The History and Use of GrabbaSam Boyd
Abridged As Best I Can
“So what’s the deal with Grabba?” – Jerry Seinfeld
I highly doubt he ever said that, but you never know. It’s possible he said it at a show that was never recorded, and the set was ultimately lost to the cruel and unwavering passage of time. You can’t say for sure that it didn’t go down like that.
That being said, I would be very surprised to learn that Jerry Seinfeld even knows what grabba is.
I didn’t know too much about it until recently; I figured it was just another way to say ‘blunt wrap’.
Which isn’t entirely incorrect, but grabba’s got a lot more going on than being just another blunt wrap. It’s arguably the first of its kind, and it probably predated the term ‘blunt’ by at least a few centuries.
Grabba leaf has been around a long time, but didn’t spread around the world until more recently. It’s recent growth in popularity has made it one of the top-selling cannabis-adjacent products in North America, and the demand for grabba in Toronto seems to be at an all-time high. Even so, it seems like no one else I know that smokes knows much about it. Outside of its usage in blunts, there doesn’t seem to be much common knowledge on what grabba is, what it does, or where it came from. Luckily, I think that I might just have what it takes to help with that.
Grabba Some Knowledge
Get ready for a lot more ‘grabba’ puns, I’m only just beginning.
The reason you might not have heard about grabba before is that it tends to go by many different names. Grabba is derived from a unique tobacco leaf called ‘Fronto’, which is mostly grown in Jamaica and other Caribbean islands. Fronto leaf is sometimes called ‘Fanta’ (not to be confused with the post-war Germanic soft drink), and that’s just within the Jamaican community! They have three separate words for one leaf, and the only real difference between them is how it’s prepared.
Typically, ‘Fronto’ and ‘Fanta’ are used to refer to the natural leaf. If it’s growing on a tree, or if you picked it fresh and didn’t do anything else to the leaf, then that’s what you’d call it. Grabba is used to refer to Fronto leaf that’s either been cut into strips, or broken into smaller pieces in preparation for use. The strips are cut to be a perfect size and shape for rolling blunts, as that’s what most people use grabba for. When the leaf is broken up in smaller pieces, it can then be added to a bowl or joint and add to the effects of any cannabis you smoke. It’s basically like smoking poppers, but a bit less harsh. You cut out a lot of the heavier chemical additives that get mixed into cigarettes, and as a result the effects of the nicotine from the Fronto leaf become more prominent.
If you like smoking poppers, or enjoy the head rush you can get from nicotine, then adding grabba to your weed might interest you. It’s a more natural way to ingest nicotine, and as I mentioned before, tends to come with fewer chemical preservatives than pouring a cigarette over your bowl.
More Fanta, Less Serious
OK, you got me, that one was a tagline for the soft drink. I promise I’ll stop mentioning the fact that Fanta was invented by National Socialists.
Now that we know a bit more about where grabba came from, it might be nice to know a little more about what it can actually do for you. As I mentioned earlier, the most popular use for grabba is to add a natural tobacco flavour to your blunt or bowl. Regular users also suggest that the fronto leaf itself tastes quite a bit like chocolate, so many use the leaf as a natural flavour enhancer. Combine that with the body buzz from nicotine inside the leaf, and grabba can really change the smell and flavour profile of whatever cannabis you smoke it with.
Smoking fronto leaf won’t get you high (by itself), but smoking a high dose of nicotine can still have powerful physical effects. The body buzz specifically can help manage the effects of heavier strains of cannabis, and help you stay awake when you feel yourself start to drift off. It’s an easy way to deal with heavier indica strains, and often makes them feel more like an indica-dominant hybrid when smoked. The effects of nicotine can be similar to those of a mild sativa strain, so grabba can provide a sort of ‘boost’ to strains with similar effects.
For those who like to roll, Fronto leaf (and tobacco more generally) are known to help smooth out the structure of both joints and blunts, as well as help the contents to smoke more consistently. If you find that your joints tend to ‘canoe’ when you smoke them, a little bit of broken-up tobacco or grabba does a lot to fix that. Joints can also canoe when you’re drooling all over them, though, so maybe just check your saliva before you jump into some grabba. Grabba your tongue and just shove it back into your mouth.
…I’m really sorry about that one.
Grabba That Sentence And Put It Back Into Your Head
I said I was sorry! I’ve only got a little left to write, I promise I can only fit, like, 8 or 9 more of these in before the end. I’ll try my best to trim that down.
If learning more about grabba and fronto has made you want to try some, we’ve always got supply at Farmer’s Link! Just like cannabis, or really any plant outside of succulents, grabba doesn’t last forever. If you store it well, the leaf might last a couple years before it gets too dry (or worse, too mouldy) to use. Typically, you’ll want to store it in a cool, dark place inside an airtight container. Honestly, just store it the same way you would your weed.
You can even smoke your grabba by itself, if you want. It’s essentially a natural flavoured tobacco product, so if that’s your thing, grabba is known to be one of the best on the market. The effects would be the same as if you’d smoked a bowl of pure tobacco, but the grabba tastes a little nicer. For people like myself, who find that cigarettes can kind of taste like ass, that’s a pretty big selling point. As I mentioned earlier, it also lacks a lot of the more volatile chemical additives found in most cigarettes. If you have asthma or other respiratory issues, grabba is way easier to smoke. Honestly, it’s not even close.
Hopefully I’ve piqued your interest about grabba, fronto, and how you can use them to enhance your cannabis experience! If there’s enough interest, I’d love to do a deeper dive and write about more modern grabba culture.
Leave a comment if you’d like to see that!