How Weed is Measured: A guide to quantities and labels
Cannabis has come a long way since it was made illegal in the 1930s, with new methods of growing, cultivating, and manufacturing sprouting up over the years.
There is one thing about cannabis that has changed very little over the years, however, and that is weed measurements.
While the different names for different weed measurements may have been upgraded since the 20th century, the actual amounts and measurements of weed sold in dispensaries today are very similar to those once found on the prohibition-laden streets of America. But what are the most common weed measurements and what are the terms to know before you go asking your local budtender for “hella weed”?
Let’s start with how weed is measured before we jump into all the different names.
Fun fact; measurements of cannabis start low in grams from the metric system, but move into ounces from the US or imperial system as weight increases. Confusing, right? Just how we like it here in the states!
Basic Weed Measurements
The lowest amount you can purchase (although most dispensaries don’t go this low anymore) is what is commonly called a “dime bag”. A dime bag almost always equals a half of a gram and costs on average $10, hence the “dime” in the name. However nowadays most dispensaries will sell one whole gram for around $10, reaching up to $20 for top shelf cannabis.
So, a gram is the most common small amount of cannabis that you can purchase at most places in a variety of ways, whether in flower form or pre-rolled joints. Simple enough, right? Well, this is where weed measurements can get confusing.
From a gram or two, we jump up to an eighth, or one-eighth of an ounce. This comes out to roughly 3.5 grams, and prices range from $15 on the low end to $60 for top shelf quality cannabis. Most people who don’t want to run to the dispensary every day for a gram will pick up an eighth at a time to last them through the week. For those that want more, we move up to a quarter in the weed measurements scale.
Commonly known as a “Q”, a quarter is self-explanatory. It equals a quarter of an ounce or seven grams. Prices vary on quarters anywhere from $20 for very low-end shake up to around $90 for the highest quality bud. When you want a larger quantity that will last a while longer than a quarter, you can purchase a half ounce or an ounce.
Twenty-eight grams make up one ounce, so fourteen makes up a half. Most people won’t go above this range as 28 grams is plenty to last one person quite some time, ranging between $80 for low end product to over $200, though some places may charge more for their top shelf ounces. Common names for an ounce are “O” or “zip”, which comes from the old days when an ounce would usually take up a whole zip-lock bag. Luckily in recreational places like Denver, just asking for an ounce is perfectly acceptable.
There is always more that can be purchased, although the most one can buy in Colorado is an ounce per visit. This isn’t to say you can’t just go to three different dispensaries and pick up three separate ounces, but a single person won’t need much more.
Quantity vs Quality
So, we’ve covered the amounts and names for the most common cannabis purchases, but what about how weed measurements regarding actual THC content? There is a plethora of different chemicals that make up the cannabis plant, but THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main psychoactive ingredient that gives users the euphoric and relaxed feeling that is commonly associated with cannabis.
The measurement of THC content in any given cannabis plant is taken as a percentage that the compound makes up of the plant’s flower compared to the other lesser known compounds. Average THC content in Colorado varies between 15% and 30%, with more potent strains being created every year.
When it comes to concentrated forms of cannabis like wax, shatter, hash and edibles, the weed measurements switch from a percentage to milligrams. A gram of concentrate such as shatter may be 80% THC, but it is labelled as 80mg of THC per dose. Similarly, edibles are given a THC per mg dose, with the average dose for edibles begin 10mg. Suffice to say, concentrates are much stronger and work much faster than an edible, but the effects of an edible can last much longer.
Now you’re ready to stomp into the dispensary and ask for whatever amount you want to match your desired price point, whether its flower or concentrates.
|Street Measurement||Metric Equivalent||About the size of a/an…|
|1/8 ounce||3.5 grams||Kiwi|
|¼ ounce||7 grams||Apple|
|½ ounce||14 grams||Grapefruit|
|1 ounce||28 grams||Coconut|
|1 pound||16 ounces or 448 grams||Watermelon|