Popularized by the 2008 stoner action-comedy Pineapple Express, the cross joint is a show-stopping smoking creation that’s sure to amaze all those lucky enough to bear witness.
Fashioning such an elaborate piece is not for the faint of heart. Even the film’s star Seth Rogen was quoted stating “…the cross joints in Pineapple Express, I actually rolled those. And they’re really hard to roll.”
We’ll break down how to roll a cross joint and offer some pro tips along the way.
How to Roll a Cross Joint
Although it may seem daunting the first time, a cross joint is essentially just two joints that intersect each other.
Once you’re able to roll a joint, it only takes a little engineering and finesse to make a cross joint that burns well and offers a unique smoking experience.
Supplies you’ll need
- Rolling papers: You’ll need one king-size rolling paper and three standard rolling papers. Use papers specifically made for rolling joints to achieve the best results. Whenever possible, opt for organic, unbleached rolling papers made of hemp, rice, or other natural materials. Also look for vegetable-based inks and glues. If you need help finding rolling paper options, please use our guide.
- Fresh flower: Select your strain based on the time of day you’ll be smoking and the desired effects.
- Grinder: A grinder will break up the buds more uniformly than your hands and create better joints. Need a grinder? Comb through our guide for the best grinders.
- Filter: You can purchase filters pre-made or make your own by cutting a strip of cardstock-like paper(ex. magazine subscription card or thick manila envelope) to about ¾” by 2½”.
- Needle or skewer: Choose a thin, rigid, sharp object that can pierce through a joint. Pens are not recommended as they may deposit ink on your cross joint.
- Scissors or X-acto blade: You’ll need this to do a little trimming.
- Rolling tray: While optional, a rolling tray or other clean, contained surface is a useful tool to catch any excess weed that may fall out of your cross joint during the rolling process.
Step 1. Roll the main joint
The main joint is the one you will hold between your fingers and pull from. It is also the shaft through which the crosspiece joint intersects, therefore it must be thick enough for the crosspiece to fit through.
Start by evenly grinding some fresh, high-quality flower. If making your own filter, make a few accordion folds on one end and then roll up the remaining paper to surround the folds. Take your king-size rolling paper in hand with the shiny, glued side up top and facing you.
Place your filter in the paper’s crease on one end. Sprinkle your ground cannabis into the crease. Remember, this is your main joint, so make it as fat as you can while still exercising good rolling technique.
Use your thumbs and forefingers to pinch and rock the two sides of the rolling paper back and forth to form the cannabis into a gently-packed cylindrical or cone shape.
Tuck the unglued side of the paper up and over the core of the joint and use your thumbs to roll the paper in a smooth, upward motion until only the glue strip remains exposed.
Moisten the glue strip with your tongue and press the strip down to seal up your joint. Twist the remaining paper on the open end to form a point.
Step 2. Roll the crosspiece joint.
This joint will need to pass through your first one without tearing through the sides, which would render your cross joint ineffective. Use a standard sized rolling paper this time.
You will not be putting your mouth on either end of this joint, so there is no need to use a filter for the crosspiece.
Use less cannabis than before and try to create an even cylinder (as opposed to a cone) when forming this joint, then roll and seal as before. You will be lighting both sides of the crosspiece joint, so twist both ends closed to form two points.
Step 3. Form the cross
To make the two joints intersect, you’ll need to create a hole that passes through the walls of the main joint.
Use your needle or another sharp object (be careful!) to poke a perpendicular hole all the way through your main joint, about three-quarters of the way up from the filter end.
Do this very gently, taking care not to bend the joint or blow out the sides. Hollowing in gentle, circular motions, create a hole just big enough for the crosspiece to fit through.
Be careful to avoid making the hole too big, otherwise the two pieces will not fit snugly together. Insert the crosspiece into the main joint and slide it through, twisting slightly, until it is roughly centered.
Step 4. Seal the deal
Once the two pieces of the cross joint come together, you’ll want to form a tight seal around the intersection point to hold the joints together and allow for proper airflow.
Use your scissors or X-acto blade to cut off just the glue strips from two standard rolling papers. Take one glue strip and wet the end with your tongue or moistened finger.
Stick this end at the center of the cross joint with the glue strip pointing diagonally compared to the right angles of the joint.
Continue to moisten and wrap this strip around the center point to form an airtight seal. Use the second glue strip to repeat the process, this time with the glue strip pointing diagonally in the opposite direction.
Step 5. Create an air shaft
The last step is to ensure that the smoke from the lit ends of the crosspiece can travel down the shaft of the main joint to the filter.
To accomplish this, take your sharp object and poke a hole from the twisted tip of the main joint down through the shaft, piercing through the intersecting joint. Bore this hole all the way down until you reach the filter.
How to light a cross joint
Lighting a cross joint is easier with a few extra hands, but it’s not impossible to do by yourself. Use just the edge of your lighter’s flame to burn off the twisted paper from the three ends of the joints.
Once you reach the body of the joints and your cannabis begins to burn, take a few very gentle pulls from your cross joint.
Observe whether any of the cherries are burning unevenly. Use your lighter to burn any of the edges that seem to be lagging behind. Once the cherries are all properly lit, you’re ready to smoke!