What is baptizing?

Baptizing a joint, blunt, or spliff in the cannabis community refers to the act of moistening the cannabis product with saliva before lighting it. This practice is believed to extend the burn time of the product. The term ‘baptizing’ is a playful nod to the religious ceremony of baptism, but instead of water, saliva is used​​.

Factors Influencing Burn Rate

  • Moisture Level of the Bud: The moisture content of the cannabis bud plays a crucial role in determining the burning rate of a joint. Ideally, the moisture level should be around 10% to ensure optimal burning. If the bud is too dry, it will burn rapidly​​.
  • Quality of Rolling Papers: The thickness and material of the rolling papers significantly affect the burn rate. Thinner papers allow more air to pass through, resulting in a slower burn. Moreover, papers free of additives also contribute to a slower, healthier burn​​.
  • Packing Density: How tightly a joint is packed influences its burning rate. A tightly packed joint burns slower due to reduced airflow, whereas a loosely packed one burns faster and unevenly​​.
  • Evenness of the Grind: An evenly ground cannabis is essential for a uniform burn. Hand-crumbling often results in uneven sizes, causing the joint to burn unevenly​​.
  • Inhalation Intensity: The intensity with which one inhales from a joint affects its burn rate. A slower, relaxed inhalation pace can result in a slower burn​​.
  • Addition of Cannabis Wax or Honey: Some users add cannabis wax or honey to their joints to slow down the burn rate and add flavor. This also adds to the cannabinoid content of the smoke​​.

Scientific Studies and Findings

  • 1982 NIDA Study: A study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 1982 found that 20% of the THC in a cannabis cigarette was delivered to the body when taking a 5-second puff each minute, with the rest lost to burning and sidestream smoke​​.
  • 2008 Leiden University Study: This study explored different toke patterns and found that the overall temperature of the joint remained higher with more frequent tokes, affecting THC decarboxylation and delivery​​.

Personal Choice and Health Considerations

While some anecdotal evidence suggests that baptizing a joint might slow its burning, there is no concrete proof to support this claim. Excessive saliva can clog the joint, making it unsmokable. The practice is a personal choice and is often discouraged in group settings due to hygiene concerns. Pre-rolled joints from dispensaries are not baptized and avoid contact with saliva​​.


Baptizing a joint in the cannabis world is a personal and somewhat controversial practice. While it might have some effect on the burn rate, factors such as the moisture level of the bud, quality of rolling papers, packing density, grind evenness, and inhalation intensity play more significant roles in determining how a joint burns. Whether or not to baptize a joint remains a matter of personal preference, often influenced by the social context and health considerations.