The Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Measurements

With all the various slang terms and different units of measurements, trying to figure out how much cannabis you want to purchase can feel a bit like solving an algebra problem. 

If you’ve recently been to a dispensary and found yourself asking, “what’s a gram of weed,” or “how much is a zip of weed,” then you’ve come to the right place. This guide will help answer all your questions regarding weed measurements!

Imperial Units vs Metric Units

cannabis and the weight systems

Everything from distance, weight and speed to temperature is measured in units belonging to a certain system. As many of you may already know, the US uses an adaptation of the imperial system while the majority of the world uses an international system known as the metric system. 

The imperial system uses measurements such as miles, pounds, and fahrenheit while the metric system uses units of measurement such as kilometers, kilograms, and celsius. However, interestingly enough, common weed measurements are actually a combination of both the imperial system and the metric system. 

The smallest commonly used unit of measurement for weed and hemp is actually grams instead of cups or ounces. This may be due to the fact that cannabis had undergone prohibition and was not standardized or sold within institutions that use the imperial system. When cannabis began to be sold illegally in the streets in the black market, grams was the elected base measurement for the plant. This may be due to the fact that it was being bought and sold in smaller quantities in the street and saying “I want 0.0035 ounces of weed” isn’t as easy as saying “I want a gram of weed.”

Now that we have covered which system of measurement weed, cannabis and hemp uses, we can dive into the details of the commonly sold units of weed. 

Starting With the Gram

one gram of cannabis

For the average cannabis consumer, grams function as a sort of base unit of measurement. As you go through this guide, you’ll find that grams are the building blocks for most other metrics. In practical terms, a gram of weed translates to roughly 2 regular-sized joints worth of pot.

It’s not uncommon to find half grams for sale on the street; sometimes, they’re referred to as a dime bag due to their general cost of $10, sometimes they’re called a blunt as this is the typical amount of cannabis used to fill a cigarillo. However, most legal cultivators do not package their products in increments smaller than a gram. 

A gram of cannabis can look drastically different across different strains. Depending on curing methods and the particular density of the nug, a gram could be a single nug or many little nugs.

The Eighth

an eighth of weed

Another common unit of measurement you’ll find at the pot shop is an 8th. What does an eighth of weed look like? Since we said that the gram is the base unit of measurement in the cannabis world, you might think an 8th of weed is an 8th of a gram. However, this is not the case.

An 8th of cannabis is actually roughly 3.5 grams or around 7 mid-sized joints. But where does that number come from? An ounce of cannabis is made up of 28 grams of weed, and an 8th refers to an 8th of an ounce, which equates to roughly 3.5 grams. 

The eighth as a unit of measurement has existed long before legalization of cannabis and was commonly used as a unit of measurement within the black market. The same logic regarding a gram applies to an eighth - it could be one very large and dense nug that weighs 3.5 grams or a handful of less dense and smaller nugs. So the answer to “what does an eighth of weed look like” isn’t precise, it really depends on the structure of the nug itself. However, many cannabis connoisseurs claim to be able to “eyeball an eighth” which means they can roughly estimate based on looking at the nugs of weed. 

The Quarter

quarter ounce of weed

How much is a quarter of weed? Take an 8th, double it, and then you’ve got a quarter – 7 grams of cannabis or approximately 14 joints. Just like with an 8th, the term quarter is derived from the ounce. 

A quarter should not be confused with the slang term ‘QP’ which stands for quarter pound and is roughly 113 grams.

A Half of Weed

half ounce of weed

The next step up is a half or sometimes referred to as a ‘half o’, which you can probably guess by now refers to a half-ounce or 14 grams. Generally when purchasing at a dispensary a half means half ounce, however if you are bulk buying cannabis, a half could also refer to a half pound which is roughly 8 ounces or 226.7 grams.

As we start moving into larger quantities of bud, it’s worth noting that bulk buying will often be a more economical option for regular consumers of cannabis. 

An Ounce of Weed

ounce of cannabis

An ounce, also known on the street as a zip, an onion, or an o, contains a whopping 56 joints of cannabis, or 28 grams. An ounce is often also written in short form as oz, much like what can be seen on food packaging at a grocery store. 

At most dispensaries, an ounce will be the largest amount of flower you can buy in a single package. Depending on your state’s law, you could still purchase something like a pound of weed from a dispensary, but you would have to purchase multiple ounces. How many ounces are in a pound of weed? Just like with anything else, there are 16 ounces in a pound. 

For the most part, cannabis isn’t packaged between a half and an ounce, so if you wanted specifically 21 grams of weed, you’d need to buy a half and a quarter separately. 

Measuring Your Cannabis

For the most part, legal growers correctly package their product, but it can still be a good idea to weigh your weed anyway just to see exactly how much bang for your buck you’re getting. The best scale for weed is really any digital scale that can measure down to a fraction of a gram. Bear in mind that these scales will usually not be marketed explicitly for cannabis use for legal reasons and will likely be called a kitchen scale or jewelry scale instead.

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