Canoeing a joint is when a joint burns on one side but not the other (or, more accurately, it burns more on one side than the other). This uneven burn causes the joint to look like a canoe because it’s open on one side (hence the name). It’s a giant waste of weed and money.

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So, how can you avoid this? 

Get out the grinder

Use a grinder for the weed in your jointLike the saying “Go big or go home,” in the marijuana world, it may as well be “Grind small or go home.” Many people grind their cannabis by hand – perhaps even using their fingernails to slice and dice and mince – but no amount of manual grinding replaces a good grinder….no not even with Lee Press-on Nails. Your smoke will improve if you use not only a grinder but one of the better ones on the market.

To begin with, your pot will taste better, but it’ll burn more evenly as well, helping you avoid the dreaded canoe. Grinders help eliminate air pockets and provide fine bud instead of bud that’s still a little coarse with plenty of air to screw up your smoke.

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Get on a roll

Like playing the piano or learning Mandarin, practice makes perfect when rolling a joint. Rolling it too loosely or too tightly can both lead to canoeing – too tight and it may be unsmokable; too loose and too much space will exist between the paper and the weed. The key to this is to refine your craft. The better of a roller you are, the less likely your joint will canoe.

One useful tip is to buy high quality rolling papers – they offer a better taste, a more even burn, and they come in different sizes for your choosing (which helps you find the size you’re most comfortable with). The newer papers are also healthier than the papers of yore. Also, make sure that the flowers are dispersed evenly.

If the above doesn’t solve the problem, consider changing up how you roll. Back rolling is one option – some people actually prefer this method, believing an inside-out smoke burns slower, offers more evenness and doesn’t use as much paper. This helps your joint taste more like it’s supposed to and less like cardboard.

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Light ‘em up

Prerolled jointsClearly, we should always, always listen to celebrities for advice – so take a cue from Fall Out Boy and light ‘em up, up, up. In fact, when it comes to canoeing (or, rather, avoiding it), this is one of the most important parts. Your lighter is both your ally and your adversary.

Be sure to rotate the joint as you are lighting. And don’t take deep breaths right away – if one breath is deeper than the other, you may cause one side to light more dramatically. When the joint is lit, you want it to be nice and circular – think of the tip of a cigarette glowing in the dark. That’s the look you’re going for.

Miscellaneous factors: Other factors that can up the odds that your joint will canoe include the weather. If you’re trying to spark a doobie when Mother Nature is acting up, you might have a hard time lighting it as even as you should. Wind is the most likely element to cause this, but you don’t need to be standing inside a tornado to feel the effects. Even minor wind is enough to alter the direction of a flame. Your best bet is to light up in some sort of shelter if the trees and bushes are shaking at all. Go indoors to avoid the elements completely.

Lighting up hastily – as in a “my boss will be back in five minutes” spark – will also up the odds that your joint will canoe. Of course, if your boss returns to the office early, that may be the least of your problems.

If your joints continue to canoe despite taking proactive action, consider relearning your process. There are several YouTube videos that offer tips and tricks on how to roll a joint, how to avoid canoeing, and other marijuana advice. Visiting your local dispensary and asking a budtender for advice is another option.

Ultimately, smoking a canoed joint will still give you your desired outcome – it will get you high. But it will do it at a cost to your weed supply. And the smoke may not be as enjoyable as it otherwise would. Sure, a canoed joint may be better than no joint at all, but hopefully, the tips in this article help you avoid wasting cannabis and teach you how to preserve your stash for as long as possible. Move on over whales; it’s time to save the weed.