Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on December 25, 2022

It could be said that having a grinder is an essential tool for all weed enthusiasts to have because it’s what best prepares the weed for consumption. The nugs have to be ground before they can be smoked (or vaped, or eaten) so that the THC and CBD can be easily released, plus, obviously, it makes the weed easier to be rolled up and consumed. 

However, you can still break up the nugs of weed even if you don’t have a weed grinder. How, you ask? Well, just like you can smoke weed without rolling paper, you can also grind weed without a grinder. 

In this article, we’ll give you a number of tips on how to grind weed without a grinder so you can be prepared for any weed-involving scenario.

Can You Even Grind Weed Without a Grinder?

Yes, yes you can grind weed without a grinder, so rest assured that your weed sesh won’t have to be postponed. Even though grinders are obviously the best for grinding weed, you can still use some common household items and even some DIY tricks to get the job done. While the weed may not be as evenly ground and there’s no kief catcher to collect all those trichomes, grinding weed the DIY way can give you some pretty satisfying results.

How to Break Up Cannabis by Using Household Items

Prepare your bong, or whatever smoking device you’re using, and let’s see how you can hack the system and step into the green.

Use Some Kitchen Appliances

Coffee Grinder

Kinda obvious that we would put that in here since it basically serves the same purpose for coffee beans. However, not so fast. Coffee grinders have loads of coffee dust which is not recommended to be smoked, so it’s best to clean it before you grind the weed.

Pack the weed loosely in the coffee grinder and try to use nugs that are not too big to avoid overwhelming the grinder. If they’re bigger, break them up with your hands. Adjust the settings to make sure you won’t grind the weed to a fine powder and don’t forget to clean the grinder afterward. 

Black Pepper Grinder

You may not believe this, but a black pepper grinder is great for grinding buds. Again, use a smaller quantity of buds and don’t pack the grinder. Also, it’s better if the weed is on the drier side as the resin from wet weed can easily clog the mechanism. Clean the grinder before use unless you want an intense peppery smoke, and of course, clean it afterward to prevent your salads from having a grassy aroma. 

​Food Processor

Food processors are good for grinding larger quantities of weed because they’re bigger. But you’ll have to be careful with food processors as they’re powerful and their speed can grind the nugs much finer than you’d want. So pulse the weed until you get the desired consistency, and of course, clean the appliance well when you’re done.

Pestle and Mortar

Pestle and mortar isn’t exactly an appliance, but you’ll find it in the kitchen. It’s been used since the Middle Ages for the preparation of ingredients and substances, so why not use it to break up weed? Just place the nugs in the mortar and start crushing them slowly with the pestle. Be careful, though, as you don’t want to make a paste. 

Yield Sharp Objects

Cheese Grater

Now we’re entering the hardcore zone. Cheese graters may sound ridiculous, but you’d be surprised to see how well they can get the job done if you’re in a pickle. It’ll take a while, yes, but your weed will be ground. Just pick the side of the grater with the smaller openings and start grating over a big plate.

You might need a toothpick or a skewer to help you collect the remaining weed in the crevices as the sticky buds will probably leave a lot of residue after the grating. And finally, please watch your fingers and stop grating when they get too close to the grater. 

Pair of Scissors and Shot Glass 

This is a well-known method that might be the simplest, and make the least mess. All you need is a sharp pair of scissors and a shot glass. Just put a couple of buds in the glass and start cutting them with the scissors pointing downwards. Keep cutting them into smaller pieces until they become small enough to your liking. 

Knife and Cutting Board 

It can’t get any more straightforward than chopping the buds as if they were onions. And if you’re skilled in chopping, this will be a piece of cake. Just make sure that the knife is sharp enough and if you can, use a plastic cutting board instead of a wooden one as wood will soak up all the smells.

Pizza Cutter

Alternatively, you can use a pizza cutter. Just move the pizza cutter back and forth until you achieve the desired coarseness.

DIY Makeshift Tools

Pill Bottle and Coins

This is an old-school method that has stuck around for decades because it works. You’ll need a pill bottle and a couple of coins (quarters and nickels work best), and you’ve got yourself a makeshift grinder. 

Throw in a couple of nugs in there and the coins, and shake it for about 20-30 seconds before checking on the progress. Shake some more until it’s fully ground. You can over-grind with this DIY tool, so try to not overdo it. And lastly, and we’re stating the obvious here, please clean and disinfect the coins before using them in this manner.

Paper Bag and Hammer

This method is good for breaking up nugs as well as for stress relief (lol). But all jokes aside, it’s good for processing weed. The paper bag will prevent the nugs from sticking and the hammer will break it up in no time. Place the nugs in the bag and hammer away.

Use a sturdy surface that can withstand the hammer blows, such as a kitchen countertop or even concrete. Don’t use wet weed for this method as it will only become a mushy mess instead of broken up into small pieces. 

In the end, you’ll probably have a fair amount of leftover resin pressed on the paper bag that will be a waste to throw as it’s laden with cannabinoids. Just scrape it off and sprinkle your joint or spliff for some additional THC magic.


Keys are probably the worst idea ever, but it’s an idea, nonetheless. They’re not the sharpest tool, but their serrated edges might be useful if you have nothing else and don’t want to use your hands.

Credit Card

​Another bad idea worth mentioning, because desperate times call for desperate measures, is using a credit card. Try this method only if you don’t have access to any knives or other materials we mentioned above, as it would be a shame to waste a good bud just because you don’t have a grinder. You can use the credit card as a terribly blunt chopping tool, but try not to break it for your own sake.

Your Own Hands

Finally, when all else fails, you can use your hands. Start by breaking up the nugs into smaller pieces with your fingers, and then continue doing the same until the weed is fine enough. You might need to get dirty and include your fingernails to really get the pieces to where you want them to be. It’s inevitable that you’ll end up with a lot of resin on your hands and under your fingernails, but at least the weed will be ground. 

The Takeaway

Having a weed grinder is the best, but not having it is not the end of the world. As a weed enthusiast, you’ll probably find yourself in a lot of situations where you’ll have a baggie and no real tool to grind it with, so we hope we gave you some good ideas for next time (whenever that may be). Alternatively, you can just skip the tools altogether and use your hands instead. Happy toking!

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.