The Joint Has Been Around Longer Than You Think

The First Joint

While many people have been consuming cannabis through joints, it is known to be historically present for thousands of years.

Through a pipe, hookah, or even chillum, the humble marijuana cigarette has managed to find its way to the heart of many cultures worldwide. History might be hazy at this point, but certain pieces of evidence prove otherwise.

Who rolled the first joint? No one knows, but it was likely after the massive spread of tobacco back in the 16th century. Once tobacco began spreading, people started rolling and smoking other herbs, like the cannabis plant.

This article will provide a brief history of cannabis and its traditional smoking instruments.

In this way, you will understand how it was consumed from the usual rolling to the modern approach of the smoking joint.

History of Cannabis and Traditional Smoking Approach

Believe it or not, the joint was not an original method for cannabis consumption. It is widely known throughout history that marijuana was smoked mainly through pipes and hookahs.

It can be traced back to 2700 BCE, and cannabis was known to be used for its many medicinal properties and even in mystic cultures worldwide.


In India, many people used cannabis as early as 2000 BCE. It is associated mainly with Lord Shiva.

It can still be seen in many of India’s popular religious festivals.

Ancient Greece

Hemp was known to be used in many parts of Ancient Greece, primarily for medical purposes.

However, it is believed that many historians and poets acknowledged recreational use there back in the 5th century BCE.

Asia and Africa

Many documents supporting marijuana as an anesthetic can be found in China’s records back to 200 BCE.

In many parts of Medieval Arabia, there was a heated argument regarding the benefits of eating hash back in 1200.

Marco Polo reported assassins using hashish, and Ethiopian pipes had marijuana in them as far back as the 1300s

America and Europe

In the 18th and 19th centuries, many hemp plantations proliferated in Europe and even across America.

It remains unclear, though, how much of that Cannabis sativa was for recreational use.

There is still strong documentation of hashish and marijuana being smoked by many Napoleonic soldiers in Egypt and bringing them to France.

Who Rolled the First Joint, Then?

This question has been bugging many people. As mentioned before, the history of cannabis use is still hazy, and there is not a lot of research into it.

The first-ever recorded use of a joint can be traced to Mexico, and it seems that the joint was used for recreational purposes.

There are some findings that many laborers were mixing cannabis with tobacco in their cigarettes.

It might have started earlier, but the practice had begun by at least 1856. Who started this practice might not be clear, but you can say that they had the idea of rolling a cannabis joint by that time.

You might not have to look far to spot the cultural ties that still linger from cannabis’ Mexican roots.

The term “roach” got its name from the Mexican song “La Cucaracha,” which tells the story of a cockroach that could not get up because it did not have enough marijuana to smoke.

The earliest record of a commercial cannabis joint can be found all the way back to the 1870 publication of the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal.

It was Grimault’s Indian Cigarette that was marketed as a treatment for respiratory ailments.

It had a powerful mixture of cannabis resin, belladonna leaves, and a small amount of potassium nitrate. This kind of combination could have acted to deconstruct the bronchial tubes in the event of an asthma attack.

Early 20th Century Joints

It was widely known that joints were spurred on by the precursor of Marcus Garvey’s Rastafarian movement.

This movement led cannabis to more widespread popularity throughout black communities.

Some jazz musicians preferred cannabis over alcohol to enhance their creativity without affecting their motor control.

Many nicknames for cannabis cigarettes rose to popularity in this era (the 20s and 30s). Some are still used today, like reefer and joint. You can also use the term muggle.

The prohibition of alcohol in 1920 had a big hand in cannabis’ widespread usage. Many New Orleans musicians began touring the country with their iconic jazz cigarettes.

The Popularity of Joints Skyrockets

During the 1960s, there was a major shift in people’s minds toward authority, and many adults who had been raised to believe in Reefer Madness propaganda found that they had been deceived.

Cannabis was not a plant that drove people to homicidal thoughts, nor would it make a person a sex-crazed maniac or see demons.

Smoking a joint became an act of nonviolent protest against a broken system, and it brought people together under the banner of love, peace, and counter-cultural revolution.

Hippies had many fashion trends and accessories targeted to stoners. Jewelry and belt buckles were manufactured to disguise roach clips, allowing the average toker to have a surprise spliff.

The demand for rolling paper was also quick to cash in on this new market. Aside from that, many companies created a wider style of papers to accommodate the stoner market.

There were even packets of rolling paper that were decorated with psychedelic designs and pro-marijuana quotes.

This allowed users to express their feelings and join the revolution of change during that time.


Unfortunately, a lot of historical information about cannabis is unclear and hazy.

It lacks research as to who started it, but the good news is that people are investing more in helping others use this plant to make their lives easier and more manageable.

Historical information about cannabis might be lacking, but there is a huge amount of scientific information.

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