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Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
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Spliffs and joints are two popular ways of smoking weed. The main difference between a spliff and a joint is the presence of tobacco. Spliffs contain a mixture of weed and loose tobacco leaves, while joints contain pure cannabis. However, these two methods of smoking also have features in common. For example, you can wrap spliffs and joints in cigarette rolling papers.
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What Is a Spliff?
A “spliff” is a blended smoke product that contains a mixture of ground cannabis flower and tobacco leaves rolled in cigarette paper (sometimes called “tobacco paper”). Spliffs consist of at least 50% tobacco, but users can include as much or as little cannabis as they like based on preference; so technically, any amount of tobacco mixed with cannabis is a “spliff.”.
Spliffs are relatively straightforward to roll and smoke. Tobacco leaves generally result in a smoother, more consistent smoking experience than cannabis alone, as tobacco burns more evenly than dried cannabis. Spliffs are typically favored by those looking for an energetic high that is more cost-effective than smoking pure weed. However, the nicotine content in the tobacco leaves can make spliffs addictive. Spliffs are more popular in the UK and Europe than in the United States.
What Is a Joint?
A “joint” is sometimes described as a marijuana cigarette. Joints contain pure cannabis that is rolled or stuffed into a rolling paper (also known as a “joint paper”). Joints represent one of the most popular methods of smoking cannabis, as they are easy to transport and smoke on the go. You can roll your own or purchase a pre-rolled joint from a dispensary.
Spliffs vs. Joints: Similarities and Differences
Spliffs and joints share several features in common. Some of the most noteworthy similarities include the following:
- Rolling papers: Both spliffs and joints are made using rolling papers instead of cigar wrappers or blunt wraps, like those used by Swisher Sweets cigars. Rolling papers are made of wood pulp, hemp, or rice paper, with different thicknesses available. You can purchase thin papers or thick papers, depending on your preference. Flavored papers are also available for smokers seeking an extra kick.
- Dried flower: Both spliffs and joints contain dried cannabis flower.
- Paper filters: Both spliffs and joints can include a paper filter or “crutch” to help the smoke last longer and prevent any plant material from being inhaled.
- Sizing: Both spliffs and joints are roughly the same size as a tobacco cigarette.
- Transportable: Spliffs and joints, like a cigarette, are easy to transport and smoke while moving.
- Appearance: Spliffs and joints can look identical, so if you’re in a social setting and are unsure what is being passed around, it’s a good idea to find out before you inhale.
- Rolling process: Spliffs and joints are rolled similarly, and it can take some practice to get it right.
However, spliffs and joints are also distinctive. Here are the most fundamental ways in which they differ:
- Spliffs contain a mixture of weed and tobacco leaves, while joints contain pure marijuana. The proportion of weed to tobacco in a spliff can vary.
- Spliffs may be more addictive due to nicotine in the tobacco leaves; spliffs may be more addictive than joints.
- Spliffs may be more harmful to the lungs than joints, as tobacco can produce carcinogenic compounds during combustion, leading to chronic respiratory conditions.
- Spliffs are more cost-effective than joints as cannabis is blended with tobacco, but this may be a false economy as more spliffs may be smoked over the course of the day.
- Joints deliver a more pronounced high than spliffs as they contain more cannabis, which means a higher concentration of THC.
- Spliffs can provide a more buzzy, energetic feeling due to the nicotine in the tobacco leaves.
- Spliffs tend to burn more evenly and consistently than joints due to the inclusion of tobacco leaves. Joints that aren’t packed or rolled correctly can burn on one side but not the other, a phenomenon called “canoeing a joint.”
When to Smoke a Spliff
Spliffs are ideal for individuals who want to enjoy the experience of weed while stretching their stash. If you live in an area where high-quality weed is hard to find or very expensive, rolling a blended smoke represents a more economical choice.
Spliffs are also highly customizable — you can add as much or as little tobacco as you want. Finally, spliff smokers often seek out the buzzy, energizing high that’s not as intoxicating as a joint, and the nicotine adds a little kick, making for an uplifting experience.
When to Smoke a Joint
Joints are rolled with pure weed, making it easier to get high. If you’re health conscious, a joint is less harmful than a spliff, as they don’t contain nicotine, which is addictive and has been linked to carcinogenic effects when it combusts. If you enjoy the experience of smoking pot and want an experience that’s pure cannabis, opt for a joint over a spliff.
The Bottom Line
The major difference between smoking joints and spliffs is tobacco. Spliffs contain tobacco, while joints do not. Spliffs are associated with a more energizing smoking experience due to nicotine. Joints, on the other hand, deliver a more intoxicating high. Spliffs are often favored by those who cannot easily access weed and want to make their supply last a long time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a blunt and a spliff?
A blunt is larger than a spliff and contains pure cannabis. A blunt is rolled in a cigar wrap (sometimes called a blunt wrap) that contains tobacco. A spliff is made of a mixture of tobacco leaves and cannabis wrapped in cigarette rolling paper.
What is the difference between a blunt and a joint?
A blunt is larger than a joint and is often passed around in social settings — thus the origin of the expression, “pass the blunt” Blunts contain tobacco in the blunt wrap (cigar or cigarillo wraps can be used as blunt wraps). In contrast, joints are entirely free of tobacco. Joints are generally made with thin rolling paper, while blunt paper is usually thicker.
What’s stronger: a blunt or a joint?
A blunt is generally stronger than a joint because it is larger and contains more cannabis. However, the strength of the weed inside the blunt or joint will also determine the strength of the smoke.