Weed Measurements & Weights
The methods and language used to refer to weed have changed over the decades; however, one constant has remained. We still use the same weed measurements to refer to different quantities of weed.
As you prepare to enjoy the fruits of your labor, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the different weed weights, as explained in this guide.
The Gram or “Dime Bag”
The smallest measurement of weed you can buy is commonly referred to as a dime bag. This is approximately half a gram. (For your reference, a gram of weed is approximately the size of one grape).
How did it come to be called a “dime bag”? Approximately half a gram of cannabis used to retail for $10, so some clever user or seller thought up a link between that price and a dime, and then started calling half a gram a “dime bag”. Naturally, the catchy name caught on, so the smallest amount of weed you could buy is a dime bag, making it one of the most popular weed weights.
However, the meaning behind the name is no longer as valid. With the legalization of weed, the prices have dropped so much that many places no longer sell dime bags. Instead, they may offer you an entire gram for $10.
That’s why a gram is quickly becoming the standard smallest measurement of weed sold, for both flower and pre-rolled joints. Based on this, you’d probably think that weed measurements are simple. Unfortunately, as the quantities get bigger, you will see why this guide is necessary!
Things start getting interesting (or is it confusing?) when you want to buy more than a gram or dime bag. The next of the many weed measurements is called “an eighth”, meaning one-eighth of an ounce.
An eighth is approximately 3.5 grams, which is perfect when you want to buy more than a gram or two of weed. The price for this amount of weed can vary from $20 to about $60 for the premium or top-shelf weed.
In some places, you may hear people referring to an eighth as “half a quarter” or a “slice”. This is approximately the size of a kiwi fruit.
Many people prefer to buy “an eighth” because of convenience. Of all the weed weights, this one is the perfect amount for either the occasional or regular user. It’s just enough cannabis to enjoy without feeling any pressure that you will lack time to use it before it starts deteriorating. An eighth can last many people about a week.
This unit of measurement is fairly obvious, as it refers to one-quarter of an ounce. One-quarter of weed translates to about 7 grams and is the size of an apple.
Some people fondly refer to this measurement as the “Q”. Of all the weed weights, this one is the least used, and its prices can vary greatly. Don’t be surprised to hear that you can also get a “Q” of cannabis for as low as $40 but expect to pay up to $120 or thereabouts for the top of the range bud.
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This unit of measurement is fairly clear since it refers to an ounce or 28 grams of weed. This is quite a sizeable amount of marijuana. One ounce is comparable to one coconut in size, while half an ounce is the size of a grapefruit. Few people would even think of buying more than an ounce of weed since an ounce will last for quite a while before someone uses it all.
Instead, it is common to see people buying half an ounce, which translates to 14 grams of weed. An ounce of weed will set you back anywhere from $100-350 dollars, depending on what type of weed strain you’re into and where you live.
The other words you could hear people using to refer to an ounce is “a full O” (short for ounce) or a “zip.” Are you wondering how the name zip became popular for weed weights? In the past, an ounce of weed used to nearly fill the commonly available Ziploc bags. Consequently, people started asking for a “zip” when they wanted to buy an ounce since weed was illegal, and coded language was necessary to avoid arrest.
You can buy more than a “zip” of weed if you wanted, but many states have laws restricting maximum weed weights. In many areas, an ounce is the maximum amount of marijuana one can buy during one visit. In a similar vein, an ounce may be the maximum amount of marijuana that you can have at one time.
Could you buy an ounce from different dispensaries? Yes, you could. But what would be the point of buying more than an ounce when one ounce can last most people a month? Buying over what you can use in a month would give you another headache of how to preserve your stash so that it doesn’t lose its potency. So, keep it simple and buy just what you need for a week or two.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the price of an ounce of weed in your area can be used to determine the price of other weed measurements. For example, if an ounce costs $300 where you live, then an “eighth” will cost about $37.50 ($300÷8= $37.50). Though expect to pay a little more for that eighth since price per unit goes up as you buy smaller quantities.
If an ounce of weed will take you a month to smoke, multiply that by sixteen to know how long a pound of the same quality of weed will last. This is because a pound contains 16 ounces, and this is the equivalent of 454 grams!
These larger measurements aren’t of interest to most cannabis users, but they can be useful for making your own concentrates.
You may have noticed that weed measurements start out in the metric system, then change to the Imperial system as quantities get larger. While this mix of Imperial and metric systems are initially confusing, you will soon get the hang of it, especially if you look at the measurements from the smallest to largest.
Percent of THC Weed Measurements
Weed measurements can also be looked at from the perspective of how much THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is contained in a given quantity of cannabis. Cannabis has hundreds of compounds, but THC is singled out because it is the one responsible for the “high” or feelings of euphoria and relaxation that users experience.
Average THC content can vary widely from one state or jurisdiction to another, but the average is usually between 15-30 percent. However, cannabis seed breeders are hard at work, and each year more potent strains are introduced to the market.
As you buy cannabis bud or a rolled joint, pay attention to the percentage THC concentration. A higher percentage means that you will get the psychoactive effects you desire while using a smaller amount of weed.
Not all marijuana is sold as flower or rolled joints, so it is also helpful to look at the percentage THC when purchasing concentrates, such as shatter, wax, hash, and edibles.
For concentrates, THC content is measured in terms of milligrams. For example, a gram of cannabis oil could contain 70 percent THC. However, the label will indicate that the oil has 70mg of THC per dose of that oil. Cannabis edibles are commonly available in either 5mg or 10mg THC doses, going up to 50mg or 100mg per package.
Keep in mind, concentrates are stronger than cannabis flower (bud), and their effects kick in faster since the body doesn’t have to do a lot to absorb the compounds. In the same vein, edibles are also stronger than flowers, and the effects of an edible will last longer. The effects also take longer to kick in, so wait a bit before you decide to take more!
If you plan to make your own concentrates, you can expect to get approximately 3 or 4 grams of cannabis oil or between two and six grams of wax (butane hash oil) from an ounce (28 grams) of cannabis flower.
Indica to Sativa Measurements
As you gain experience, you will start to notice that certain combinations of Indica strains and Sativa strains give you different effects. Indicas are known to be more sedating, relaxing, and medicinal, whereas Sativas are famous for their psychoactive effects or mental stimulation.
It, therefore, helps to know which percentage Indica or Sativa your marijuana is. Many strains are hybrids, meaning they are a mixture of both (for example, 50-50).
Related: The Cheapest Way to Grow Pot Indoors
Ensuring You Get Your Money’s Worth
If you want to confirm that you are taking home as much weed as you paid for, ask your budtender to weigh the weed if that is available in your state. You could even ask the budtender to convert your weed measurements into something you are used to, such as an eighth, a quarter, half an ounce, or a full ounce.
This, however, is not always possible, because many states have passed laws that require recreational or medical marijuana to be prepackaged. If you live in such an area, the best way to ascertain that there is as much weed in the bag as the package says is by weighing your purchase as soon as you get home. They probably have labeled the correct weed weights, but it doesn’t hurt to check.
If you want to measure your weed purchases and don’t have a weighing scale, you could always buy one. Here are some things to consider when selecting a scale:
- Readability. Buy a digital scale whose screen will display weed measurements in a font size that you can actually read. You don’t want to spend money on a scale and then have to squint to read the results.
- Maximum capacity. Think about your needs and select a scale whose maximum capacity is sufficient for the quantities you plan to weigh. For example, some scales can only weigh up to 20 grams, while some go as high as 1,000 grams.
- Accuracy. Weed measurements should be precise. Find a scale that will give you a reading that is within +/- a single unit of its smallest display fraction.
Weed scales are also highly useful for those growing their own marijuana for accurate measurement of their harvest. If you are still unsure about what to buy, talk to more experienced cannabis enthusiasts to get recommendations about specific brands or models that are known to be reliable and durable.
The “Heavy Bags”
When you pay attention to the language used by regular cannabis users, you might periodically hear the expression “a heavy bag.” In cannabis lingo, a heavy bag refers to a bag of weed whose contents are slightly heavier than what the package says.
For example, we have already established that an eighth of an ounce contains 3.5 grams of weed. A heavy bag, in this case, could contain 3.6 grams, meaning that a tenth of a gram has been added after weighing out the standard eighth.
Other people measure out the required amount, such as half an ounce, and then add a pinch of cannabis to that amount to give you a heavy bag.
However, you will not find any “heavy baggies” when you buy weed at a dispensary. Those establishments are businesses and need to make a profit to stay afloat. Instead, you’ll find heavy baggies when cannabis is passed around informally (between friends, for example). The extra amount of weed is just a gesture of goodwill.
Bringing It All Together…
Educating yourself about weed measurements will go a long way towards taking the guesswork out of buying marijuana. It also helps the everyday marijuana home grower understand the value of their hard work.
While budtenders will gladly sell you weed according to the amount of money you have, it is far better to decide what quantity you want to buy and get it at the right price.
One last piece of advice. The prices suggested earlier are simply averages and will vary from one location to another, so don’t insist that the price you pay for a quarter of an ounce of weed in Oregon should be the same price you pay while in California!