Thursday July 30, 2020

Updated on 7/20/2021

By Erin Hiatt

Education

Before you can consume cannabis you’ll need to obtain it. However, getting the hang of cannabis lingo, especially for new consumers, can be confusing. Pizza, onions, elbows — what does it all mean?!

Never fear, at PotGuide, we’re here to provide you with all the tools to be a canna-consumer in the know, so let’s dig in on how much weed is included in the most common cannabis amounts.

Common Cannabis Weight Measurements

The overwhelming majority of cannabis businesses use this set of weight denominations unique to the industry.

Gram

one gram of weed
An example of one gram of weed. photo credit

Typically the smallest amount you can legally purchase (though some places may do half-grams). Often called a “dime” as they typically cost about $10. It’s arguably a bit of a blackmarket holdover, using the familiar association of a dime meaning ten to avoid overtly discussing dollar amounts. In legalized markets, the phrase dime is a fading term, as the price of a gram can vary, but it still holds a strong foothold in cannabis lingo.

Eighth

An “eighth” refers to 1/8 of an ounce of weed (about 3.5 grams). This is the most common denomination of cannabis purchased, and the first step into the imperial system. Though an eighth is a little more than three times as much cannabis as a gram, it can sometimes visually appear as less or more less depending on how the eighth is broken down and the density of the bud in question, so it’s always best to measure by weight and not sight.

Though it’s less common, eighths are also sometimes referred to as a “slice.” This term actually comes from pizza! As pizza is typically cut into 8 slices, and ounces are divided into 8, one eighth is one “slice.” 

Quarter

A quarter is, as its name suggests, is a quarter of an ounce, or seven grams. Though occasionally called a “Q,” quarters are one of the only denominations with very few alternative slang terms.

Half Ounce

a half ounce of weed
An example of a half-ounce of weed.

Weighing in at 14 grams, this is, of course, a half-ounce of cannabis. You’ll often hear this phrased as a “half-O.” It is helpful to know some of the alternative names for ounces, as the “half-“ naming system is pretty common (i.e. “half-zip”). See below for examples.

Ounce

These 28 grams equal four quarters or eight eighths. Many states use ounces to determine legal possession limits, and it is considered as the central standard “complete” unit in the world of cannabis. Though eighths are the most popular and common, in cannabis, the ounce is king.

As the central unit, the ounce has the most euphemisms of any cannabis denomination. We have an “O-Z” (pronounced “oh-zee,” from the abbreviation of ounce, oz.), an “onion” (simply because of the O), a “pie” (thanks to the pizza analogy), and finally a “zip” (shout outs to Juicy J, this one likely comes from the Z in oz. as well). 

Industrial Cannabis Weight Measurements (Quarter Pounds and More)

For individuals shopping in legalized markets, denominations almost never go above an ounce. While some states allow extremely ill medical patients licensing to purchase and possess larger amounts of cannabis, those units are typically still packaged in ounce denominations despite a larger total. However, for the cannabis industry, such as producers, manufacturers and retailers, cannabis is bought, sold, and transferred in larger quantities, which have some of their own terms as well.

Quarter Pound

A large amount of weed
Larger amounts of weed are used for the industry, rather than individual use.

This amount equals four ounces, or 113.4 grams. Also referred to as a “QP,” or occasionally, “quap.”

Half Pound

Also called a “half-pack” or “half-pounder,” this equals 226.8 grams.

Pound

About the size of a watermelon and totaling 453 grams (16 ozs.), you may also hear it referred to as a “pack” or “elbow.”  Folks, this is a lot of weed.

Ton/Tonne

While people may colloquially refer to a “ton” of weed, cannabis is almost never described in tons for actual weight, regardless of U.S. or U.K. variation. Even when talking about incredibly large quantities of cannabis (for instance, when discussing industry statistics), the default is still to speak in thousands or millions of pounds.

Metric Vs. Imperial Cannabis Weights

Part of the difficulty in understanding cannabis weight is that the industry uses two different measuring systems. As an FYI, when the amounts jump between grams and ounces, that’s because cannabis measurements start at the bottom of the scale in grams (metric), but change to the imperial system that the U.S uses as weight goes up, using ounces and pounds. 

Despite using grams as a base measurement, you’ll almost never hear of a larger amount of cannabis measured in kilos (at least in Western markets).

Though this strange system of measurement is a holdover from cannabis’ more illicit days, it has become the cultural standard within the cannabis market, and will likely continue for a long time. It’s become so omnipresent that instead of choosing one system, a large majority of the industry has instead learned to do conversions mentally.

That may sound intimidating but it’s actually quite simple once you get the gist.

Other Cannabis Amounts and Terms

Certain slang and denominations have fallen out of favor over time due to legalization, especially for smaller amounts of cannabis.

Half Gram

In general, modern dispensaries sell flower in 1 gram amounts, so you’re unlikely to see this as a listed amount. Accompanying “dime” in the pocket change nomenclature, a half-gram is sometimes called a “nickel.” This refers to a half-gram that could often be purchased for $5, another holdover from the illicit market.

It’s still possible to encounter $5 half-grams in the form of pre-rolls at some dispensaries, but the term nickel isn’t commonly attached to prerolls, and the variance in price across markets has muddied the definition of the term.

Two Grams

Also referred to as a “twenty,” “dub sack,” or more commonly, “dub.” The name is another black market term (two “dimes” makes a “twenty” or simply “double” the typical small amount). It is uncommon to see this denomination in dispensaries as a singular unit.

Lid

Cannabis fans of a slightly older generation can sometimes be heard calling an ounce a “lid,” but to many the term means “roughly an ounce,” and to some it means an amount distinctly less than an ounce, but exactly what amount is up for debate. The internet is full of explanations for the term, most of which revolve around the container that amount might come in, usually guessed to be a coffee tin.

Why Does It Matter to Know Marijuana Amounts?

When buying flower from a dispensary, an eighth is a really common weed measurement. But an eighth...of what? As a consumer, knowing how much cannabis you can legally possess is important.

For example, in Colorado, consumers are allowed to possess up to one ounce or less with no penalty. Possessing between one and two ounces is subject to a $100 fine while possessing between 2-6 ounces could result in incarceration and a $700 fine.

Person in cuffs getting arrested
Possessing too much weed at one time can lead to incarceration. photo credit

For contrast, let’s look at Texas, where everything is indeed bigger, especially their cannabis penalties. In the Lone Star State, possessing two ounces or less could bring you a misdemeanor, up to 180 days in jail, and a $2,000 fine. Possessing between 4 ounces to five pounds moves you to a felony, prison from 180 days to two years, and a fine up to $10,000.

Knowing how much cannabis you have on you – and how much you’re consuming, especially for medical cannabis patients – matters. Additionally, when it comes time to make a purchase, it helps to be familiar with what’s offered.

Changing Cannabis Terms

As new cannabis cultures are forged, and old ones evolve, the terms that we commonly refer to cannabis may change along with them. However, these core denominations seem to have persisted through the tests of time for a while now, and will probably remain as the legal cannabis industry solidifies.

Do you have any questions about common cannabis weights and denominations? We’ve got you covered in our FAQ section. If you have any more questions, let us know in the comments below!

FAQ

Is an eighth exactly 3.5 grams?

No. Though the industry treats an ounce of cannabis as if it is exactly equal to 28 grams, the more scientifically aware among us may note that an ounce actually weighs 28.34952g, and subsequently, an eighth of weed is technically 3.5436875g. Understandably, these numbers are rounded off for efficiency and convenience.

Are all eighths the same weight?

Yes. Sometimes two eighths of different strains or harvests can visually seem like different amounts of cannabis due to differences in bud density. However, dispensaries make denominations purely on weight, so while they might look different, the amount is actually the equivalent (so long as they have been weighed properly). Think of this the way that a pound of lead and a pound of feathers are of equal weight.

How many joints are in a gram?

On average, you can get two decent-sized joints out of a gram of cannabis. In fact, two half-gram joints in a single package is becoming a popular packaging sold at dispensaries. However, how many joints you get out of a gram is dependent on how big you prefer to roll your joints. One gram could wind up as three pinners or one big cone.

How much does an eighth of weed cost?

This will vary widely by market. An eighth of cannabis in Colorado costs about $15-25 on average in 2021, but was about $50-60 just a few years ago. That same eighth may cost more in Vegas and less in Portland. Prices may even vary in different parts of the same state, depending on supply and demand. 

How much does a gram of weed cost?

Same as an eighth, the cost of a gram will vary depending on where and when you buy it. However, buying in larger amounts tends to reduce the cost per gram in most cannabis markets (but not all), so the cost of one gram bought individually will usually be the most expensive price point. 

Do all pre-rolls have the same amount of weed?

Though pre-rolled joints are most commonly found in a 1-gram size, they can come in any size. As mentioned above, two half-gram joints is a common preparation, and .75g can be found in some places as well. Really, there’s no set amount of filling for a pre-roll, so be sure to look for the amount inside when purchasing.

How much weed does it take to feel high?

This answer will vary depending on a number of factors such as personal tolerance, biochemistry, and the potency of the cannabis consumed. For some people a half gram is more than enough; for others an eighth might not seem like a lot.

Does everywhere use the mixed-weight system for cannabis?

Some European cannabis cultures will stick to an all-metric measurement system. Nonetheless, in general, the mixed system is most common.


Do you have any additional questions about common cannabis weights and denominations? Ask away in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Add Weed (license)


Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work - which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor - covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin's work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let's Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedInWordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.



Related Articles