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It’s a situation that’s all too common among smokers. You’ve just secured a bag of some high-grade flower and you’re ready to smoke it. Maybe you’ve been waiting to try this strain for weeks or even months, and now, as you pop the container opened and inhale its rich, potent smell, you realize one thing: you don’t have a grinder.

The panic begins to well up inside of you. If you don’t have a grinder, how are you supposed to break up your weed?

Don’t panic. Grinders are actually a fairly new addition to the cannabis world, first gaining widespread use less than 50 years ago. As a result, you don’t technically need a grinder to break up your weed into manageable chunks – it just helps. In this post, we’ll cover some ways that you can break up weed without a grinder.


  • Just because you don’t have a grinder doesn’t mean you can’t smoke
  • Several household items can be used as a makeshift grinder in a pinch
  • Your main limiting factor is your imagination

Most Common Household Grinders

Grinding Weed Without A Grinder – How To Make Due With Household Items

Grinding Weed Without A Grinder – How To Make Due With Household Items

If you find yourself grinder-less in your own home, don’t worry. That’s probably the best possible time to be caught without one. There are countless household items that you can use to grind up weed. Everything from coffee grinders to classics like a mortar and pestle can help you break your weed into more manageable pieces.

Cheese Grater

Cheese graters provide an easy way to grind up your weed in a pinch. Take a plate or cutting board and position it under the grater, just like you would if you were grating cheese. This approach may take some time to master. However, the more familiar you become with this technique, the easier it will become.

Make sure you take care when choosing which size of the hole for grating. Holes that are too small may not work properly. Instead of grinding your weed up neatly into a pile of smaller pieces, using holes that are too small will just spew tiny plant particles around your kitchen. Once you’re finished, make sure you wash the cheese grater – weed particles love to stick to everything.

Just like grating cheese, grating weed can be hazardous to your fingers if you don’t pay attention. You want to smoke weed, not dead chunks of skin. Also, keep some kind of poking tool at the ready in case some of your nug gets caught in the grater’s holes.

Mortar and Pestle

Humans have been breaking up herbs with mortar and pestles since the days of ancient Egypt. They’ve remained a mainstay in kitchens and chemistry labs ever since. They’re useful for grinding up herbs into tiny pieces for cooking, and they’re just as adept at breaking up weed.

Before using a mortar and pestle to grind up weed, make sure to wash it thoroughly. Since cooks often use them to grind up herbs, cleaning mortar and pestles will ensure that you don’t have any spicy residue mixing up with your weed. You’ll also want to clean it afterwards since you don’t want to eat trichomes.

Before you grind your weed, you may want to leave it out of its container to let it dry. While this isn’t strictly necessary, drying your weed out for a few hours before grinding makes it much easier to grind up. In addition, don’t grind too hard – you want your weed ground into fine chunks, not completely pulverized.

Coffee Grinder

Chances are, you already have a device in your home custom-made for grinding. Coffee grinders are essentially the same as herb grinders, and they can help you grind up your weed in a pinch. Coffee grinders come both in the manual (hand-crank) and electronic variants, and both are well-suited for grinding your ganja.

As with mortar and pestles, make sure to thoroughly clean your coffee grinder before and after you use it for weed. Otherwise, your morning cup of coffee may taste a little strange. You also won’t need to grind weed for as long as you’d grind the coffee, so keep that in mind.

How to Make a Grinder Outside of the Home

Grinding Weed Without A Grinder – How To Make Due With Household Items

Grinding Weed Without A Grinder – How To Make Due With Household Items

Even if you don’t have a grinder and you’re on-the-go, don’t give up. You still have a few options!

Change Shaker

Out of all the methods listed in this blog post, none require the ingenuity or desperation of this technique. It’ll work in a pinch, but you likely won’t use it if you have any other options available to you.

First, find a small, hollow plastic cylinder with a detachable top. Prescription containers can work well for this, as well as the plastic bottles that many dispensaries sell weed in. Next, throw about three coins in there. Use loonies and toonies for this – they’re thick and heavy enough to get the job done. Finally, toss some weed into the container.

Now, you’re ready to go! Close the container and shake it thoroughly. Do this in 30-second bursts. Check between bursts to see if your weed is ground up to your ideal size yet. If not, keep going. Once you’re done, you can keep the device to use later.

Fingers: Oldies but Goodies

If all else fails, there’s always your fingers. The effectiveness of using your fingers to grind weed is highly dependent on how your weed was cured. Dense, sticky, hard buds are going to be difficult to break up by hand. You’ll need to carefully pinch and tear these buds apart. Drier, airier nugs are much easier to break up – you can just crush them between your fingertips, and they’ll crumble into dust.

One downside to using your finger for breaking up weed is that it often leaves a sticky residue on your fingers after you’re done. This is fairly easy to wash off, but it does mean that some of your trichomes are ending up on your fingers – not in your bowl.

Grinders are Great

Similar to homemade bongs, the only real limiting factor on an improvised grinder is your imagination. Even if you find yourself without many usable tools, you’ll still be able to work something out. One thing’s for certain: even if you don’t have a grinder, refuse to accept defeat!