Whether you are a complete newbie or a seasoned veteran when it comes to smoking weed, everyone can agree that there is a certain etiquette with respect to smoking whether it's rolling joints or packing bongs, pipes and even vaporizers. Any self-respecting cannasseur will admit that if you are going to smoke that salacious bud you just got your hands on, you are going to need to grind it up before sparking up. Well, what if you have all the necessary tools except for your trusted three-tier gilded grinder?

No problem, we got you covered! We cannabis enthusiasts are a creative and resourceful bunch and have all at some point found ourselves in that dreadful situation where for whatever reason our preferred grinder is out of reach (or we simply forgot what we did with it) and have to come up with a solution on the fly. Thankfully there are numerous easy homemade solutions for granulating the sticky icky before smoking. Here are some of our favorites.

What can you use instead of a weed grinder?

Depending on your circumstances, there is a litany of household tools and random objects that you can use to grind weed without a dedicated grinder. These can be found in your kitchen, basement, garage or even your pocket. Where there is a will, there is a way! Perhaps you’ve tried some of the methods below already, perhaps these can be a springboard for further ideas if you’re feeling creative. Whatever the case may be, these are some of the methods to grind your buds at a pinch.

Break it up with your hands

Perhaps the most obvious but most primitive solution is to simply break it up with your hands. Our fingers are versatile little bad boys and have evolved to pick and process plant matter of various kinds. Simply break up bigger buds into smaller bits using your fingers and nails. Keep breaking them down until you get the desired consistency. Your fingers and palms may get sticky in the process but not to worry, you can collect the resin and make finger hash, aka charas. Just make sure to give your hands a good wash before doing so.

Chop up the weed with scissors

grinding weed with scissors

Somewhat of a no-brainer, but scissors usually aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to weed, unless you’re trimming. They can be a bit cumbersome, but they do a great job of chopping up small buds when a proper grinder can’t be found. The easiest way is to take a small pair of shears and chop them up over a ceramic plate, plastic tray or even a small glass, which prevents small bits from flying all over the place. But in all honesty, when was the last time you actually used scissors to cut paper?

Use a coffee grinder

Whether electric or manual, a coffee grinder is perhaps the best household item you can use to replace your regular weed grinder. Heck, it even has ‘grinder’ in the name. Old school manual grinders work best as you control the speed and degree of granulation and usually only take a few turns of the handle to get the job done. Electric grinders also work well, though they are likely to give you a fine powder if ground too long. Make sure to clean all the coffee out of it first if you don’t want the bitter taste in your joint. If you have an old school coffee grinder you can also store your weed in the cute little compartment as a bonus. Looks great in your living room too!

Use a pepper grinder

Similar to a coffee grinder, a pepper grinder is a readily available device in most homes and does a great job of grinding dried plant matter. Just make sure to give it a good cleaning and drying before putting your weed in there to avoid any unwanted pepper taste in your smoke, though some strains may already have some pepper-flavored notes in the terpenes. Thanks, caryophyllene! Also, if you have moist buds, make sure to clean them out of the grinder afterwards as they can get sticky and you want that precious resin in your smoke.

Use pestle and mortar

Grinding weed in a pestel and mortar instead of a grinder

If you can’t find your weed grinder, you can also use an ancient tool known as the pestle and mortar which our ancestors developed for grinding herbs. Similar concept, same process. Best if using drier buds but make sure to go gently on them so as not to fully pulverize them. Just like with the other methods, make sure to give everything a good wash before and after. Put on your favorite wizard hat and feel like the alchemist you’ve always wanted to be. Also, a nice decoration for your smoking quarters.

Cut with a knife

If a pair of scissors is unavailable, get their predecessor version! Any basic kitchen should have at least a sharp knife (ideally a chef’s knife) and cutting board. The process is pretty self-explanatory but remember to chop carefully as you will want to use those fingers for other purposes later on. Like the pestle and mortar method, try to get a rough chop that’s not too fine, i.e. powdery. The countless hours you have spent watching cooking shows shall not go to waste!

Use a cheese grater

A staple in most kitchens, cheese graters do a brilliant job of grinding down those dank buds and are quite easy to use as well. You can find metal grinder cards at headshops that work along the same principles, but the original cheese grater serves as the inspiration thus homage must be paid. If using an old school multi-sided grater, any of the openings will do, though smaller ones will work best to get the right granulation. Be EXTREMELY careful of your fingers when grating. It is best to smoke weed AFTER you have attempted this method.

Make a DIY shaker (coin and bottle method)

A very effective method, though it isn’t as popular as it should be. Small plastic grinders at dispensaries and headshops can be way overpriced and you most likely will have the necessary components in your medicine cabinet. Take a pill bottle and a heavier coin (US quarter or nickel, 1 or 2 euro coin, 2 pound coin, or similar) and shake it up to break it up, though once again, not too fine. Remember to clean out the bottle of any pill residue as you certainly don’t want to be inhaling any of that nastiness. You can also keep the bottle as a reminder why you ditched pills for weed.

Use a blender or food processor

grind weed using a blender or food processor

A rather obvious first choice if your kitchen is appropriately stocked, though it might be overkill if you have only one little bud to grind. However, if you just scored a half ounce then this device can be a real time saver. Break up any larger buds, removing any potential seeds and stems as they can affect the blender’s performance later on. It is best to gently pulse your weed in the blender, as going full blast will quickly turn those luscious nugs into a fine powder. Remember to remove any residue from the blades with alcohol for easy washing as the resin will certainly cling to them. Green smoothies have never sounded so delicious.

Use a credit card

Most people generally associate credit cards with Bolivian marching powder, but did you know a credit card can work just as well for grinding weed? You probably even have a couple in your wallet as you are reading this! All you need to do is use the card like you would a knife or dough cutter and chop away until you get the desired consistency. Remember to use a solid flat surface, such as a plate, cutting board or even a mirror (yes, we’re making that reference again) so as not to send any bits flying all over your preparation area. If using the credit card method, make sure to ALWAYS thoroughly clean the card of any residue, especially before opening a tab at a bar or crossing any borders. You’ll save tons in legal costs in the process.

The list of various objects you can use when in desperate need of a proper grinder is endless. Screws, strainers, even hammers and hacksaws can all be repurposed to meet your grinding needs. Just remember to keep things clean and safe and ideally sober before going MacGyver on your weed. You can thank us later. Enjoy your newfound engineering skills and happy grinding!