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Tuesday October 19, 2021

By Paul Barach

A marijuana joint that is canoeing 420 Culture

Smoking a joint should be a low-maintenance type of deal. No one wants to interrupt the puff-puff-pass flow in order to do some repairs to your joint’s structural integrity. One of the most common causes of puff-puff-pass stoppage is when your joint starts canoeing. 

For the uninitiated, “canoeing” is the term for when one side of your joint burns faster than the other. Also called “running,” this uneven burn can ruin the joint’s integrity, causing unlit bud to fall out the other side. It’s a frustrating waste of weed that can break up your stoner circle prematurely. So what can be done to fight it?

What Causes Joints to Canoe?

A joint will canoe for several reasons. It may have been rolled poorly, the weed may not have been ground properly, airflow through the joint could be uneven, it may have been lit wrong, or maybe it was a windy day.

There are many factors that play into why your joint might have canoed.

Whatever the reason, there are a couple of easy fixes that can ensure that your next joint burns evenly all the way down to the filter. That’s why PotGuide is here with some tips and tricks for how to fix a canoeing joint and prevent it from happening altogether.

Tips for Fixing a Canoeing Joint

Lay a Lick Down

If you catch your joint canoeing despite your best efforts (happens to the best of us), then “laying a lick down” is a good way to stop that run in its tracks. Get some saliva on your finger (or water if it’s handy) and dab it around the smoldering section. Ideally, by the time the lagging side has reached the canoe, the paper will have dried and the joint will burn evenly until the end.

Turn It and Burn It

Heat rises, so turn your joint over so that the lagging side is on top. The embers should burn faster than the bottom side, allowing them to catch up. You can also coax those embers along by relighting the lagging section. Combining these two techniques can set a canoeing joint back on track. 

Tips for Preventing Your Joint from Canoeing

Your joint may be canoeing because it wasn’t rolled properly in the first place. If this is the case, there’s no shame in admitting that you have more to learn. Rolling a quality joint is a skill that comes with study and practice. Luckily, there are plenty of articles and videos on the internet that can give you an introduction to rolling or a quick refresher. Here’s one:

Now that you’re all caught up on the basics, let’s move on to the tips and tricks of rolling an evenly burning joint. 

Grind Your Bud

To prevent canoeing, use a grinder when rolling your joint. Ground up bud provides an even consistency throughout your joint, which means uniform airflow and a smooth, even burn.

A cannabis grinder with PotGuide light next to it
Grinding your weed will help ensure an even burn.

No matter how carefully you pick apart bud with your fingers, you’re still going to end up with clumps of flower spread throughout the joint. This causes air pockets, which burns paper instead of flower, which leads to canoeing.

Use Quality Flower

Properly dried, cured flower is an essential ingredient in a quality joint. It will give you a smooth, tasty smoking experience as well as burn down evenly. If the flower’s too wet or too dry, parts of your joint will burn faster than others, leading to canoeing. You’ll know quality flower if it smells potent, is dry but still sticky, and doesn’t crumble in your fingers when you pull it from the stem. 

Spark it Up Right

Using quality bud that’s properly ground is important, but so is making sure your joint is started right. That means touching the flame to the entire circumference of the joint’s end. Otherwise, one section of your joint might be racing ahead while the other side is still leaving the starting block. A good way to test if your joint is evenly lit is to gently blow on the embers. If there’s a glowing red circle of burning bud, then you’re off to a good start.

Someone sparking up a marijuana joint
Sparking up your joint correctly is crucial to avoiding canoeing. photo credit

A windy day can also feed some embers while suffocating others, leading to canoeing. In that case, create a wind block by turning your back to the wind, or having your friends do the same, then light up the lagging section.

Practice Makes Perfect

There are some sensi-savants out there, but for most of us, rolling a joint takes practice. Any worthwhile skill does. Beginner joints tend to be rolled unevenly. Parts of the joint may be tightly packed, while other sections are loose, leading to uneven airflow through the flower and canoeing. Once you learn to wrap the joint tightly (but not so tight that air can’t get through), your joint will burn much more evenly.

The Wrap Up

If you find your joint canoeing, the best way to save it is to moisten the leading side, then flip it over so that the lagging side can catch up. To prevent canoeing in the first place, practice rolling until your joints are snug and well packed with quality bud that’s been ground to a regular consistency. You’ll soon get the hang of it, and then nothing will disrupt that puff-puff-pass flow.

What are your tried and true methods for preventing or fixing a canoeing joint? Share them in the comments.


Paul Barach Paul Barach

Paul Barach is a Seattle-based freelance writer, editor, and author with experience creating well-researched, edited web articles covering cannabis news, culture, history and science. Paul is a regular contributor to PotGuide and has also contributed to publications such as, SlabMechanix, Litro, and The Trek. He prefers to spend his free time outdoors and most recently hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. So far he has only fallen into the La Brea Tarpits once. You can follow him on Instagram @BarachOutdoors and stay up to date professionally through his LinkedIn page.

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