Like many things in the world of cannabis, grinders have a history that dates back farther than you might expect. Even before it was a staple of the cannabis industry, the grinder was coming in handy in plenty of different ways.
Whether you know it as a dry herb grinder, a cannabis grinder, or a weed grinder, this useful tool has the power to transform your smoking experience. And with the quick history lesson we’ve put together, you can impress your fellow cannabis enthusiasts with some fun trivia the next time you light up.
So, let’s talk grinders: we’re going to cover the invention of the grinder, its original purposes, and how it’s used today. Then, we’ll discuss how to pick the best cannabis grinder to suit your style and personal preferences – because after you’ve learned about everything they have to offer, you’re definitely going to want one of your own.
Who Invented the Herb Grinder?
Believe it or not, the modern-day handheld grinder got its start more than a century ago. Invented in 1905 by two Australian men named William Wingfield and John Balding, the device was officially patented as a “Case and Device for Holding and Disintegrating Tobacco and Other Substances.”
At the time, it would have been a total game-changer. Before this version was created, the grinding process relied on a mortar and pestle (or simply grinding by hand). Not only did the invention of the grinder make it a much easier chore, but it also better preserved the quality of whatever was being ground up.
What is a herb grinder used for?
When the grinder was patented in the early 1900s, it was intended to be used to grind tobacco, herbs, and medicinal plants into a more consistent, finer texture that would have been ideal for smoking, cooking, and use in treatments.
Back then, grinders were probably primarily owned by professionals who ran businesses grinding tobacco and medicinal plants for their customers to purchase. Some medical practitioners may have also had grinders, especially those that operated pharmacies.
But today, when you see dry herb grinders being discussed, it’s usually in the context of cannabis.
What is a Grinder and Why Do I Need One for Cannabis?
A cannabis grinder is specifically designed to grind down cannabis buds into a smoother, softer texture and smaller bits. With a grinder, you can skip the step (and the mess) of crumbling bud by hand before rolling it into a joint or packing it into a bowl.
Although there are many different types of cannabis grinders, they generally share the same basic functionality. First, chunks of bud are placed into a chamber, and the lid is secured. When you twist/rotate the grinder, it pushes the bud against the sharp, bladed teeth inside. A compartment catches the flawlessly-ground herb, so you can easily open it and use it as you’d like. Higher-quality grinders also feature a “kief catcher,” which makes it easier to harvest the potent residue for later use.
The benefits of a cannabis grinder
There are many benefits to using a weed grinder, including:
- The finer consistency allows for a more even/thorough burn, which translates into the effective release of cannabinoids and terpenes
- You’ll be able to maximize the potency of your flower, since none of the valuable trichomes end up stuck to your fingers
- Using a grinder simplifies the prep process, so you can start your smoke session as quickly as possible
- A grinder keeps all of the herb contained, so none of it is wasted
- With a high-end grinder, you can collect the leftover residue (kief) and use it as a potent addition to your next joint, bowl, or homemade edibles
- It will be easier to roll/pack the cannabis much more tightly, delivering a slower burn
When you consider that cannabis has been a part of many cultures for thousands of years, it’s pretty likely that there were other methods used to grind cannabis before dry herb grinders were invented. Nowadays, as marijuana becomes increasingly popular and sees widespread legalization, grinders are becoming more well-known as a necessity for every cannabis connoisseur.
What different types of herb grinders can I buy?
With a wide variety of options available, choosing the best type of grinder can feel overwhelming – but not if you know what to look for.
When you’re shopping herb grinders for sale online or at your local smoke shop, you’ll often see them labeled according to a) the number of chambers, b) the material, and c) the size (more on that later).
- Metal grinders are considered the gold standard material, with medical-grade aluminum being the ideal. Metal is durable, easy to clean, and won’t affect the flavor or quality of your flower.
- Wood grinders, plastic grinders, and stone grinders are often sold as fun, unique novelty items, but they don’t offer the same level of performance. Depending on how they’re made, they might absorb some of the oils/resin from cannabis, making them harder to clean. Also, these types of cannabis grinders tend to wear down more easily.
In addition to the materials used, the number of pieces (chambers) is one of the most important characteristics of any grinder.
- A 2-chamber or 2-part grinder is the most basic type. It’s made up of a top and a bottom portion, and simply grinds and collects the herb.
- 3-chamber/part and 4-chamber/part grinders are the most popular, especially among experienced enthusiasts. These grinders are made with one chamber to collect kief (at the bottom), one chamber for the ground flower, and two levels with grinder teeth.
Depending on who you’re talking to, the size of a cannabis grinder can refer to one of two things:
- The actual diameter of the grinder
- The number of chambers
Since we already covered the varying chamber options above, let’s take a closer look at grinder diameters. Exactly what are the pros and cons of a larger vs. smaller grinder?
Ultimately, choosing the best grinder size comes down to personal preference. For some people, a 2.5-inch diameter is ideal, because they enjoy being able to pop it in their pocket for on-the-go use. Other people prefer a larger, 3.5-inch diameter because it can be used to grind more flower at once.
So, what makes certain grinders better than others? Quality engineering, high-end materials, and innovative designs can transform every aspect of your experience, from grinding and smoking to cleaning out your grinder.
- Grinder teeth with an interleaved design provide precision cutting and can offer you different options in terms of texture
- Threadless designs use magnets, rather than threads, to hold together the components of the grinder – which means less clogging
- L-vents ensure that every last bit of ground cannabis is effectively collected, so you aren’t leaving any valuable flower behind
- Easily removable grinder screens make replacement a breeze, no tools are required
Want to shop for the best grinders on the market? Here’s a hint: you can find them on our website. We took the traditional grinder design and gave it a major upgrade, incorporating fantastic features that set us apart from any other brand out there.
Join the Future of Cannabis with a Canna Clawz Grinder
Dry herb grinders might have a long history, but it’s their future that we’re really excited about – especially because innovation is kind of our thing.
When you’re ready to step up your smoke game, browse the full selection of Canna Clawz grinders and accessories available for sale now!
Image Source: Dmytro Tyshchenko / Shutterstock