Does weed lose potency after grinding?

So you’ve got a bag of fresh weed and you’re more than ready to smoke it… but wait! Do you buy a grinder to go with it? Or is that going to ruin the amazing cannabis bud you got your hands on? You might have even heard from friends that a grinder makes weed less potent. But is it true? Let’s take a look at the facts so you can get the best bang for your buck when smoking those quality buds!

What is grinding weed and why do people do it?

Weed grinders are a must-have item for most smokers, and rightfully so– they make the process of prepping your joint or your bowl much easier!

Grinders come in many different shapes and sizes but the main goal of all of them is to break up your weed into small pieces that you can easily pack into a blunt or a bowl. This isn’t the only way to break up weed into more manageable, little bits for packing but it’s more time-efficient and consistent than other methods.

Pros and Cons of Grinding Weed

Preparing a joint and drug paraphernalia concept theme with weed grinder used to grind cannabis buds and roll marijuana joints, next to rolling paper and weed bud isolated on dark background

Most of the pitfalls of using a grinder, you would experience when breaking up a bud any other way as well. Grinding pot is a far faster and more consistent way to break up a bud than by using your fingers or a pair of scissors— but any of these options is going to disturb the trichomes in your pot.

Loss of trichomes can be a pretty big deal since they contain a hefty amount of THC. You might have heard someone brag about “sticky bud” or the amount of crystal-like hairs they can see on a cannabis flower.

What they are referring to are those potent little trichomes— full of cannabinoids and terpenoids! When your fingers, scissors or grinder touch a bud, you’ll be losing trichomes to whatever your weed is touching. 

If you want your weed to last longer and not risk losing any trichomes, you can just put a whole nugget in your bowl and smoke it that way!

You’ll just have to deal with the fact that a whole nugget is going to burn faster and more inconsistently than if you broke it up (which might make it taste funny too). 

Another, probably better, alternative to preserve as many trichomes as possible is to go the extra mile and purchase a grinder with a kief catcher. Kief catchers collect all those trichomes you’d otherwise be missing out on when you use a grinder and store them in a catch chamber below your ground weed. Once you collect enough, you can sprinkle it on top of a bowl you’re packing, use it when you are making edibles or, if you’re brave enough— use it to make Moon Rocks.

How grinding weed affects potency

Grinding weed can definitely affect your pot’s potency– but as long as you are using a grinder with a kief catcher and taking good care of your weed — grinding your weed will only increase potency!

Ground weed has more surface area and more room for oxygen to flow when burning than if you were to smoke a whole nugget. That means a better, heavier hit!


Weed grinding alternatives

There are many ways to grind weed without a grinder. Other options include using scissors, pulling it apart by hand… or finding a lesser-used grinding option, like your coffee grinder. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each:

Finger-pulling your marijuana

If you’ve met a person who swears by finger-pulling their weed, there are probably two main arguments driving their reasoning: nostalgia and making their weed last. If you finger chop weed, you’ll probably end up with much bigger chunks than if you ground up your cannabis. Bigger chunks means less weed that’ll fit into your pipe or joint, which may mean your weed lasts longer. 

Finger pulling weed is also a sensory experience that a lot of people love. Some might cringe at the thought of how many trichomes are being pulled off the weed (and onto your fingers) when you finger chop weed but others prefer the smell and the tactile sensation of chopping their weed by hand!

Scissor-cutting your cannabis

Cutting your weed with scissors is more likely going to be used as an alternative to a grinder when you are in a pinch, than a preference that you’re going to see people prefer in the weed-smoking world. 

If you lost your grinder or don’t have one and want a more even burn when you smoke— pulling out the kitchen scissors is always an option. Make sure you disinfect your scissors first and then go ahead and put the marijuana into a clean container, put your scissors tip down into the container and chop away!

Other ways to grind cannabis bud

There are two other semi-popular ways to grind weed: using a coin and using a coffee grinder. The coffee grinder alternative is pretty straight-forward but not well-recommended.

It’s going to more-so pulverize your weed than grind it and it’s going to be a pain to clean when you decide you want to grind your coffee beans.

On the other hand, using a small container (like a pill bottle) and a coin (pennies or dimes work best) are an unconventional but creative way to grind cannabis in a pinch. Fill a pill bottle about ½ to ¾ full with dry weed and then push a small coin into the weed. Close the pill bottle and shake it for a few minutes. Open it up and take a look! If chunks are still too big, close it back up and keep shaking.

One thing to consider is that if you are a germaphobe or smoking with a germaphobe– this probably isn’t the best option. Who knows where that coin has been!

Storing Ground Weed In Your Grinder

close up of stuffing and rolling a fake one hundred dollar bill cannabis joint from a weed grinder

Your grinder might seem like a logical place to store your weed— but don’t do it! Grinders are not a storage accessory. 

The number one reason not to use your grinder as a storage location is because it lets in air. And oxygen getting to your weed means dried out plant material. And dried out plant material means your weed burns fast, is harsh when you take a puff and is less potent. And none of us want that. So store your weed in an airtight container! 

Need more convincing? Your weed will likely start to lose it’s aroma when it isn’t in airtight storage, grinders don’t always have the greatest sealing lids so you could lose your weed all together and if you expose your weed to the elements that could lead to moldy cannabis… Gross.

Best method for storing fresh weed

The best location for storing weed is a dark place, free from direct sunlight and heat. It should also be airtight so no moisture or air can get in! It may seem like plastic baggies would fit this description but actually—  Plastic allows a static charge that degrades the trichomes of the cannabis, thus losing THC.

The best way to store your weed is in a glass container that’s just big enough to fit all your cannabis. Then, put that glass container in a humidor to keep your weed fresh!

Marijuana buds and joint lie on a dark gray background. Grinder near cannabis.

Top Weed Grinders for Maximum Potency

If you are looking for the best grinder that doesn’t affect the potency, taste, smell or quality of your weed, we advise getting a grinder that has all of these characteristics:

A Kief Catcher: A kief catcher can make a world of difference in terms of getting the most out of your cannabis. Kief is rich in THC and has less plant matter— so it’s smooth to smoke and super potent! Make sure you buy a herb grinder with a third compartment that’s made specifically to store kief. 

Quality material: If you don’t want to inhale paint with plant material, don’t buy a painted plastic grinder. The teeth on a plastic grinder won’t last the test of time anyway. It’s worth the extra money for a metal grinder!

Sharp teeth: You’re buying a grinder to grind your weed, not massage it. Make sure you buy a grinder that has quality teeth! There are all sorts of different teeth designs out there but one specifically worth mentioning is Santa Cruz’s “revolutionary”, patented tooth design that has extra strong teeth but also keeps your cannabis nice and fluffy!

A trustworthy lid: There is nothing sadder than a good bud of weed spilled all over the floor or table. Make sure the grinder you choose has a solid lid that stays on even if you accidentally fumble around with it or drop it!


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