using one grinder for both products can easily result in coffee that sort of tastes like weed…or vice versa. 

How to clean any cannabis residue

We talked about cleaning a cannabis grinder earlier, but if you used another item to break your weed down, it’s even more imperative to keep clean—especially if you used a food-touching tool like a cheese grater or coffee grinder.

To maintain hygiene and prevent cross-contamination, you should have the following cleaning materials on hand:

  • Isopropyl alcohol (at least 90%, preferably higher)
  • Bowl 
  • Scraping tool (knife, spatula, etc.)
  • Q-tips
  • Paper towels or a cleaning cloth
  • Dish soap
  • Hot water


  1. Gather all of your materials.
  2. Use your scraping tool to gently remove any large pieces of cannabis residue from the item you’re cleaning. 
  3. If the residue is stubborn or sticky, you can soak it in isopropyl alcohol. Place the item in your bowl and fill it with alcohol, ensuring that the residue is fully submerged. Let it soak for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. After soaking, dip your Q-tips in isopropyl alcohol to scrub away any remaining residue with a little more elbow grease.
  5. Once you’ve successfully scrubbed away the residue, rinse your grinding item thoroughly, using hot water to flush out the alcohol and resin. You can also use a small amount of dish soap to tackle any stubborn remaining residue. 
  6. Use paper towels or a clean cloth to dry. Pay close attention to ensure no moisture is left behind, as this might lead to mold or mildew growth later. 

How to grind weed — final thoughts

Breaking up your bud isn’t required for consumption, but it makes the experience ten times better. The burn will be more even and the smoke will be far more smooth. Whether you use a fancy grinder or old-fashioned scissors, you will surely be pleased with the results.