Can you tell right away what $20, $50, or $100 worth of weed looks like?
Do you walk into your local dispensary like a boss or are you embarrassed every time the budtender asks if you want a quarter or an eight because you have no clue what they’re talking about?
Being able to tell the difference between specific marijuana measurement units will save you both time and the above potential embarrassment. However, there’s a long way to come from being a total newbie to counting your stash by the moment your eye meets the bag.
Many people who are visiting dispensaries for high-quality weed often find the marijuana metric system overwhelming — that’s because weed measurements are anything but clear.
But somehow, this mess has prevailed and customers still need to maneuver in this system, so here we are — bringing explanations at your plate.
This guide will help you make sense of the various weed measurement units you’ll come across when buying cannabis in your dispensary. That way, you won’t have to make begging eyes every time you get asked about an eight, quarter, our ounce.
We’ll also explain the cannabis jargon used among the community, break down some local weed prices, and help you convert your units when weighing cannabis concentrates.
Off we go!
Trying to Understand the Marijuana Metric System
The majority of Americans usually measure things with the United States’ Customary Units, unlike most countries across the world.
One of the most frustrating things about buying cannabis in Canada is that people use a combination of international metrics and American units to describe how much cannabis they use on a daily basis.
You know, occasional users will probably tell you they smoke something like half gram per session with their friends. But, someone who buys weed in bulk will use ounces to describe how much they’ve just ordered.
The gram is the basic measurement of mass from the International System of Units. Its weight is similar to the one of a cubic centimeter of water. A gram is also defined as one-thousandth of a kilogram, which is the base unit of the international metric system.
The general weed jargon is confusing because it uses a mix of two different measurement systems. It’s like watching a movie that’s simultaneously played in two languages — you end up having no idea what the whole thing is actually about.
Worse yet, even when you understand the basic weed measurement units, you’ll still have plenty of slang terms to learn because cannabis users love to invent new words to give names to things they already know.
In the next section, we’ll focus on converting grams to ounces and introduce you to the weed slang.
Weed Jargon for Measuring Cannabis
There’s a lot of fancy words people use to describe different weed units. When asking a budtender for your favorite strain, they will probably refer to the herb by the following names:
- Full O
Here’s what each term means.
Dime & Dub
A dime bag or a dub sack of weed refers to $10- or $20- worth of cannabis. The amount of weed you’ll get for this price will vary significantly depending on where you’re buying your pot.
Eighth, Quarter & Half
These three terms are slang for portions of an ounce of weed. Here’s how eighth, quarter, and half convert to grams:
- An eighth: 3.5 grams
- A quarter: 7 grams
- A half = 14 grams
Ounce, Full O & Z
Ounce is an official measurement unit, but “Full O” and “Z” certainly aren’t. As you may guess, a full O refers to a full ounce (which equals 28 grams) of weed. The same goes for a Z. An ounce is also the legal limit for possession in Canada and most US states where cannabis is legal.
While “Full O” is a self-explanatory term, you might be wondering why on earth would anyone refer to an ounce as “Z”.
Well, there are two possible explanations.
Some people argue that the “Z” term means the “z” at the end of the ounce’s acronym — oz.
Others believe that “Z” refers to a Ziploc baggie in which weed was sold back in the days of prohibition.
Now that we’ve made it through the basic slang terms in the marijuana metric system, let’s shed some light at what each unit looks like.
What Does a Gram of Weed Look Like?
A gram is the perfect amount for packing a few generous bowls or several medium-sized joints. Most prerolls sold in dispensaries are rolled with one gram of pure weed, which looks similar to a few small to medium-sized buds. Indica strains tend to be bulkier while sativa flowers have a more loose structure, so keep that in mind when judging your nugs by their volume.
The standard price for a gram of marijuana where weed is legal ranges between $8–$12 depending on the quality of the strain. However, some places sell a gram of weed for as much as $18, mostly because marijuana may be difficult to find there.
How Many Grams Are In an Eighth of Weed?
An eighth of weed means ⅛ ounce of marijuana, which is equivalent to 3.5 grams of dry flowers.
When buying an eighth, you’ll probably receive several medium-sized buds that will fill a sandwich-sized Ziploc bag to the height of your index finger. An eighth will typically last you a good couple of weeks, especially if you’re not a regular consumer.
An eighth of weed is typically worth between $30–$70 depending on the quality of marijuana sold at your dispensary. Most dispensaries will sell you an eighth for around $40.
How Many Grams Are In a Quarter of Weed?
A quarter of weed is double the size of an eighth — it usually weighs 7 grams. This volume is enough to fill a tall prescription bottle, depending on whether you’re buying an indica or sativa. You can fill a Ziploc bag to about two fingers high worth of weed with a quarter.
Such amounts of marijuana call for a higher budget, so be prepared to spend anywhere between $50–$100 for a quarter of decent-quality weed. This, of course, depends on the selected strain as well as overall prices in your dispensary.
How Many Grams Are In an Ounce of Weed?
An ounce of weed is the legal limit for purchasing cannabis in most places. This volume is equal to 28 grams of weed. If your stash lands in a sandwich-sized Ziploc bag, it will typically fill it to four fingers across.
Sometimes, the size of an ounce may be confusing, but then again, the size depends on the type of your cannabis. As we said, indica buds will be smaller and bushier — making you think there’s less weed in your bag — whereas sativa flowers will be fluffier and make an impression of a larger quantity.
The prices for an ounce of weed are much different in the legal industry and the black market. In legal countries, you may spend anywhere between $100–$350 for an ounce of weed. Comparatively, the same amount on the illicit market can run you around $600.
Converting Weed Measurement Units for Concentrates
Have you ever wondered how much wax can you produce from a full ounce of weeds?
Well, if you have 28 grams of marijuana, you can produce about two to six grams of dabs.
When it comes to concentrates, prices per gram are much higher, ranging from $20 to $100.
An ounce of weed will also be enough to produce up to 4 grams of Rick Simpson’s Oil (RSO), the famous concentrated tincture that saved thousands of medical marijuana patients from terminal cancer.
If you want something stronger than flowers but less potent than concentrates, you may want to use your ounce of weed to make about two sticks of cannabutter.
When operating on smaller units, such as an eighth of an ounce, you can make about 30-34 doses of cannabis tincture, which keeps most users supplied for one month and typically costs around $20 in a dispensary.
What Is the Best Scale for Weed?
Nothing can beat the accuracy of a decent weed scale. Unless you’re a savvy consumer who can tell what 1 gram of weed looks like by simply looking at it, a weed scale is an absolute must.
Here’s what you should consider before buying a weed scale:
- The capacity of your weed scale should be at least 200 grams. If you buy cannabis in bulk, you can get yourself a scale with a larger capacity, say, 1 kg.
- The scale should be accurate to within 0.1 grams.
- It’s all the better if a scale comes with a wall plug. This helps you weigh weed regularly and reduce waste.
- If you don’t know whether to buy a weed scale locally or online, go for the latter. Online shops usually have lower prices than in-store vendors.
Usually, a decent weed scale shouldn’t cost you more than $10. While you might be tempted to get yourself a top-shelf model, remember it’s just a scale. As long as it does its job, it’s a good piece.
How to Weigh Weed Without a Scale
A weed scale can help you big time for a small expense, but if you don’t have a scale anywhere nearby, you can use one of the alternative methods of weighing weed.
While none of these methods can substitute a good weed scale, they may help you a lot with weighing your greens in every situation.
The Weed Scale App
Smartphones are smart for a good reason. If you need a weed scale, you can download a “Weed Scale” app or something similar that will be compatible with your device. Android phones even have their own dedicated weed weighing app called “Weed Weight.”
The Plastic Hanger
This method requires you to gather a plastic hanger, a drill, a long piece of string, and scissors — a ruler will be a good substitute if scissors are out of your reach. Remember our oz-to-gram conversion tips?
Great, now it’s time to use your newly acquired knowledge. Grab a nickel — it weighs five grams — to create a counterweight for your weed.
Now, follow these steps to gauge how many grams are in an ounce of weed with the plastic hanger method:
- Use your scissors to cut off the top of the plastic hanger, and poke a hole in the middle of it.
- Make another hole on the left and right, and check if they are equally distanced from the central point. You can use a ruler for that job.
- Take your string, cut two equal pieces of the material, and place one on each brink of the hanger.
- Cut an extra piece of string and run it through the middle, then tie everything together. You will use this string to hold a nickel.
- Attach the two pieces to the side, hang the whole thing up, and start weighing your weed. If it outweighs the nickel, it means you’ve got more than 5 grams.
The Ruler & Penny
This is a simple method that uses a ruler and a 1982 penny. The ruler serves as a scale.
All you need to do is place your weed on one side, and the penny on the other. The penny weighs exactly 2.5 grams, so if the ruler is perfectly balanced, that’s how much weed you’ve got.
A Final Word on Weed Measurements
The marijuana metric system is messed up — there’s no doubt about that.
However, being a conscious consumer requires you to learn the ins and outs of this system if you always want to make well-informed purchases. The number of benefits that come with that knowledge outweighs the potential roadblocks, so your patience will pay off in the future.
You should always have a general idea of how much weed you actually bought — not just for the sake of your budget, but to make sure you’re not exceeding the legal possession limit.
We hope this guide has helped you become better at the green math!