10 Ways to Break Up Cannabis If You Don’t Have a Grinder

weedsmart_image_10 Ways to Break Up Your Cannabis If You Don’t Have a Grinder

Before you can enjoy your cannabis, you need to get it ready for your joint or bong. You do not want to skip breaking up your cannabis, which helps ensure you get the best possible smoking experience. Most people who smoke regularly like to keep a grinder on hand to help them out, but what if you don’t have one? There are plenty of ways to break up your cannabis even if you don’t have a grinder. Here are some of the most popular and effective ways. 

1. Use Your Hands

The most obvious method to break up your cannabis without a grinder would be using your hands. This is a basic method, and you should already have everything you need. The only downside is that if your buds are sticky, you may have issues cleaning your hands afterward or potentially wasting buds that refuse to get off your hands. You can overcome that by letting the bud dry out for a little before breaking it up. 

One quick word of caution if you choose to use your hands, you may lose some of the crystals or resin on your fingers, reducing the potency of your cannabis. 

With Parchment Paper

A variation of using your hands that will help keep them from getting sticky is to use parchment paper or wax paper. The slippery surface will prevent the marijuana buds from sticking. You can use this method in several ways, including cutting smaller pieces of wax paper and putting them between your fingers. 

2. Use Blunt Force or Heavy Objects 

If you already tried to break up the cannabis with your hands and it didn’t go well, you could also use extra force or a heavy object to hit the cannabis. If you opt for a heavy object, use some parchment paper so you don’t have to clean the object before or after. Just put cannabis buds between two pieces of the paper, then break it up with something heavy, like a book. 

The other method of using blunt force would be to put the buds in a plastic bag or something similar then bang it against a wall, counter, or table repeatedly. 

With a Coffee Grinder

3. With a Coffee Grinder

If you don’t have a cannabis grinder on hand, do you have a coffee grinder? This is a fairly common household item, and it can grind cannabis buds just as easily as it can grind coffee. This method is particularly helpful when grinding larger quantities of marijuana at once, as it will be efficient. 

Before you opt for this method, however, remember that it is among the options that are the hardest to clean up. Coffee grinders tend to have nooks and crannies, which can be particularly problematic in the case of sticky buds. Of course, you can overcome that cleanup problem to some extent by buying a cheap coffee grinder and designating it for cannabis. But, at that point, you might as well get a cannabis grinder

4. With a Knife and Cutting Board

Using a cutting board and knife is a classic option for breaking up your cannabis, and it conveniently uses items that you likely already have on hand. All you have to do is grab a sharp knife and chop up the cannabis like you would anything else. Just make sure you opt for a sharp knife, as otherwise, the cannabis may stick to it. 

5. With a Pizza Cutter

A simple variation on using a knife is to use a pizza cutter instead. These tend to have a sharp surface, and their wheeled design makes them easier to use. If you sew, you could also use a rotary blade. 

6. With Cards or Keys

If you don’t have a knife and prefer to cut up your buds, you could also try cutting them with keys or cards. Credit cards are usually strong enough to break up your buds without the card getting damaged, but you should still probably use the card that is least important to you. If you use a card, the bonus is that you can also collect the buds with it. 

If you decide to use keys to break up or cut your buds, use the serrated edges of the keys. We suggest cleaning the keys first since they are typically very dirty. You should also keep in mind that you may need to clean your keys with an alcohol swab after to remove stickiness. 

With Cards or Keys

7. With a Coin and Pill Bottle

If you don’t feel like cutting anything, then you can also use the convenient method of a coin and a pill bottle, two items you probably have on hand. This is an old-school method that is surprisingly effective. Find an empty pill bottle, preferably one that is clean. Then find a penny, dime, or any other coin that fits in the bottle. Ideally, you should clean the coin using rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer, since coins tend to get very dirty. 

Once the coin is clean, just put the buds to grind in the bottle with the coin on top. Put the lid on the pill bottle and shake it up. This method should work well with any buds, even the stickiest ones. 

8. With a Shot Glass and Scissors

Like many others on the list, this method uses tools that you likely have around your house, scissors, and a shot glass. Your shot glass is likely cleaned already, but if your scissors are not clean, take a minute to sanitize them. If you do not have a shot glass handy, you can also use any small cup or similarly shaped object. 

This method is as simple as putting the cannabis in the shot glass and then using the scissors as usual and cutting up the buds. The shot glass will contain the movements of the scissors, maximizing your ability to break up the buds without much of a problem.

9. With a Cheese Grater or Microplane Grater

Another household item that can help you break up your cannabis buds when you find yourself without a grinder is your cheese grater. Just use it as you would to grate cheese, holding the buds in one hand and the grater in the other and moving the grater up and down. 

As with any other method on this list that involves tools with other typical uses, be sure to clean the cheese grater afterward thoroughly. You don’t want your roommates or family to accidentally get some cannabis the next time they go to grate cheese. 

10. With a Mortar and Pestle

Although not all households have a mortar and pestle on hand, this is a great method if you do have them. After all, people have been using these tools for centuries to grind up herbs. All you need to do is put the buds in the mortar and then use the pestle to crush them up. If you have time to spare, consider letting the cannabis dry a little before using this method, as that reduces the risk of it sticking. 

With a Mortar and Pestle

Bonus Methods

While the previous methods are the best ways to break up your cannabis without a grinder, there are even more options worthy of an honourable mention. After all, it is best to have plenty of options so you can choose one that works based on what you have on hand until you can buy more cannabis accessories and tools. 

Make a Cannabis Grinder

Some people prefer to use a cannabis grinder, even if they have to make it themselves. If you have a chewing tobacco can and thumbtacks or nails, you can make a grinder yourself. It will likely still be easier to buy one from the dispensary, but if you already ordered one online and are waiting, this method will give you a temporary grinder while you wait. 

Start by taking an empty can of chewing tobacco and then pierce thumbtacks or nails into the bottom and top of the tin. Do your best to set this up like a real cannabis grinder, meaning that the tacks will not overlap or hit each other, as doing so can make it impossible to close your tin. 

Once you make the grinder, just put the buds inside, close it up, and twist. This will be similar to any cannabis grinder but without a kief catcher or third compartment. 

Use a Blender

If you are all out of options and do not know what to do to break up your cannabis buds, you could blend them. Keep in mind that this method is really only ideal for people who prefer their buds as a fine powder. You should also remember that you will have to thoroughly clean the blender afterward, which may be a hassle. 

Why Should You Break Up Your Cannabis? 

When you are looking forward to enjoying your cannabis, you may wonder whether you really need to spend the time breaking it up. After all, grinding your buds delays your smoking by at least a few seconds, if not a few minutes. While that may not seem like much most of the time, it can be if you really want to relax with a joint. 

If you get the urge to skip this step, remember that grinding your cannabis: 

  • Makes it easier to transport
  • Makes it easier to use
  • Reduces harshness thanks to improved consistency
  • Limits the contact in your hands, which helps prevent damage to the trichomes
  • Can collect fallen trichomes
  • Enhances the flavour 

Don’t think of grinding your bud as a hassle. Instead, think of it as part of the process that you don’t want to skip. 

How to Use a Grinder

How to Use a Grinder

For those who do have a grinder or are thinking about getting one, they are incredibly easy to use and will usually be the most convenient method of breaking up your cannabis buds. Most two-piece and four-piece grinders follow the same steps. When in doubt, check the instructions your grinder likely came with. 

Start by taking the lid off the grinder to put the buds inside. Avoid placing buds in the exact center, this is likely a pivot point, and it may have a magnet, so buds in this spot do not get ground. Put the lid back into place and make sure it is secure. Now, you need to rotate the lid clockwise 10 to 15 times as you apply pressure. Tap the top and sides of your grinder every few turns to help ensure you grind all the buds. 

When you are done grinding your cannabis, take care as you remove the lid, since you don’t want any buds stuck to the lid to fall off. Don’t forget to check the extra chambers of your grinder for the kief crystals your grinding produced. 

Types of Grinders

For those who do not like the twisting motion associated with using a grinder, you can find an electric grinder instead. These do require energy and tend to turn the buds into a powder, but they are easier on the hands and good for grinding quantities. In most cases, however, you will likely want a manual grinder. 

Two-piece grinders have a single chamber, so the kief will mix with your ground bud or stick onto the chamber’s sides. Four-piece grinders have three chambers and cost a bit more than two-piece ones but have three chambers. One is for the weed you want to grind, one for the ground weed, and one for the kief. That separate kief chamber is a major selling point. There are also card grinders that are the size and shape of a credit card and work as a food grater, but these get messy. 


Breaking up your cannabis helps with consistency, portability, ease of use, and flavour. A grinder makes it easy to break up your cannabis, but you can also do so with your hands, keys, cards, a coffee grinder, heavy objects, a pill bottle and coin, scissors and a shot glass, and a range of other methods. 

2 thoughts on “10 Ways to Break Up Cannabis If You Don’t Have a Grinder

  1. Pingback: The Best Exotic Cannabis Strains in Canada - WeedSmart

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