Mendo Mulcher

I’ve heard in Mendo that they are pretty quick to jump on you for even using an aluminum grinder in public. Between the miniscule (microscopic) shavings of aluminum which are deposited in joints over the course of years, to the abuse the flower and trichome endures; aluminum grinders are frowned upon.

Personally I find great quality increase in rolling joints without using a grinder. It is a bit time consuming, and so it becomes a ritual of sorts, but I prefer to use fine-pointed scissors to individually cut out each bract, so that it falls directly onto the rolling paper. The chunky texture of all-bract joints is distinct. The airflow is great, and I know that very few of the trichomes I’ve grown were ruptured and their compounds were not volatilized prematurely.

The quality increase in flavor and potency is clearly noticeable since I stopped using a grinder entirely. My same flowers, when ground up by family members, taste worse than when whole bracts are carefully tucked into a joint. There is something about the physical way heat passes over these complex shapes. Broken plant material has edges which expose the chlorophyll to air. When you burn the jay, that exposed chlorophyll is heated up and affects the taste. But whole bracts allow the heat to roll over them, and the trichomes and terpenes are vaporized and inhaled. It is entirely more flavorful to smoke a joint of entirely unbroken plant material–whole bracts. Especially this is the case in cannabis which has not been fully cured (3-9+ months). If there is any chlorophyll left in the plant material you are smoking, by maintaining the floral bracts in whole form, you will reduce the chlorophyll flavor you experience.

I am reminded of popular movies: an explosion in a tunnel full of cars, as analogy for combustion of a joint full of bracts. The aerodynamic shape of the vehicles effectively sheds/deflects passing heat energy. A whole car may have flame pass over it, leaving it charred and chemically altered–but afterward, the car may still stand whole; for its shape has ensured a lower maximum temperature is reached. Whereas the same car if it had been chopped up in pieces, has a greater surface area exposed to the wave of heat which passes it, and thus more of the car is exposed/burned at a higher temperature and converted from solids to gases. If your lungs are at the other end of the tunnel, you probably want to inhale as little “burnt car” as you can hope to. You’d much rather prefer to only smoke the paint coating that was burned off, rather than the whole car that was incinerated; or rather, that we enjoy a joint more when the smoke we inhale is a greater proportion of oils/terpenes (car paint) than plant matter (entire car frame+wheels).

It may all sound fanciful, but the evidence is on the tongue. In my youth I once had an older friend who was mentally not all there. He had been in and out of hospitals and homelessness and the like, and was a rather peculiar fellow all in all. But he insisted: every joint must be hand-picked and rolled. No scissors or grinders, ever. I took a when-in-Rome approach, and simply chalked it up at the time to obsessive compulsive ritual. I eagerly admired the newest grinders on the market and enjoyed my modest collection as it was. I felt great impatience in waiting for these joints of his to be rolled, and always sought to roll my own three or four with my grinder, while waiting for him to maybe roll a single one. Because of this man’s known mental capacity, I held prejudice and was internally dismissive of his notions that “my joints taste bad” (as he said).

I had simply at that time not developed the palate to identify the specific taste of burning chlorophyll, and could not then perceive (because of my expectations and prejudice regarding the individual) any of the benefits to quality which he claimed. I simply wrote it off as another one of his delusions. (For he was perhaps schizophrenic and made often mention of the many agencies and organizations which tracked and oppressed him, and the multiple microchips and vague alien technologies which had been installed in his body since childhood.)

Take from that what you will. But today I know: if you grind it up into mulch, it tastes like mulch. There is a certain real and tangible difference in enjoyment and effect which comes from hand-picking bracts. Or in my case, with my large inarticulate thumbs which crush wholly any delicate bract they seek to pluck, I have used the tip of fine-pointed bonsai scissors to shear bracts from the stem by their base, as if using a butter knife to remove kernals of corn from a cob individually.

Plus I took a look at my 10+ year old aluminum grinders, and saw all the thousands of scratches and chipped teeth. I couldn’t remember smoking any aluminum specifically. But I suppose I had. I mean there are literally thousands of scratches, and a scratch is evidence of sheered particulates. And from what I gather, it is not a great idea to combust aluminum and inhale the vapors. I doubt these microscopic shavings have had difficulty being volatilized in 400-600+ degree combustion. (Depending on how hard you pull the cherry.) I think exposure to aluminum is acutely correlated to alzheimer’s, if I am not mistaken.

Overall smoking aluminum is something to avoid–if you can conceptualize the possibility that you are exposed to it. But if you’re the kind of smoker (and no judgement here) that doesn’t mind poking a hole in a beer can with his car keys and burning a bud with a bic, I don’t think these imperceptible aluminum shavings are going to garnish serious attention or consideration.

So my stance is: If you smoke 36 or more joints in a day (as Bob Marley does), might as well use a coffee grinder and make up some pre-rolls for the day; you can always add in some kief if you lose trichomes in the shredding process. But if you have the time in your lifestyle to hand roll some nice joints with individually removed bracts, you’ll enjoy it all the more. For both potency and flavor improve–quite noticeably if you are accustomed to smoking it.

I do agree, though that the Mendo Mulcher is a wicked grinder. They used to make them out of stainless steel I think I heard someone mention in a podcast. But that’s what I’d look for in a hand grinder: stainless steel. I also prefer pins over teeth, as I am always selectively pollinating my headstash grows, and thus always finding seed in my “sensi” flower; which the pins do not crack or knick so often as sharpened teeth.

Don’t worry about it, though. In the future robots will pluck our bracts and roll our joints for us. Or maybe nano-tech will take over the hash game, and a legion of flying nanoscopic robots will harvest from our live plants every trichome as it ripens optimally, to be delivered straight to our ever-heated bluetooth vape helmets.

-Dr. Zinko


interesting. thanks for your input.

that’s unfortunate, but i can understand where he’s coming from, schizophrenia is a shitty thing to have to live with. I personally enjoyed smoking out of a pipe/bong with finger-ground bud, sometimes scissors, but never cared for grinder weed as i felt like it burns too fast and is therefore wasteful. not a fan of the consistency i guess. It’s fine in a joint but i never really had enough weed years ago where i could just roll joints.

1 Like

Yeah hes right about aluminum particles want to avoid that…its a nice post though, good pics. :wink:


People found a way to wildly over-complicate joint rolling lol. How much time in a day does one have to separate individual bracts? I got shit to do…crush, roll. I don’t own a grinder anymore but it’s very useful if you like to have a lot of sessions or friends over. If I crush enough weed by hand the skin starts to separate between my thumb and thumbnail and it hurts.

A few elemental aluminum shavings ain’t gonna hurt anyone.


Well written and makes me want to roll a joint! :v:

I get this too. my guava hashplant was so sticky it gradually wore my thumbprint off. I don’t want to smoke aluminum… on the other hand over the years I must have smoked a lot of, well, my hand.

1 Like

Aluminum doesn’t burn at BIC lighter temperatures.

1 Like

Yeah but I don’t want to inhale aluminum particles regardless of whether or not they have been combusted.

For bongs etc I break the buds up by hand or preferably pack them whole if it isn’t too dense.

My vaporizer has to be used with ground bud so I use a nice quality anodized surgical aluminum grinder made by santa cruz shredder. (before berner got his hands on that company.)

I am extremely doubtful that any of the aluminum shavings from a grinder would end up in your lungs. It’s heavy, it’s not gonna go airborne, it doesn’t combust. IDK sounds like stoner mythology.

like I said I use an aluminum grinder, I’m not really concerned about it either.

I think it’s also worth mentioning that the best prop 215 prop 420 medical dispensary in san francisco used mendo mulchers for the volcanos. They were very confident that those grinders were well made and safe to use. That was the most medically oriented, competent, and conscientious dispensary I have ever seen.

I just think it’s obvious that metal particles are not good to inhale. for instance, if I was polishing or cutting aluminum I would take precautions. Safety is always something that we should be aware of and take seriously.

I’m not arguing about the safety of grinders. I was making a joke that we probably end up smoking a decent amount of our own fingertips if we break it up by hand.


I used to own a space case…incredible grinder.

Flash forward 30 years and there’s a class action grinder lawsuit commercial on late night TV lol.

those grinders look nice but FWIW I’ve never been a fan either. Seems like they crush the buds. The buds are in small pieces but the pieces have been compressed. And you’re going to leave a bunch of trichomes & oils stuck to the teeth. I like to break up the buds with my fingers to control the size of the bits & filter out the bits of stem.

For vaporizing I like to use a wide-grained stainless steel sieve. The mesh pattern has about 10 holes per inch, wider than the usual sieves for pasta & cooking. With well-dried buds it’s easy to rub them through the sieve. This herb particles are too fine for joints this way though.

scissors are cool too, that’s what some of my older 60’s era hippie friends use for their outdoor buds. that’s what I’d use if I wanted to process a bunch of buds for joint rolling

You’re right, in part. Aluminum alloys do not combust entirely until higher temperatures. The point merits consideration. The situation lacks clear evidence to exclude one or the other. Until empiricism and its consensus of objective experts concurs in the realms of published sciences on such peculiar nuances of cannabis consumption culture as the examination of grinder-joint relations, our minds busy in conjecture.

Divergent opinions are quite alright, and to some extent, the noise generated by public is what influences and inspires the future generations of researchers to enlighten us all.

Here is what I’ve dug up about the issue in my rudimentary understanding:

This study on the temperatures of a cigarette cherry:

“usually in the range 800–900° C during a puff, 700–800° C during the natural smoulder between puffs, and 800–850° C under steady state continuous draw conditions”
800 C = 1472 F
900 C = 1652 F

This user on reddit claiming the following temperature estimates:

Temperature without drawing:
Side of the lit portion: 400 deg C (or 752 deg F)
Middle of the lit portion: 580 deg C (or 1112 deg F)

Temperature during drawing:
Middle of the lit portion: 700 deg C (or 1292 deg F)

If anyone can find any more information it’d be interesting if they could chime in. As far as I can tell there’s a great unlikihood that an ordinary sized joint–no matter how strongly one draws on it–should produce temperatures high enough to entirely vaporize aluminum alloys.

It also looks like the aluminum alloy shavings/grindings that may be present in a joint, at their miniscule size may potentially:

  1. Have a portion of the constituents of the alloy vaporized during combustion in normal smoking.
  2. Have a greater portion of the constituents of the alloy vaporized during draw while the joint is in direct contact with the flame.

The unknown variable is still the temperature of the cherry, which changes depending on factors such as the oil content and moisture content of the herb, the compaction and size of the joint rolled, and the frequency and duration of draws. I imagine some strains with higher oil content may burn hotter. (When it is literal fire.)

My conclusion is to eschew the aluminum shavings entirely. Not discussed is the simple possibility that while rolling the joint, aluminum ends up on my fingers and later is consumed while eating. The base logic of excluding unnecessary known contaminants may have a minor impact on my bodily ecosystem; of which several similar lifestyle choices may compliment, to the ends of improved longevity through interaction with the imperceptible.

As well, when smoking joints from grinders, I’ll inquire as to the material of the grinder, and raise the topic for question. I’ll make conscious effort to now draw while the flame is in contact with the joint.

But I’m pretty sure it is all irrelevant, and just a fun chat.

-Dr. Zinko


You got too much time on your hands.


Spacecase got sued?

I don’t think so haha I was just referring to aluminum shavings in the bud causing health problems.

@seven_trees well and good…but try melting a piece of Aluminum with a BIC. Shit try melting aluminum shavings or powder with a BIC. Melting doesn’t mean it’s getting in your lungs, either.

1 Like

I think very small shavings would vaporize while on the back side of a cherry. We are talking small pieces. Have any of you ever threw a beer can in a camp fire? They burn pretty fast just sitting on the coals

1 Like

One thing to potentially melt aluminum powder, another entirely to actually vaporize it. Were this a health risk, I think someone would have figured it out by now. I’d be way deader from the aluminum beer cans I drank.

I am extremely skeptical of any health risk whatsoever to grinders. I feel like any potential risk is negligible, less even than inhaling the particles from a joint paper.

1 Like

I would honestly worry more about people growing near highways and airports. The bioacumulation of heavy metals which leads to you literally smoking things like lead and mercury. I hate to say it, but alot of Northern US and Canadian waters are horribly polluted with it. And if you think that perfect mountain vista is a great place to grow, maybe check for heavy metals in the area or other pollutants from the mining, logging and paper industries.


During every heated debate between marijuana advocates and the- whatever the other side are calling themselves (Party poopers? Squares? Square poopers? Square poopers), no one could have anticipated that the best argument for the drug’s legalization was that weed has the potential to actually make lungs healthier. The logic is so counterintuitive that no one even bothered to study it until recently, and even then it was only because someone stumbled across the findings while doing a report on, of all things, an airport.

See, airports that host private planes produce high concentrations of particulate matter into the atmosphere because private planes, for whatever archaic reason, still use leaded gasoline. As a result, people who live near these airports suffer from a whole slew of diseases related to poor air quality, from asthma to COPD. This is true across the board; in every town or city in which these airports exist, people around them get sick … except one.

When the American Lung Association was compiling its Annual Respiratory Disease Report for 2013, they found that for some reason the residents around the airport in Augusta, Maine, had lungs like Wolverine. What they at first assumed was an error in the data turned out to be factually accurate, with an incredible answer: 47-year-old Marlon Cloutier was growing enough weed within the fenced property of the airport to mellow the entire state of Maine.

Not literally, of course. Maine was so outraged when they found out that they threw Cloutier in prison for it because growing weed is still illegal. But his heroic drug farm revealed a property of cannabis no one in the scientific field had considered before – specifically, that it eats up particulate matter from the atmosphere like a stoner eats up Nutella. Weed, more than any other plant, is phenomenal at cleaning pollutants from the air and creating a healthier environment for people. Although tests are only in their preliminary stages, marijuana not only is looking like it might be nature’s air filter, it’s also got the added benefit of being one of the highest oxygen yields of any plant. We could potentially be planting fields of it in every polluted city and saving lives. Sadly, while the reports from the ALA are groundbreaking, they will probably never make national headlines. Still, it’s nice to know that every time you smoke, you’re doing as much as any Asthma Walk. So do it for the kids, and do it for Marlon Cloutier.