The Origin of the Joint

How the Humble Joint Came To Be One of the Most Popular Forms of Cannabis Consumption

Humans have consumed cannabis since at least 500 B.C.E., but it’s not like we’ve been rolling fatties or hitting resin-coated rigs this entire time. For a large part of our history with the plant, we ingested it orally or inhaled its smoke using wooden pipes or something similar.[1] Water pipes and rolling papers are fairly recent developments in human/cannabis history.

The use of rolling papers with cannabis has an interesting past because, from what we know, joints were invented for pure recreation. Pipes and ingestants have a history of recreational use, sure, but a large part of their historical use was medicinal and/or ceremonial.

The joint’s been a smokey treat since at least the mid-late 1800s, starting in Mexico and eventually rolling north before lighting up the globe.


The Birthplace of the Joint:

1850's Mexico

From what we know today, Mexican laborers invented the joint. A pharmacist from the University of Guadalajara was the first to document the laborers mixing cannabis and tobacco in their cigarettes. This was around 1856, before the Mexican Revolution and the Jazz Age made cannabis a popular vice in the United States.[2] 

Mexico’s history with cannabis dates back to its Spanish rule when conquistadors brought the hemp plant over for cultivation.[3] From there, the plant journeyed north into the States, first for agricultural purposes. Later, its psychoactive characteristics established a new demand for it, in part because of the convenience of the newly created marijuana cigarette.

Asthma and Bronchitis Be Damned:

1870's Medicine Doobie Curing

A decade or so later, The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal published an ad for “Indian Cigarettes” prepared with Cannabis Indica resin. The ad claimed that “…affections of the respiratory organs are promptly cured or relieved…” by smoking their marijuana cigarettes.[4] 

This is the first documented mention of a medical use for joints specifically, and also the first documented commercial advertisement of a joint.

But this consumption method didn’t need advertising to claim its place in history. By the early 20th century, it was all the rage among musicians and artists in the US, especially with Prohibition cracking down on alcohol use


Jazz Cabbage Gets Twisted:

1920's Burns Bright

The Mexican Revolution began in 1910, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee the country and take root in the United States. Between this violent event and the intro of Prohibition in the US, compounded by jazz music’s rise in popularity, cannabis was on fire in the US in the 1920s. In particular, marijuana cigarettes were pervasive in underground and artistic circles and eventually became known as “joints.”

At this point, cannabis was still legal to consume. It wasn’t until the “Reefer Madness” propaganda campaigns of the 1930s started spreading false information and unfairly targeting minorities that public perception of the plant devolved. This eventually led to the decades-long prohibition on cannabis that we’re still recovering from and actively fighting against today.

The Government Burns Itself:

1960's-1970's Rolls Their Own Way

The 1930s-1960s were a dark time for cannabis in general. Except, of course, during WWII when the government actively requested (and paid) farmers to grow hemp to support the war effort despite years of propaganda disparaging the plant. (Propaganda which promptly resumed post-war.)[5]

By the 1960s, the US government had overplayed its hand. Their “Hemp for Victory” campaign during WWII shined a new light on the plant and negated much of their previous propaganda. Children of the “Reefer Madness” era were now adults, and they were quickly realizing they’d been deceived about the true nature and effects of the plant. Coupled with the increasing disdain for the Vietnam War, Americans were done with governmental authority.

The joint became a sign of protest, and smoking one in public was counter-culture’s statement of revolt.


Cannabis Legalization Sparks New Ideas:

the 2000's Introduce Pre-Rolls

1996 introduced the first legal medical marijuana market in the United States since the 1930s began criminalizing the plant. A decade and a half later, the first adult-use market opened in the US. All of this progress has led to the creation and sale of the pre-rolled joint, AKA pre-roll.

Pre-rolls have changed the history of the joint forever. These funny little cigarettes no longer require skill or patience to roll up. Now, any curious consumer can head to the nearest dispensary and explore all kinds of options, from single pre-rolls to pre-roll multipacks to infused pre-rolls.

Pre-rolls were originally hand-rolled, like any other joint, but high demand quickly led to the implementation of the cone-stuffing machine that allowed cannabis brands to produce pre-rolls in bulk. These cone-stuffing machines can’t mimic the quality of a rolled joint and often create a product that runs and results in a lot of burned weed that never actually gets inhaled.

This has been the norm for a while, until RollPros decided to do something about it in 2020.

RollPros Changes the Game:

Blackbird Takes Pre-Rolls to New Heights

At this point in the legal world of cannabis, pre-rolled joints are popular with all types of consumers. But even though stoners, parents, newbies, grandmas, and all the other demographics seek out different types of pre-rolls for different reasons, one thing is consistent across consumer segments—they want a better experience from their pre-rolls, and cone-stuffing machines aren’t cutting it.

So we invented the Blackbird, the industry’s first and only automated pre-roll machine that rolls joints like the good ol’ days, but at a much higher rate. (We’re talking around 750/hour.)

Make your mark in cannabis history by ditching your cone-stuffing machine and bringing your pre-rolls back to the glory days of rolled joints. Get in touch with RollPros today!

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