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7 min read

How to Use a Cannabis Grinder

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Grinders are considered essential tools by many cannabis enthusiasts, and a necessity for cannabis businesses preparing pre-rolled joints to sell in dispensaries. There are numerous types of herb grinders, and different grinders can be used to provide different smoking experiences. Purchasing a high-quality grinder is a smart investment, as it will last longer and function more effectively over its expected lifespan. When choosing a marijuana grinder for personal or commercial use, it’s important to know how to use it, how to clean it, and how it compares to others on the market.

Whether you are rolling a joint or packing a bowl, finely ground herb can help you get the most out of your smoking experience. Ground weed tends to burn more consistently and easily, but many personal grinders provide an additional service by capturing and storing highly-desirable cannabis compounds. The popular 4-piece manual grinder is equipped with a screen on the floor of the storage chamber and a compartment below that catches the “kief” that falls off ground weed. This kief catcher, or collection chamber, is a widely cherished aspect of 4-piece grinders that are also seen in more complex automated commercial grinders.

Freshly ground cannabis flower

How to use a grinder

Before attempting to grind your weed, it is important to remove the stems and seeds from the buds. Once your flower has been destemmed, remove the top of the grinder and place the buds into the teeth of the grinder. Make sure to avoid placing the buds directly in the middle, as many grinders have a central magnetic pivot point to improve its function. To grind the flower, place the top layer of the grinder over the buds in the teeth and rotate the lid between clockwise and counterclockwise motions for a few seconds. The buds will break down and fall through the holes in the grinding compartment and into the storage chamber where you should find a fluffy and consistent bed of flower that’s ready to consume. If you use your grinder regularly, you will soon see a substantial amount of kief collecting in the bottom chamber.

For grinding larger quantities, many cannabis enthusiasts have turned to electric coffee grinders. They are easy to use and require less dexterity than manual grinders, however, without careful use they can quickly turn your cannabis flower into powder. To use an electric grinder, you simply place the buds in the grinding chamber, close the chamber, and push the button to turn it on for a few seconds – stopping frequently to ensure you haven’t ground too far. 

For anyone looking to grind cannabis on a commercial scale, an industrial grinder is an essential tool that can ensure consistency and collect valuable kief for use in other products. Pre-rolled joints are one of the most popular items at dispensaries, and suppliers need to keep up with demand while providing consistent quality throughout the year. Automated industrial grinders, like the Model G, can break up and destem hundreds of pounds of flower per day. The Model G also allows the operator to customize the grinder settings and continuously feed buds into the machine. Using a continuous feed grinder is simple; load several ounces of dry herb into the top of the hopper, wait for a moment for the flower to filter through the grinder, then repeat the first step until you have ground your desired amount of bud.

Rubbing and isopropyl alcohol work well to remove built-up cannabis resin.

How to clean a grinder

It is important to clean your personal grinder periodically, as sticky resinous build-up from ground weed can impair the functionality of the tool. Every time it is used, some amount of kief, resin, and plant matter sticks to the surface of the grinder. Metal grinders, which are often more expensive and collect valuable kief, are especially important to clean. Without appropriate care, frequent long-term use can leave a grinder sticky beyond a simple scrubbing. If the grinding chamber becomes too sticky, the teeth will not smoothly rotate against each other. Build-up can also make it difficult to twist open all parts of a grinder. Most importantly, mold, bacteria, and other allergens can form on the plant matter that sticks to the surface. This means that cleaning your grinder is a matter of health and safety. 

To effectively clean a personal grinder, most cannabis enthusiasts opt for the same methods they use to clean glass pieces with isopropyl alcohol or a resolution cleaning kit designed specifically for this purpose. Some people also choose to use a toothbrush or dry rice to help get the small pieces of plant matter out of the nooks and crannies of the grinder. A toothpick can act as a similarly helpful tool in hard-to-reach places. Before cleaning the grinder with alcohol, you may want to take the grinder apart and put it in the freezer for a few hours. When the metal surface becomes cold, you will be able to brush off additional kief from the screen and the sides of the grinder – this is where a brush and toothpick may come in handy.

If you are cleaning with a product like resolution, follow the directions on the package to continue the cleaning process. If you are cleaning with alcohol, place each part of the grinder in its own plastic bag and then pour the alcohol into the bags. Close the bags and shake each one. Once the alcohol starts to break down the sticky residue on the grinder, the liquid will become murky. Some people choose to leave the grinder to soak overnight. When you remove the grinder pieces from the bags, rinse them thoroughly with hot water and dry all pieces completely before reassembly. 

Cleaning an industrial grinder is not very different from cleaning any other type of grinder. First, you may use an air compressor to blow any loose particles or plant material away. Then you can disassemble parts for cleaning such as the catch, shelf, ramp, blades, grinding medium, sifting medium, and sifting cart. Most companies recommend using 99% isopropyl alcohol and a clean rag to wipe the machine and parts down, removing any built-up cannabis resin in the process. Once the parts are clean and dry, reassemble your clean machine and get back to processing high-quality cannabis.

Types of Weed Grinders

The biggest marijuana brands use commercial cannabis grinders with food-grade, stainless steel blades and large intake capacities. When it comes to personal grinders, there are numerous choices. When asked which style grinders are the best, most cannabis connoisseurs will have strong opinions. While some people prefer to break up their weed with scissors, the 4-piece metal grinder with multiple screen sizes is inarguably a favorite in the cannabis industry. Many head shops offer an assortment of metal grinders, as well as plastic, wooden, and sometimes personal electric grinders. Non-metal grinders are often less durable, lower quality, and more difficult to clean. The electric grinder and the hand crank grinder are less common than other varieties, but they are great options for individuals with limited dexterity seeking a small grinding machine.

Manual grinders are not only available in different materials; they can have anywhere from one to four chambers. Single chamber grinders do not filter the flower out of the teeth, whereas two-chamber grinders sift the ground weed into a storage chamber through a metal screen. Additional chambers, like those on 4-piece grinders, function as kief catchers that are easy to clean. Choosing the perfect size grinder with a kief chamber can help prevent kief from creating as much sticky build-up in the grinder.

Industrial weed grinders

As the demand for cannabis products grew, the industry innovated. Recreational cannabis continues to expand across the United States, and many businesses are evolving into multi-state operations utilizing large pre-roll machines. Brand loyalty is valuable and, whether they are in Oregon or Illinois, consumers expect consistency, quality, and availability of their favorite products. Automation and integrable equipment are fundamental to growing cannabis businesses in multiple markets or across large states.

Today’s best industrial weed grinders and cannabis shredders are incredibly efficient, preserve terpenes, and feature settings for customized grind sizes. Industrial grinders like the American-made Model G are capable of even more. This automated grinder allows you to customize grind sizes and apply those settings to other Model G grinders so national operations can maintain the same consistency across all locations, regardless of who’s operating the grinder on any given day.

Automation and adjustable grind sizes are just two key grinder features of the Model G. The commercial marijuana grinder is made from surgical grade steel, which inhibits microbial growth and minimizes cleaning time. Breaking down the grinder for cleaning is easy, and the entire machine can be cleaned in less than an hour. The Model G industrial cannabis grinder, with its continuous feed, can also grind over 100 pounds of flower in less than an hour. To automate the feeding process, Green Broz offers the Rise Conveyor that feeds buds into the top of the hopper. With the help of the Model G, cannabis businesses can take their pre-rolls to the next level. Your joints will smoke beautifully, taste better, and impress consumers with the type of consistency that can only come from an automated tool.