May 2, 2022
by Sage Vasquez
what are crutches, aka filters?
Ajoint’s crutch, also called the filter, tip, or mouthpiece keeps unwanted cannabis particles and ashes out of the mouth. Crutches also provide structural rigidity to the joint, reduce cannabis waste by allowing users to smoke a joint to its end without burning their fingers or mouth.
what are crutches made from?
Crutches provide many benefits such as a clean draw, and provides structural integrity while reducing waste.
Crutches are commonly made at home with paper, in a variety of techniques and shapes—anything from a basic accordion-style tip to more intricate folds like a star, heart, or even a cannabis leaf design. Store-bought crutches made from glass, ceramic, wood, silicone, and corn husk have become increasingly popular.
Paper. As mentioned before, it's common for tokers to use items from around the house to roll their own crutches. The best weight of paper for making a DIY crutch is something thinner than a standard cardboard shipping box (too bulky) but thicker than printer paper (too flimsy). Common go-to’s include:
- An index card
- A business card
- A manila file folder
After all the random business cards have been used up, these pre-cut paper strips and pre-rolled paper crutches are available for purchase.
- The Classic Filter Strip. Clean, unmarked strips of paper that can be used for any number of little origami crutch designs.
- Perforated Filter Strip. Strips of paper with pre-defined fold lines—these work as a template and guide your folds. Folding the lines back and forth before rolling will give you an accordion-style filter in the center.
- RAW’s Perforated Cone Filter Strip. Similar to the perforated filter strips, however, these are specifically designed for cones. These strips of paper have pre-defined fold lines to guide you through making your own accordion-style tip in the shape of a little cone.
- Pre-rolled. These pre-rolled paper crutches have gained popularity in the past few years since they're a more viable option for some—removing the time and dexterity needed to fold small, evenly spaced pieces of thick paper.
Glass. Glass crutches cool a joint’s smoke as it passes through the mouthpiece. Crutches made from glass have become increasingly popular with the rise of inexpensive, low-grade pre-rolls. Glass crutches serve more than one purpose—not only do they filter out ash and cool the smoke, but they can also improve its taste and overall experience. Glass crutches are inexpensive and available in many shapes and sizes—perfect for the variety of tokers out there. These typically last until they are lost or broken. It’s important to pass a joint using a glass crutch carefully, they’ve been known to shatter when dropped ruining your sesh.
Corn Husk. Crutches made of corn husk are similar to glass crutches in the sense that they cool the smoke down as it passes through it, and even more so as squeezing it. However, they do not shatter when dropped, making them more durable than their glass alternative. The natural design of a corn husk efficiently holds cannabis, keeping it from falling out, and is an excellent way to enhance a joint’s flavor. Commercially sold pre-rolled cones are now available with corn husk crutches that contain flavor capsules. These flavored crutches are activated by cracking a flavor capsule inside the tip. Capsules release food-grade essential oil infused with terpenes.
Ceramic. Similar to glass, ceramic crutches offer features like filtering out ash, cooling smoke, and improving a joint’s taste, with one exception—ceramic crutches are more durable.
Silicone, Wood, Activated Charcoal, and Many More. Crutches made of silicone, silicone and glass, wood, and activated charcoal, and are becoming more available. All of which may provide multiple benefits to enhance your smoking experience.
Keep in mind while shopping, no matter how impressive a crutch might look, you don’t want to purchase something that might be unsafe to smoke out of. Crystals may look pretty at the end of a joint, but some pose negative risks. Many crystals shouldn’t be used as a crutch—some release toxic fumes when heated, which can easily be inhaled along with a joint’s vapor. While many of the new crutch designs are safe, it’s important to be aware crutches are not regulated, meaning they have not necessarily been tested for safe use.