How to grind weed without a grinder

how to grind weed without a grinder

Every stoner has their own cannabis rituals, but not everyone knows how to grind weed without a grinder. There are those who prefer to roll up a joint, while some might opt for a dry herb vape. Then, of course, there are the glass art lovers who grab their bongs and bubblers.

No matter how it’s smoked, most of these methods require the bud to be ground up. So, when caught without their trusted Mendo Mulcher or other “best” grinder out there, what is a cannabis lover to do? Well, learn how to grind cannabis without a grinder, of course.

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Before getting into the surefire methods to grind your weed when the grinder is nowhere to be found, let’s look at the basics of what we’re doing.

The basics of grinding weed

Grinding cannabis flowers requires some kind of edge to cut the sometimes dense, sticky bud, along with a vessel to hold it. How the weed is pulverized impacts the final product. Ground weed that is too lumpy may not burn well in a joint, but when ground too finely, it burns too quickly for rolling.

This might impact which grinder-less weed grinding method works for the task at hand. For example, super sharp teeth may work faster, but they also might grind more finely, which can be good or bad depending on the cannabis consumption method. Additionally, some require more hand dexterity or special equipment than others, which might alter what choice a person makes when grinding weed without a grinder.

Here are the classic and inventive ways that people have ground cannabis buds without a grinder. But before getting started, always remember to wash your hands.


How to grind weed without a grinder
Photo by beusbeus for Getty Images, edited by GreenState

That note about washing hands is especially true when grinding cannabis buds with your fingers. Though grinding is a generous term with this method, the flower is more broken into small pieces than ground. But a good finger grind has gotten many a spliff or bowl lit in a pinch.

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To grind weed with your fingers

  1. Set up a flat surface and lay out the buds.
  2. Pick the main flower and leaf off of the stems, and set the stems aside.
  3. Pull the flower apart gently, breaking buds into smaller pieces.

Shot glass and scissors

How to grind weed without a grinder
Photo by beusbeus for Getty Images, edited by GreenState

Using glassware and a pair of scissors is a classic way to grind weed without a grinder. All you need is shot glasses and clean shears. The method sounds simple but requires a specific finesse to be pulled off efficiently. There’s a rhythm to getting at weed in a shot glass with scissors that comes over time. So if it doesn’t click at first, stick with it, and you’ll find the right groove.

Grind weed with a shot glass and scissors:

  1. Pick cannabis flowers from the main stems and place them in a shot glass.
  2. Use the scissors to cut the weed up and the shot glass to catch the blades on the outro.
  3. Find a rhythm in this movement to work quickly and efficiently until buds are the desired size.

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Cannabis coffee grinder

How to grind weed without a grinder
Photo by beusbeus for Getty Images, edited by GreenState

Coffee grinders have long been used for things other than coffee. They’re handy when prepping psilocybin mushrooms for truffles and cannabis flower for consumption. The only issue with using this gadget for grinding weed is that it may be too fine for some methods of consumption.

We recommend using a grinder with coarseness settings. Additionally, the coffee grinder might have residual cannabinoids for a while, even after cleaning. Those who don’t want random stoned cups of coffee might opt to use one that isn’t the coffee grinder used in the kitchen.

How to use a coffee grinder for weed

  1. Set the grinder at a coarseness that works for your chosen consumption method.
  2. Place stemless nugs inside and grind them.

Mortar and Pestle

How to grind weed without a grinder
Photo by beusbeus for Getty Images, edited by GreenState

A mortar and pestle increases the surface area compared to other methods for grinding, which makes the job quick and efficient. The setup is simple, but the process takes some wrist and shoulder strength.

Much like the coffee grinder, be wise in choosing which mortar and pestle to grind weed with. If it is from the kitchen and used for spice mixes, maybe opt for a different setup. The process is bound to leave trichomes behind, which could cross-contaminate with non-infused foods.

The surface of the grinding tool may also impact how many delicious trichomes are left behind. A marble mortar and pestle would be less apt to absorb the goods into its walls, but it might take longer to get the job done. Factor this in when choosing this alternative weed-grinding method.

Grinding cannabis with a mortar and pestle

  1. Pick flowers off of stems and put them into the mortar.
  2. Use the pestle to grind the flower against the walls of the mortar into smaller pieces.
  3. Stop grinding with the pestle when the flower is at your desired coarseness level.

Grinder card

Metal grinder cards are a common piece of flower brand merch for a reason. In a pinch, the wallet-sized gadget can get weed finely ground with very little mess aside from some sticky fingers. Grinder cards are the size of a credit card and outfitted with designs cut out of the middle. The cutouts serve as the teeth that grind the bud much like a cheese grater. With a clean surface, the grinder card works anywhere.

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How to use a weed grinder card

  1. Find a clean surface.
  2. Pick the weed off of the stems. Break into small pieces with your fingers.
  3. Put pieces on a clean surface and place the grinder card on top.
  4. Push down and rotate the grinder card while applying pressure to the buds.
  5. Stop this process when the flower is at your desired coarseness.

Pill bottle and a coin

An empty pill bottle and a coin may work in a pinch when grinding weed without a grinder. The process may leave a lot of trichomes behind, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

The coin breaks up the bud with a good shaking, but if you can’t clean the materials off, this might not be the move. Many hands touch money before it gets to you, and burning and inhaling germs isn’t recommended.

Grind weed with a pill bottle and coin

  1. Thoroughly disinfect a flat-edged coin and the inside of a pill bottle.
  2. Put stemless buds into the pill bottle with the coin.
  3. Shake it like there’s no tomorrow.
  4. Check periodically to see if the bud is ground to your preferred size.

Cheese grater

How to grind weed without a grinder
Photo by beusbeus for Getty Images, edited by GreenState

Common sense implies a cheese grater will work for cannabis flower, but be mindful of those fingertips. The grater cuts out some weed-picking work, the process automatically gets most of the stems. However, like other culinary-based methods of grinding cannabis, there is always a possibility of residual high. Additionally, there are many sizes of grater. Test nugs to see if the grater works for the task before going all in.

Cheese grater for cannabis buds

  1. Hold a nug at its fattest end and place the other end on a cheese grater’s grating wall.
  2. Rub the nug up and down to grind the flower off, being mindful when getting to the end so as not to get your fingers.
  3. Pick out the stems at the end or discard them after each nug.

Knife & cutting board

How to grind weed without a grinder
Photo by beusbeus for Getty Images, edited by GreenState

Keep it classic and cut cannabis like the herb it is on a cutting board. The knife and chopping board increase the surface area, much like the mortar and pestle. However, with this method, there is a much sharper tool for breaking up the flower. Make sure to pick out all stems before chopping them up.

Word for the wise: avoid using a cutting board also used to cut meat, especially if it has cuts in it. These can harbor bacteria that we do not want to inhale.

How to grind weed with a knife and cutting board:

  1. Thoroughly clean all tools, including a knife and cutting board.
  2. Break cannabis nugs into small pieces with as little stem as possible remaining.
  3. Chop it up!
  4. How to grind weed without a grinder

There are many methods to grinding weed without a grinder, these are the most tried and true. Factors come into play when choosing a grinding method, like what materials are available and how finely ground the bud needs to be–but this list has something for everyone.

No matter what you choose to grind it up with it’ll likely get you high, so enjoy it responsibly.

Cara Wietstock is senior content producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.