How to Grind Weed without a Grinder: 10 Ways

Published August 18, 2023
How to Grind Weed without a Grinder: 10 Ways - Secret Nature

There are lots of things we don’t need that we use anyway. Is a weed grinder one of them? It’s certainly possible to grind weed without a grinder, as we’ll cover in this guide. Along the way, though, we’ll answer an even more core question as well — does anyone ever need a grinder in the first place?

What is a grinder?

A “grinder” is a simple, mechanical device used to render whole cannabis nugs into a ground-up material suitable for rolling into joints or smoking in a bowl. Most grinders consist of three segments:

  • A “top” with teeth facing downward
  • A “bottom” with teeth facing upward and holes in between them
  • A “chamber” in which the ground weed is collected


Some grinders also have kief collectors, or fourth segments that sit below the main chamber. Separated from the chamber by a screen, the kief collector accumulates trichome oil sacs that break off during the grinding process, also known as “kief.”

Cannabis grinders usually do not have any electronic parts or motors, and they fit in your pocket or the palm of your hand. Many cannabis smokers consider grinders to be indispensable since they make it so much easier to smoke weed.

Do you need a grinder to grind weed?

Over the years, many cannabis users have questioned whether it’s necessary to use a grinder with weed. In the earliest days of cannabis, after all, grinders were not used, and buds were almost exclusively broken up by hand.

The overall consensus is that, while it’s not strictly necessary to use a grinder, doing so makes the cannabis experience simpler and more rewarding. Furthermore, equally useful alternatives to grinders do not appear to exist — that is what stoners online seem to think.

Is it true, though, that grinders impart a level of quality to the cannabis experience that cannot be achieved otherwise?

Top 10 ways to grind weed without a grinder

We think there are at least 10 alternative options you should consider before concluding that a grinder is strictly necessary to your comfort as a cannabis smoker:

Use a coffee grinder

At first glance, coffee grinders seem pretty close to ideal when it comes to weed grinder alternatives. After all, the word “grinder” is in the name, meaning the device is meant to do something similar to a weed grinder — at least in theory.

In practice, though, anyone who has used a coffee grinder to grind weed will tell you that it is definitely not a long-term solution. It’s pretty nasty to use the same grinder for both coffee and cannabis, first of all, so you’ll need to buy another coffee grinder just for weed if you want to keep using this method.

Also, with no kief collector, all the stickiness in your buds ends up accumulating on the blades and walls of your grinder. With no way to get it off thoroughly, eventually the motor will become gummed up and stop working. Why didn’t you just buy a $10 herb grinder again?

  • Method simplicity: 5/10
  • Quality of results: 5/10

The blender option

A blender is basically a big coffee grinder, which is basically the electronic version of a weed grinder… right? That logic seems to be good enough for some people, who recommend putting weed in a big-ol’ blender if you don’t happen to have a grinder on hand.

The same issues inherent to grinding weed with a coffee grinder also apply to grinding weed with a blender, though. The only major difference is that a blender is a lot bigger, meaning you’ll need to pack it with a quarter-ounce or more to keep buds from just randomly flying around without even hitting the blades.

This has to be one of the worst ideas people have come up with. Put it short, don’t put weed in a blender. It’s a huge mess, and it doesn’t work well.

  • Method simplicity: 2/10
  • Quality of results: 2/10

Try a mortar and pestle

The ancient invention of the mortar and pestle has been used since prehistoric times to prepare herbal medicines and make spices. Does it work just as well for grinding weed, though?

Simply put, no, it does not. A mortar and pestle is essentially a round, stone bowl accompanied by a thick, short stone rod. The substance to be powderized (yes, powderized, not ground) is placed in the bowl (mortar) and then the pestle (rod) is used to break it up with physical force.

If you try this with cannabis, you’ll basically just squish your weed before smashing it into a thousand pieces. In the process, a significant portion of the cannabinoid-bearing trichome sacs on the surface of the flower will be stuck to the mortar or pestle and thereby lost.

  • Method simplicity: 5/10
  • Quality of results: 3/10

Great, a cheese grater

At first glance, a cheese grater might seem like the last thing you should use to grind weed. However, grinding weed with a cheese grater works remarkably well, and it’s one of the simplest options available since almost every home is already equipped with one.

The instructions for this option are extremely simple. Grab a cheese grater, and run your weed over the edge you’d usually run against cheese. Almost perfectly ground weed will start piling up on the other side.

Of course, you need to clean your cheese grater regularly for this method to work long-term, and you’ll lose a fair bit of trichomes. The trichome loss shouldn’t be much greater than what you’d experience with a conventional grinder, though.

  • Method simplicity: 8/10
  • Quality of results: 7/10

Dice it on a cutting board

Time to summon your inner chef. You probably won’t be able to pull this option off unless you have quite a bit of cooking experience, but chopping cannabis is ultimately no different than dicing up any other dried herb.

This option can provide some of the best results if your skills are up to the task. Some cannabis users even prefer chopping their weed due to the simplicity of this method compared to using a clunky grinder.

  • Method simplicity: 6/10
  • Quality of results: 9/10

Coins in a pill bottle

This is one of the less-cultured options, but if you’re in a pinch or on the go, grinding weed with a coin and pill bottle is certainly possible. For this alternative method of grinding weed, all you need is any type of pill bottle with a lid and any coin.

Some say a standard orange prescription bottle and a quarter work the best, but there is certainly no standard practice for this approach to grinding weed without a grinder. The instructions are simple:

  1. Put your weed in the pill bottle;
  2. Put the coin in;
  3. Shut the lid;
  4. And shake it.


Don’t shake it for too long, though, or the resulting plant matter will look more like a powder and less like something you can put in a joint or bowl.

  • Method simplicity: 8/10
  • Quality of results: 4/10

Scissors and a shot glass

You might have seen someone doing this one time, but you were too drunk to understand what was going on. The person carrying out the maneuver was probably too drunk to do it as well, and in any case, cutting up weed in a shot glass with scissors is not exactly the most finessed option at your disposal.

This method is as simple as it sounds: Put a nug of weed in a shot glass, and then cut it up with the tip of your scissors, doing your best to keep little pieces of weed from flying out. In the end, you will hopefully be left with something that is at least smokable.

  • Method simplicity: 9/10
  • Quality of results: 3/10

Fork it

This one almost seems silly to mention, but it is technically an option. Redditors have pointed out that, if you’re really in a pinch, you can simply rub a nug of weed against the back of the tines of a fork, which will break it up better than pulling the weed apart by hand.

We give this method full marks for simplicity since forks are practically ubiquitous in every single home. Are the results really that much better than pulling the weed apart with your hands, though?

  • Method simplicity: 10/10
  • Quality of results: 2/10

A grinder card

Grinder cards are essentially portable cheese graters used for weed that fit into your wallet. They usually cost about the same as a grinder, and they are very convenient to use on the go. To use a grinder card, you just rub a nug of weed against the sharp edge of the card, which causes it to grind up almost as well as a conventional herb grinder. 

  • Method simplicity: 5/10
  • Quality of results: 9/10

Tear it apart by hand

Finally, we’ve reached the easiest option, which also just happens to be the option that provides the worst results. Frustration may drive you to it, but it will only make you more frustrated in the end: That’s right, we’re talking about tearing apart your weed by hand.

Your hands will get sticky with all the stickiness you’re supposed to be smoking. The weed will not roll or burn correctly. Seriously, why didn’t you just buy a grinder?

  • Method simplicity: 10/10
  • Quality of results: 1/10

Weed grinder pros and cons

You might have a legitimate reason for not buying a grinder. Find out by comparing the pros and cons of grinder ownership:


  • The easiest and best way to prepare weed for consumption
  • Come in many prices to fit your budget
  • Lots of different styles available
  • Some grinders cost as little as $1-3


  • A grinder is something you have to buy that isn’t weed
  • Grinders are hard to take with you
  • You might lose it… maybe?


Essentially, the only reasons not to get a grinder are that it costs money and you can’t use a grinder in every single conceivable situation. In our eyes, the benefits clearly outweigh the costs.

The bottom line: is it necessary to buy a grinder?

No, it isn’t strictly necessary to buy a weed grinder if you want to break cannabis flower down into a smokable state. The alternatives, though, all have major downsides while grinders can be almost ludicrously cheap despite offering immense benefits.

So no, you don’t absolutely have to use a grinder. Take that, “the Man.” But, wouldn’t this petty act of rebellion end up only hurting you? Just grind your weed; simple as that.

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