As cannabis becomes legal in more states and countries each year, the number of people looking to try it is also growing. However, the weights and measurements that weed are sold in can be extremely confusing.
The Imperial system (miles, inches, feet, yards, ounces, pounds, gallons) is only used by three countries globally and lucky for you, the United States is one of them. All other countries have converted to the Metric system (kilometers, centimeters, grams, liters, etc.) because in a lot of ways it’s much simpler to convert between units.
Since cannabis is a global herb you thus get a whole mix bag of measurement units depending on where you are and what you are ordering.
On top of the metric vs. imperial differences there is also a whole book of old-school slang that was used to describe quantities on the low-down to avoid raising the ire of law enforcement (pre-legalization).
Keep reading to understand the common conversions, common retail measurement units, and old-school slang so that you can confidently walk into a dispensary or talk to a supplier in any country, from any generation, with ease.
Cannabis Measurements: Why It’s Confusing
Dispensaries can be intimidating, all the varieties, strains, terpenes, extracts, equipment; there is a LOT to take in and knowing how much weed to order is one of the biggest mysteries that you need to solve.
The fundamental cause for most confusion is the fact that weed is weighed out in grams but is often measured (verbally) in ounces.
Cannabis is weighed in grams (metric). But, commonly, it is referred to in ounces (imperial)
Meaning, you’ll ask for ‘an eighth’ (of an ounce) and be handed 3.5 grams.
To add to the fun, not all distributors or shops do conversions, so you should know what you’re asking for going in. Below are some of the most commonly used measurements to help you get off on the right foot.
Ounces vs. Grams: Know the Difference
The exact conversion is 1 ounce = 28.34 grams.
Take note: distributors and shops round down to 28 grams.
But what does that mean? Try this:
- 1 gram = about 2 joints
- 1 ounce = (much trickier to determine because there is no standard joint size), but consensus has 1 ounce equalling between 40 – 60 joints or even up to 84 joints!
That’s a huge difference, and for the sake of your bank account – you want to get this order correct.
Also, you can refer to ounces as “O” or a “zip.” Fun, right?
Common Cannabis Measurement Terms
In addition to the two measuring systems and the math degree you now deserve, many slang terms refer to different weights and measures of cannabis. If you’re new to purchasing weed, these are some terms you’ll likely hear:
- 1 gram
- Approx 2 joints
- The smallest amount of cannabis that you can purchase
- This is a bit of an old-fashioned term
- 2 grams
- Approx 5 joints
- Used to refer to a bag of weed that costs $20
- This is the most popular order amount and usually the better deal financially
- ⅛ of an ounce
- Equals 3.5 grams
- Approx 7 joints
- Also referred to as a cut, an eify, a slice, or half a quarter
- Equals 7 grams
- Approx 14 joints
- Also referred to as a quad
- Equals 14 grams
- Approx 28 joints
- Also referred to as a half-O or a half-zip
- Equals 28 grams
- Also referred to as a zip, a lid, or O-zone
*Note: even if marijuana is legal in your state, it likely only applies to up to one ounce per person.
It is up to you to know your state’s laws.
- This is a quarter pound
- Equals 4 ounces
- 113 grams
- Also referred to as a half-pounder
- Nearly 227 grams
- Equals 8 ounces
- This is a huge amount. Check your state laws for legality.
- 453 grams
- 16 ounces
What Are You Paying For By Weight?
Now that you know how much weed you’re getting when you order a ‘dub’ or a ‘cut,’ it’s important to know what can affect the weight of the weed in your little baggie.
There is an exact amount of moisture that should be in your purchased cannabis (about 10-12%), which can affect the bud’s weight.
Anything more than that can lead to bacteria growth. Less than that can mean the bud is past its shelf life.
Water obviously is heavy, so fresher danker buds may way more than buds that are a bit older or have degraded.
Top tip: if you’re looking for strong flower on the cheap ask your budtender if they have any shake or jars almost empty. Most dispensaries offer significant discounts for the shake, or loose flower material in the jar after it is emptied.
The nice thing about the shake is you can get massive savings even when that shake is from a high-priced premium strain and because the shake is usually on the drier side you’re usually just paying for plant material (low moisture content).
There are so many different varieties of cannabis that you could spend much of your life testing dime bags of new strains. Some strains of bud are denser, while some are leafier. All of this affects the weight of your weed.
Trichome heavy strains that are more tightly packed are some of the heaviest buds as trichomes themselves are pure liquid (no air) and add to weight but also add to overall quality of the smoke.
There are two main ingredients in cannabis: tetrahydrocannabinol (known as THC) and cannabidiol (known as CBD).
THC is responsible for producing the ‘high’ feeling associated with cannabis and needs to be heated to activate (burning, steaming, etc.).
CBD is the factor that regulates your body’s reaction to cannabis and can bring many and significant health benefits such as:
- pain relief
- lessening of symptoms caused by cancer and cancer treatments
- has been linked to a reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression
- It can even help with acne
Governments employ quality controls to determine, measure, and regulate THC and CBD’s amount in available cannabis.
If you want to check the THC content of your cannabis product or want to do more intense analysis there also a variety of DIY test kits and analysis equipment you can buy to better understand what you’re about to consume.
Prices Vary Greatly From Country to Country
As we mentioned earlier, most countries worldwide use the metric system of measurement, except for the United States.
Another significant difference in the cost, strain, and availability of cannabis is your location. Your location determines the amount of tax applied, the strains that can be grown or acquired, and the overall quality.
Price per gram varies widely between states, and ‘an eighth’ can cost anywhere from $23 to $63, depending on where you are.
Similarly, a gram can vary in price around the world from $5 in Pakistan to $7 in Canada to $13 in Germany. Check out the Cannabis Price Index for more information.
*A lot of the country price variation depends on how much cannabis is taxed (if at all) as well as the supply/demand ratios in local markets.
Herb CEO Final Thoughts
Being fluent in both the Imperial and the Metric system to weigh your weed properly can feel like a lot, but it’s worth it. You don’t want to order a new strain to try and end up with enough for your whole neighborhood.
The more you know about the weight conversion between the two systems, the more you can ensure you’re getting what you want and what you’ve paid for. If you need practice (and want to ensure you’re getting what you paid for) you could consider investing in a simple digital scale to measure your flower out with. This will allow you to more quickly understand the appearance (volume) of the weights often prescribed at dispensaries.
Also, don’t sweat it if you forget. Budtenders and dispensary lizards are generally cool people and being honest and just asking for a breakdown on the price and quantity shouldn’t be a big deal, people will happily help you out.
After a half dozen purchases you’ll have your measurements down solid and will sound like a pro whenever you order, regardless of whether it is in imperial, metric, or Woodstock language.