The Science of Grinding and Rolling Herbs

November 10, 2020 5 min read

There’s just something sweet about the simplicity of a 4-piece herb grinder, a lighter, a rolling paper, and a stash full of something potent…

A walk through almost any upscale headshop or smoke shop reveals an entire world of contraptions, devices, gadgets, and glass, all designed to enhance the smoking or vaping experience. However, any headshop or smoke shop worth walking into will also have an ample offering of blunt wraps, rolling papers, lighters, and herb grinders as well.

Simple tools for a simple task.

Grind it, fill it, lick it, stick it, light it, smoke it!

If you’re like us, you could stare at some of these beautiful herbs for hours as they glisten in the light and emit their alluring aromas. As with people, however, no matter how beautiful an herb might be on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that really matters.

The act of preparing the herb for the flame is, for many people, an art, but there is a science behind it as well especially if your preferred method of consumption is via something rolled or wrapped. With that in mind let’s take a look at The Science of Grinding and Rolling Herbs.

Phoenician Grinders explains The Science Behind Grinding and Rolling Herbs


To grind or not to grind… that is the question.

The answer is really pretty simple: you can just jam your entire intact herbs into a bowl or slide, or try to roll up like that, but that’s not going to work out well for you. You have to break it up first and there are three main ways that people do that.

  1. Hands-On – Some folks prefer to use their fingers and fingernails to quickly and efficiently slice and dice through even the stickiest herbs, leaving a shredded pile in their palm or rolling tray. A great skill in a “pinch”, but not the best method if other options are available. 

  2. Scissor Tricks – Give me a pair of scissors and a cup or jar and I can chop up a pile of herbs pretty quickly, but not very completely. Again, better than nothing, but still not your best option.

  3. Grind Time – Top shelf herbs deserve top shelf herb grinders. Designed specifically to easily homogenize any herb placed in its chamber, containing everything in a safe, clean, discreet, easy-to-transport smoking accessory.

Top quality herbs will stay lit long after they are initially kissed by the flame, especially if they provide that flame with optimal surface area to burn and that is best achieved after a fine grind in a 4pc herb grinder.

The less flame you have to apply, or re-apply, the cooler, smoother, and more flavorful the smoke will be. Not only that, but science tells us that too much heat can have a detrimental effect on the terpenes and other compounds in the herb, potentially leading to a less-than-optimal experience.

Here at Phoenician Grinders, our best-selling four-piece herb grinder will transform your lumpy, sticky herbs into an ideal consistency for packing pre-rolled cones or wrapping or rolling one up from scratch. This ensures a longer, more even burn from tip to tip.



The age-old debate of whether or not to use a grinder on your herbs to prepare them for smoking or vaping reminds us of the old beer commercials where people would get all bent out of shape about whether the beer “TASTES GREAT” or is “LESS FILLING”. The joke, of course, is that it can be both and that both sides get a beer so what’s the big deal?

It’s the same way with a grinder – if you don’t like it, don’t use it.

Those opposed to the practice of grinding herbs will often point to the piles of trichomes that are separated from the herb during the slicing and shearing of the grinding process.

Those trichomes – miniscule, sticky glands that grow on many types of plants and herbs to provide self-defense against bugs – are packed with the aroma, effects, and flavors specific to each type of herb you come across. Losing or wasting them would not be cool, or wise.

When you use your fingers to break up your herbs you’re bound to disturb those essential trichomes, likely smashing and destroying them, without being able to properly harvest whatever comes loose from the herb itself.

The same goes for the Scissors Technique. Your scissors get sticky quickly because of the damaged trichomes between the blades, trichomes that should be getting lit to get you lit.

When you are working with a best selling 4-pc herb grinder like what we offer here at Phoenician Grinders, razor sharp diametrically cut teeth will sheer rather than slice your bud instead of mash and tear. Then, those trichomes are sifted through a stainless steel micron screen and then collected, often intact, and safely stored in the bottom chamber of the herb grinder for you to re-introduce to your herbs after the grinding is complete.

Some opponents of herb grinding do not like separating the trichomes from the ground-up herb. We hear ya! The best part about Phoenician’s 4-piece herb grinders is that with a simple twist, you can eliminate a chamber and make it a 3-piece herb grinder!

Options are good, right?


Finally, if you are one of the growing number of people who are finding out about the potential health benefits of vaporizing your herbs instead of smoking them, then using a top quality herb grinder will be a crucial part of your vaping routine.

Some more fun science for you… instead of using combustion (fire/flame) to generate the heat needed to activate your herbs, a good vaporizer instead uses super-heated air to activate the terpenes and other compounds stored in those mighty trichomes. However, in order to be totally efficient and provide a thorough, tasty, and effective vapor, the herbs loaded into the device must be finely ground to give the most surface area possible for that hot air to work with.

Those separated trichomes that get trapped and stored in your 4pc Phoenician Grinder also make for an extra tasty (and potent!) treat in your vape chamber.

Science class was always kind of fun for us compared to the rest and we hope that this article made The Science of Grinding and Rolling (and Vaping!) an enjoyable learning experience for you, too.

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