A gram, an eighth, an ounce—what does it all mean? We’ve come a long way from the “dimebag” and “twenty-sack” days, but the legal cannabis industry’s interchangeable use of the metric and imperial measurement systems gets confusing fast; who hasn’t mixed up their weed amounts at one point? Keeping track of all the names associated with different cannabis quantities sold in dispensaries, delivery services, and from a guy (wink, wink) can be challenging, and at worst, a rip off.
Central to the confusion is our conceptualization of weight versus mass, which depends on both product size and density. If you are new to cannabis, this video and written visual guide will provide you with a general framework to wrap your head around the common sale quantities for flower so you don’t get stiffed.
What do standard amounts of weed look like?
If grown well, 1 gram of cannabis flower comes out to about one medium-to-large-sized bud, or two smaller budlets. An eighth is usually made up of a handful of two to four buds, depending on stem size and how tightly the buds are packed; many operators save the biggest and prettiest nugs for their eighths. A quarter ounce will vary in volume depending on if it’s made up of smalls or hearty buds, but should easily fit in a sunglasses case.
As the quantities get larger, they get harder to predict in terms of size, but a half ounce to a full ounce of weed is enough to fill a standard resealable sandwich bag.
The curious case of the stolen bike and the missing quarter-ounce
Something to note: these depictions are only informed approximations, given that density varies (at times drastically) between plants, strains, and brands. Indica strains tend to grow as stockier plants with thicker, denser buds, whereas sativas tend to have longer, more stretched nugs. Think of it like the riddle of a pound of feathers versus a pound of gold; a dense cannabis flower from the Cookies strain family can look a lot smaller than a fluffy bud of Jack Herrer, despite both weighing the same.
Thankfully, cannabis companies and producers must determine the exact weight of your weed before it gets packaged and brought to a distributor to be sold; even if it doesn’t look like an eighth in the jar or bag, the scales don’t lie.
It’s also important to remember that the weight of cannabis buds is not purely from the smokable parts of the plant. Some of the weight will come from stems and moisture levels. Cannabis flower will lose weight as it ages and dries out, so always check the package date when buying in-store.
A gram of cannabis flower is going to look a lot different than a gram of concentrates or cartridge oil. We recommend asking your budtender for specific questions about dab and non-flower quantities.
Indica vs. sativa: understanding the differences between weed types
How to convert ounces of weed to grams
Before the regulations that came with recreational weed legalization, you probably remember buying weed in fractions, depending on your needs; some weeks might have called for an “eighth” (⅛ ounce), and others a “quarter” (¼ ounce). But at the dispensary, you’re far more likely to see buds packaged in gram amounts. For reference, here is a quick conversion guide from ounces of weed into grams.
|Imperial amount||Metric amount|
|Eighth (1/8) ounce||3.5 grams|
|Quarter (1/4) ounce||7 grams|
|Half (1/2) ounce||17 grams|
|Full (1) ounce||28 grams|
|Full pound (16 oz)||448 grams|
The price of flower depends on the quality of the product, the market (medical or adult-use), and the tax structures in the state and county in which it is sold. You can expect to pay between $10 and $20 for a gram of flower and $25 to as much as $75 for an eighth. Some companies offer bulk discounts and dispensaries often run deals to help with the sticker shock.
Express Summary: Ounces vs grams of weed
Under adult-use regulations, the most a customer can purchase from a dispensary or delivery service in a day is one full ounce of flower. Medical marijuana programs may allow more, but most people hardly ever reach their purchasing limits.
The smallest amount of cannabis flower you can buy from a licensed retailer is one gram. A gram is going to roll about two personal-sized joints or about three to four bowls in a pipe or bong, making it a great option for the occasional consumer and when trying a new strain. Next size up, and by far the most popular amount, is three and a half grams, or an eighth. That’s enough for about seven joints; seven grams (a quarter ounce) will get you about 14 joints, so 14 grams (or a half ounce) can roll nearly 30 joints. Thus, a full ounce of cannabis, which is 28 grams, can roll nearly 60 joints or pack upwards of 100 bowls.
Keep in mind that pre-rolled joints are often sold in half gram or full gram quantities. You may choose a half gram to share with a friend or a full gram for a larger group.
How Many of These DEA ‘Cannabis Slang’ Terms Do You Know?
Slang terms for weed measurements
While dispensaries across legal and medical states have standardized their measurements and made a clear system for purchasing the legally-allowed amount of cannabis, for most of history people were buying weed based on visuals and what they could afford. This is where the code words come in. Even if you never intend to use them, stoners have always innovated the language pertaining to their most prized purchase. Here are some choice slang terms for weed measurements, in ascending order:
- A “g,” a gerb, a deag: a gram
- A nickel bag: $5 worth of weed. This is typically half a gram to 1 gram, depending on your dealer’s generosity.
- A dimebag, dime, or dime sack: this is $10 worth of weed. While amounts vary by dealer, this is typically half to 1 gram.
- Twenty-bag, dub sack, or just a dub: this is $20 worth of weed. Amounts also vary, but hopefully you’re getting at least a gram to 1.5 grams.
- A sixteenth, half-eighth: this is half an eighth, which is roughly 1.75 grams.
- A slice: just as a pizza slice is one eighth of the pie, a “slice” is one eighth of an ounce.
- A half-zip: this is a half ounce, or 14 grams.
- A zip: this is an ounce of weed (28 grams), named for when they were handled in resealable plastic bags pre-legalization.
- A “qp” (pronounced as cue-pee): a quarter-pound of weed, or 4 oz.
- A pack: this is a pound of weed, named for how they’re transported in turkey bags.
How to make sure you’re getting what you paid for
Before states implemented adult use legislation that included track and trace monitoring of all cannabis and derived products, many dispensaries operated deli style, allowing patients to customize the amounts of weed they wanted based on budget within view of the scales. Now that flower must be pre-weighed and packaged before reaching the consumer, you may harbor doubts that you’re getting your money’s worth.
If you’re worried about getting jilted, we highly recommend investing in a scale. Once home, weigh out your weed and compare it to the amount listed on the packaging. If there’s a discrepancy, we encourage you to bring it back to your dispensary or contact the delivery service, with photographic evidence. Most companies have no qualms about replacing underweight product.
This post was originally published on November 18, 2014. It was most recently updated on June 14, 2022.