What is a Marijuana Grinder & How Do You Use It?

April 08, 2024

It’s fun to admire the big, beautiful buds you purchased at your local dispensary, but cannabis consumption means pulling that precious flower apart. There are plenty of everyday objects that you can use to break up your flower–scissors, nail clippers, your own hands–but we highly recommend purchasing a cannabis grinder. 

What is a Cannabis Grinder?

Grinders are small containers made up of various interlocking pieces that contain sharp teeth or points that shred your bud when you turn the mechanism. Grinding your flower is an essential first step when you’re going to smoke or bake with marijuana.

Cannabis grinders are available in your local dispensary, but you can also find them online or in any local head shop. They can be made out of metal, plastic, or wood, and come in just about every color and design imaginable. 

What are the Benefits of Using a Grinder?

Have you ever had a bit of unburned bud disappear down the stem of a bong, or had a joint burn fast down one side? Proper grinding can eliminate these problems. This easy-to-use cannabis contraption is ideal in turning your flower into evenly sized, usable nuggets. And it’s a whole lot less messy than trying to do it with your hands!

Another bonus to using a grinder: some collect kief, the sticky crystals that are part of trichomes that contain more THC and other cannabinoids.

What are the Different Types of Grinders?

Grinders can be made of metal, plastic, or wood and they come in different sizes, from mini or small, about two-inches in diameter to medium and large, about six inches in diameter. There are two-piece, three-piece, four-piece, and five-piece grinders, which are also sometimes called tiers.

Two-Piece Grinder: Two-piece grinders are the most basic, made up of just two halves–usually called a lid and a grinding bowl–that grind up your flower. Simply place your bud inside the grinding bowl and twist both sides until you have the result you want.

Three-Piece Grinder: In addition to the two halves of a two-piece grinder, three-piece grinders add a collection chamber. The second, or middle piece, comes with holes that allow the ground marijuana to drop through into the bottom piece or collection chamber. The three-piece design gives you a handy place to collect your ground flower.

Four- and Five-Piece Grinder: Four-and five-piece grinders add another chamber to the three-piece grinder, called the kief chamber. This consists of a screen that separates out the kief, or sticky portion of the flower's trichomes, from the rest of the bud. If you’re going all in on a five-piece grinder, you’ll often have two kief-catching chambers instead of just one.

What is a Kief Catcher?

A kief catcher is the lower chamber in a four-piece grinder that catches the kief, AKA the coveted cannabis trichomes

What is a Grinder Coin?

While a grinder is a common cannabis prep tool, grinder coins aren’t as well known. This handy item is a must-have to get the maximum amount of kief from your flower. You can purchase a grinder coin, but an everyday coin works as well. (Just make sure to sterilize it first!) When choosing a coin for your grinder, remember to choose the right size. A nickel will work well for small grinders, but opt for a quarter or similarly sized coin for larger grinders.


How To Use a Cannabis Grinder [3 Steps]

Cannabis flower is not cheap, and you don’t want to damage your bud with improper grinding. Here are three steps to ensure success.

Step 1: Place Flower in Grinder

Open the grinder's lid and press a few buds onto the teeth inside the grinder.

Step 2: Replace the Lid and Grind

Put the lid back on, making sure it is securely closed. As you begin to twist the chambers, you will feel some resistance–this is completely normal. We recommend ten turns, but you can always start with fewer. Remember, you can always grind more but you cannot ungrind your flower.

Step 3: Open and Use

After you've finished grinding, open the top and remove your flower from the chamber. If you used a kief catcher, scoop out those golden trichomes for future use. 

Your flower is not ready for consumption! You likely won’t use all of it in one session, so make sure to store your flower properly so you can enjoy it later.

How Do You Clean a Grinder?

Natural plant material, including resin, can get stuck in the grinder's teeth over time and make it hard to use. If your grinder is not turning smoothly, it’s probably time to give it a wash.

Just like any other tool, selecting the right supplies will help your grinder stay safe and functional. We recommend gathering the following items: a small brush or toothbrush; plate or bowl; isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol; a plastic bag or glass jar; water; and a towel. You may also need to use needles or toothpicks for fine-level cleaning.

Once you’re ready, follow these steps for proper cleaning:

  • Step 1: Completely disassemble your grinder

  • Step 2: Soak each part in alcohol for half an hour using a plastic bag or glass jar.

  • Step 3: Take each piece out of the alcohol and scrub with a toothbrush. 

  • Step 4: Rinse in clean, hot water, then let it air dry on a clean towel.

Make sure your grinder is completely dry before using it again.

FAQs About Pre-Rolls

There are plenty of questions and misconceptions we hear at our dispensaries. Here are some of the most common.

Can I use a coffee grinder on my flower?
Yes, you can use a coffee grinder to grind your flower. However, always clean it before and after so you don’t end up with a mix of coffee and cannabis flavors.

Do I need a kief coin?
Kief coins are not a requirement, but they are a handy tool for extra kief collection.

How long should I grind the flower for?
Look to grind your flower about 10 rotations. You'll know it's ground properly when you stop feeling resistance.

Purchasing a Marijuana Grinder

You can find the marijuana grinder that's right for your needs at your dispensary. Talk with your budtender about the different options and levels that match your cannabis consumption methods.

Find a Dispensary

Use of Marijuana Concentrate may lead to: Psychotic symptoms and/or Psychotic disorder (delusions, hallucinations, or difficulty distinguishing reality); Mental Health Symptoms/Problems; Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) (uncontrolled and repetitive vomiting); Cannabis use disorder/dependence, including physical and psychological dependence.   Please consume responsibly. This product may cause impairment and may be habit forming. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product.  State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and medical marijuana patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations. 

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