With such a long history, often deeply intertwined with the counter culture, it’s no surprise that marijuana has developed its own slang and unique terminology through-out the years. While there’s a thousand and one names you can call weed on its own one of the most important things to learn when it comes to cannabis jargon is how its weighed and measured out.
AIn modern times, with the rise of professional, legal dispensaries in states that allow for medicinal or recreational marijuana consumption, the use of oldskool slang has somewhat decreased; many older slang references to marijuana refer to the cash value of the amount of weed being purchased (usually kept in a zip-style bag), where most current terminology references the weight of the marijuana (or, in the case of concentrates, THC) being sold.
Still confused? Not sure if you’re looking for a dime bag or an eighth of an ounce? Or a quarter of an ounce? Or even just how many grams are in an ounce in the first place? No worries – We’re going to be going over all these and more in our handy guide to weed measurements below.
Overview of Weed Measurements
(Note: The measurements that follow typically only refer to cannabis flower, or buds. Things such as concentrates have their own measurements, which we’ll delve into later in the article.)
As mentioned above, a measured-out amount of marijuana is usually referred to in one of two terms: the cash value of the marijuana being sold, or the total weight of the marijuana being purchased. Typically marijuana is measured out by it’s weight, using the metric system, and sold by the gram; one gram of weed is likely to be the smallest amount of cannabis flower you’ll be able to purchase anywhere. Even then the precise weight can vary slightly (particularly if purchasing from… “non-licensed suppliers”), but typically you know how much you’re getting when you purchase weed by the ounce/gram.
Remembering the most common weed measurements is fairly easy, so long as you can keep in mind that 1 ounce equals 28 grams – From there remembering that an eighth is 3.5 grams and a quarter ounce is 14 grams is just a matter of some quick math. Thankfully with most modern dispensary locations your budtender should be weighing your weed out directly in front of you and on a very visible scale, meaning there should be little doubt as to exactly how many grams you’re getting in your purchase.
Referring to marijuana in the “cash value” sense is somewhat antiquated but still in use, common both in areas where cannabis is still illegal and just by those already used to the slang. These types of measurements usually only refer to a very small amount of marijuana, and weight content can vary depending on the product being bought. We’ll start with these cash-based measurements first, then move into terms for measurements based on how many grams of an ounce are being sold (the eighth, the quarter, the half ounce, the ounce, and the fabled quarter pound).
A dime bag is usually the smallest amount of weed available for purchase from any supplier, and often comes in at around one gram of cannabis. This portion is called a “dime bag” because it historically cost $10 USD for purchase – With the growing legalization of the marijuana market and access to higher-quality weed, though, prices per-gram can now go up to $15 or even $20.
A dub sack is the next step up from the dime bag, and will typically carry two grams of marijuana. The name, again, comes from its traditional price point, being $20, though in the modern market this can run anywhere from $30 to $50 depending on your location and the product being sold.
When it comes to both dime bags and dub sacks how many grams you’re actually procuring may vary, so always ask exactly what and how much you’re getting for the money you’re about to spend. Either way expect to get about one nice-sized joint per gram worth of smoking material from your purchase – Great if you’re just looking to chill with some friends for an evening or try out a new strain for the first time.
Both dubs and dimes are usually sold in the small “jeweler sized” mini-zip-top bags, as a larger bag won’t be needed for the amount of weed being sold. These bags are easily portable but also easy to lose, so make sure you keep it in a secure location.
Now marijuana measurements begin falling explicitly into the weight category, and are often references to how much of a complete ounce they are. The precise weight of these can still vary slightly – Things like stem and water weight may make a bag slightly heavier or lighter than others (alongside who’s measuring and how generous they feel) but you can expect an eighth to be 3.5 grams – 4 grams, or roughly one eighth of an ounce.
Buying in bulk from a dispensary rarely results in discounts, but if purchasing from a black-market source an eighth is where making larger purchases can start to be your friend, with the average street value of an eighth ranging about the same as a mid-range dub sack. An eighth is a great size range for casual smokers who just want something to puff on once or twice through the month; for veteran smokers expect an eighth to last a few days.
Appropriately this is one-quarter of an ounce in total, and will usually weigh in about 7 grams to 8 grams; though an eighth might still be able to be stuffed in a small jeweller zip-top bag this is where bigger containers start becoming a requirement. Again, buying larger quantities is your friend if purchasing off the street, as a lower-quality quarter will usually cost you about the same as a high-end eighth. A seasoned, regular smoker will go through a quarter ounce bag of marijuana in about a week, whereas someone a bit less consistent with their intake could likely make their 7 grams stretch the better part of a month or more.
Also referred to as a “half O” this is – you guessed it – one half-ounce of marijuana, often coming in around 14 grams (though up to 16 grams can occur depending). Purchasing a half ounce of weed is a commitment to the strain you’ve chosen so make sure it’s one you like before dropping the cash. This is also where you start having enough plant matter to make your own hash and weed concentrates with; purchasing a half ounce is no small investment so make sure you’ve done your homework on how to make hash at home (such as by reading our handy companion article!) before you ruin your weed.
The big bag, a whole 28 grams worth. Historically the largest amount a home consumer of cannabis will typically purchase, all other weed measurements (except the next one) to derive from here. In most states where marijuana is available for medical or recreational consumption one ounce is the absolute legal limit to own, with larger amounts often viewed by the law as procured with “intent to distribute.”
An ounce of weed will last even the most dedicated smokers a good long while, and can be put to good use in making extracts, edibles, tinctures and the like – For one ounce of weed expect to get about eight grams worth of concentrate. And, as with above examples, buying in bulk is good if purchasing on the black market; picking up a full ounce at a time will often come with worthwhile discounts.
The really big bag. Full stop: If you own a quarter pound of weed and are not an officially licensed farmer/distributor/etc. etc. you are absolutely likely breaking the law – A quarter pound of weed is very much not legal practically anywhere on the entire planet, and if you are caught with one it will almost certainly end with federal charges being filed.
Quarter pound bags (often called by the abbreviation “Q-P”) are what most mid-level “unlicensed marijuana salespeople” purchase to further break down and sell to consumers; QPs are also purchased by those looking to make larger quantities of hashish or other concentrates. As either a law-abiding citizen or someone who doesn’t work in the legal marijuana industry, odds are you’ll never see or even come across one of these in your lifetime.
How Are Cannabis Concentrates Measured?
Cannabis concentrates such as wax, hash, oils and other high-purity THC or CBD extracts are also weighed out in grams, same as other weed measurements. As these concentrates are designed to get a much larger dose of marijuana into your system they are further measured by amount of THC content available.
As a general rule, the higher the percentage of THC concentrate the smaller the amount that is to be sold. Waxes, shatters and the like are typically sold in quantities of 0.5 to 1 gram, while their price will fluctuate based on percentage of THC, manufacturing process, strain and so on. Hash often has a lower THC percentage than other concentrates, and is usually sold in portions of 1 gram or larger.
How Are Edibles Measured?
For edibles the THC content is usually listed in milligrams and as a total amount, not “per-serving” – This means that the amount shown is the total amount of THC available in the product you are purchasing, which can be somewhat confusing when going between different types of edibles and concentrates.
If you buy a “solid” pre-made edible, say something like a weed brownie or cookie at your local dispensary, it will likely have a label of some fashion stating how many milligrams of THC are in the entire treat. As this amount of THC is usually fairly large you’ll likely want to do some portioning yourself rather than eating the entire thing – Cutting a pre-made brownie into 1/4ths or even 1/8ths is both common and often encouraged, as this division of the treat also divides up the THC within.
If purchasing a bag of “loose” items, such as gummies or hard candies, the total amount listed on the front is already divided up among the items in the bag. Let’s say you buy a sack of THC gummies with a listed total content of “250mg of THC” and the bag has 25 total gummies inside. With a little simple math we can conclude this means there are 10 milligrams of THC per gummy snack, making dosing a bit easier and more reliable than with a larger single-piece brownie.
We hope this guide to weed measurements has given you a little more confidence when it comes to picking up a sack down at your local store (or where ever you procure your cannabis from). Happy smoking!