I want a good grinder that won't break the bank. I've looked at some online and at some local head shops but I’m not totally sure what I’m looking at, or for. Any thoughts on options, or brands I should seek out?
Dear Grind Inclined,
No matter my age, the word grind brings up images of Salt-N-Pepa’s "Push It,” a pair of folded-waist Express jeans, and a middle school dance full of steamy young bodies and vigilant mature eyes.
But I’ll stop there, and instead explore the grind for treating cannabis flowers with love, rather than the object of adolescent desire. Although that is always a good topic to explore… In a Mortified Nation kinda way.
For all readers who have simply pulled apart a weed nug to create little pinchable nug bits, let’s begin with why grinding is necessary.
Visualize a cannabis flower. The variations and saturation of colors from green to purple to red to white are infinite. Each color signals the special composition of the cannabinoids found on a particular flower. You might have a flower with white crystals—known as kief—dusted on the surface. Or you may see a surface characterized by small purple hairs that create a coat over a green core. “Green” by itself is a deceiving descriptor. On one end of the spectrum is a pale, unsaturated sage that may read gray. The opposite end of the spectrum is a brilliant green so lit-from-within that Benjamin Moore could only dream of replicating. Some beauty only Mother Nature can make.
So, what do the varying layers of colors and textures have to do with why you should grind your cannabis flower? Each flower is a labyrinth of tiny alcoves, each alcove packs a snowflake-esque arrangement of cannabinoids. Manually tearing apart the nug does not unleash these tightly-packed pockets, our fingers naturally find and tear at the spaces between alcoves. The flower’s real gems hide inside each pocket, and grinding is how you access them. If you only burn what’s visible from the top down, you’ll still get high, but weed’s true beauty is in its complexity—if you aren’t grinding, you’re missing out on a heap of gifts. Additionally, you could be wasting 30% or more of your flower because you’re not unleashing 30% or more of its power. Gasp! Those economics are for the birds. Flower Powers.
Rolling joints/blunts begs for the finer material a grind produces in order to compactly and smoothly arrange into thin, sensitive rolling paper. Ground cannabis is also the desirable consistency for a steady burn. Less likely to canoe, more likely to smoke evenly.
Air passes easily through ground up cannabis which is especially nice for our one-hitter and small bowl enthusiasts, yet is equally relevant for joint rollers, and vape fans.
In all cases ground-up weed is less harsh on your lungs and the increased potency means more dollars in your pocket, as you don’t use as much to get to your desired place. Fancy that.
A side bonus: Employing a grinder for your tear-apart work means your fingers won’t smell like cannabis. A big plus for anyone who keeps their rec or medicinal delights on the DL.
If you’re inspired to postpone what you’re doing right now (besides reading Vandy, smooches) to experience the grinding difference first hand, you can use household scissors, please clean them first, and snip snip your flower into smaller bits. We recommend catching your cuttings in a shot glass or similarly small vessel that your pinch-fingers can easily pass in and out of.
Here are the going options for grinding, in ascending order by mechanical complexity:
Scissors and shot glass. See above.
Grinder card. Just like it sounds, it’s a travel-friendly, wallet-sized grinding accoutrement that works quite similarly to a chambered grinder. You gently rub your flower across the card as though it was a tiny piece of cheese on the daintiest grater. What we like the most about grinder cards (besides superior portability) is that they hardly look like cannabis equipage at all.
2 or 4 Chamber Grinder. To some, this is the crème de la crème grinding option, and the benefits of 2-Chamber vs. 4-Chamber are debated mightily. 4-Chamber has a kief catcher which many enthusiasts say is the whole reason to grind, period. 2-Chamber is much easier to pack around in a smaller purse or your jacket’s inside pocket, and has simplicity of use on its side. Either way, always, always, always avoid plastic or acrylic grinders. The opportunities to contaminate your bud with foreign material are too frequent. Same goes for wood, you’ll need a raw wood grinder with no finish or glaze unless you’d like to be smoking that glaze without warning. P.S. Your wood grinder will need to be replaced often. VdP’s suggestion: Metal. Especially aircraft-grade or anodized aluminum.
Electric Grinder. A wonderful option for patients with arthritis or other muscle conditions. Nicely portable.
Zooming in, here’s a hit list of brands Vetted by Vandy that will grind your flower without breaking your bank:
Sharpstone Grinders ($25+). We find these comparable to the wildly popular Space Case without the hefty price tag ($60). They don’t last quite as long as Space Case, alas we’ve not been disappointed by Sharpstone’s life expectancy-to-cost ratio.
Black Tie Grinders ($29). Rumored to have the smoothest grind-twist on the market, the Black Tie design has 30 strategically placed holes to avoid nugget-jams on the inside, and rounded corners for kief catching. As a side note they do market a Pink Bow Grinder “for women” and while everybody enjoys options, the old-timey gender bias is so tragically out-of-touch our eyes roll until our heads hurt. Don’t worry lambs, Vandy has something for the ache.
Ohuhu Grinders ($10+). This is a nice bang-for-buck grinder made from heavy duty zinc, but if you’re willing to spend a skosh more we prefer the Sharpstone.
Van der Pop Grinder Card ($15). Oh, this little number? Isn’t she the most. Designed to our standards, and made of material we don’t mind rubbing our flowers against (stainless steel). For us, a wallet staple.
Hope this helps.
As always, highest regards,
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