Some questions can have two meanings.
If someone asked the simple question “How long is the bridge?” they’d probably want to know the length of the bridge, in feet or miles.
But for someone else who wanted to know whether it would be faster to take the bridge or the tunnel to work, the correct answer might be “15 minutes for the bridge, 10 minutes for the tunnel.”
That brings us to weed.
Someone asking “How much is an eighth of weed?” could be wondering how many flowers will be in the package they’ll be getting from a dispensary or dealer — or they could be wondering how much they’d have to pay for an eighth.
So there are two possible questions on the table. Let’s answer both.
Measurements for Weed
Let’s start here: cannabis is measured by weight, not volume. When you think about it, weight is the only fair way to measure it.
Large amounts of marijuana may be compressed for shipping to dealers. That’s where the term “brick weed” came from; the bud was smashed together in the shape of a brick, making it easier to smuggle from Mexico to the U.S.
Dry weed can also be “fluffed” with water, steam, or humidity packs to make it “bigger.”
So measuring the flower’s volume — length x width x height — wouldn’t be a fair way to assess how much flower is in a package.
That leaves weight.
It would probably be easier if the U.S. marijuana industry had matured with a standard, rigorous method of describing the weight of marijuana. When you buy meat, you buy it by the pound or fraction of a pound. When you buy milk, it’s sold by the gallon or fraction of a gallon.
The weed business is in a different category, though, because much of its terminology originated on the street when there was no such thing as legal cannabis.
So we’ve ended up with a hodgepodge of grams, ounces, and terms like “a zip” and “an eighth.”
How do you figure it all out?
The Retail Weights of Marijuana
The part that’s simple to understand is ounces and pounds.
The large amounts of marijuana that are shipped to major players in the cannabis industry, or some dealers, are measured in pounds.
The retail value of a pound is in the thousands of dollars, so ordinary consumers don’t buy their flower by the pound — and no “legal” state allows you to buy that much at one time, anyway. Only street dealers can sell pounds. The same is true for half-pounds, and it’s also true in most states for quarter-pounds (usually simply called QPs).
There are sixteen ounces in a pound, though, and an ounce of weed is one of the most common retail purchases. If a dispensary uses the metric system, an ounce equals 28.35 grams; it’s usually rounded to 28 grams to make things easier.
The next steps down are also simple to understand. A flower is also sold in:
- half-ounces (about 14 grams)
- quarter-ounces (about 7 grams)
- and eighths of an ounce (about 3.5 grams)
which are most often referred to as halves, quarters (not to be confused with a QP), and eighths, respectively.
So that answers the first possible meaning of our original question. An eighth of weed is one-eighth of an ounce, or 3.54688 grams if you want to be exact.
If you want less than an eighth, that’s where the confusion comes in.
Smaller amounts are measured in grams, not ounces. You can ordinarily purchase either one or two grams of weed; you usually won’t find anyone selling three grams, since that’s almost the same amount as an eighth. Each gram is enough to roll one large joint (or two small ones).
That all makes sense — sort of. But there’s still a loose end to tie up before we move on to the question of price.
Slangs and Other Weed Measurement Units
Earlier, we mentioned an eighth and a “zip” of weed. You now know what an eighth is. But what’s a zip?
You already know how much weed is in a zip, because it’s just a slang term for an ounce. The origin of the word isn’t known, but it’s mostly likely derived from the “z” in the abbreviation for ounce (“oz”) or from the Ziploc bags that dealers used to package an ounce. Ounces are also commonly called “O’s.”
To be complete, there are a couple of other slang terms you should know if you venture out into the weed-buying world.
“Dime bag” and “nickel bag” aren’t used often at dispensaries, but you may hear the term when patronizing a dealer. Originally, a dime bag sold for $10 (hence, its name) and contained a gram of weed. You can probably guess that a nickel bag sold for $5 and contained half a gram.
In most locations, however, a gram now costs more than $10, and half a gram is such a small amount of weed that no one bothers selling it anymore. Today, a “dime” will usually mean a full gram priced at more than ten dollars, or less than a gram priced for ten bucks.
How Much Money Will an Eighth of Weed Cost You?
It depends. Truthfully, it depends on so many factors that we can’t list all of them.
The price you have to pay could even depend on whether a dispensary is desperate to make its budget or quotas for the month (and changes its normal prices to do it), or whether a dealer doesn’t have enough weed for his regular customers (and charges over-market prices to conserve his supply).
Generally speaking, though, here’s what’s likely to affect the cost of an eighth.
- The quality of the flower.
- The current market conditions (that is, whether the supply is high or low).
- What state or community you’re in (prices can vary widely in different parts of a state), and whether you’re in a legal or illegal state.
- How much competition there is in the area.
- Whether you’re buying at a dispensary (which will have to pay taxes and other legitimate expenses) or from a dealer (yes, there are still dealers in legal states).
How much does the price of an eighth vary?
Right now you might pay anywhere from $30 to $75 for an eighth, with the exact price depending on all of the factors we’ve mentioned. Naturally, $30 would be for low-to-medium quality flowers, and $75 would be for top-shelf stuff.
Want to save money? Try buying a quarter, a half, or an ounce; “bulk discounts” always apply, even when you’re buying weed.
How Much Is an Eighth of Weed: FAQ
Q: I get that an eighth means an eighth of an ounce, but how much does that mean in real-world terms?
A: You should be able to roll somewhere between four and eight joints with an eighth, and pack somewhere between 7-10 bowls with it, depending on how large you like your joints or how big your pipe is.
Q: If I go overseas, will I have to learn all of the metric terms used to measure weed?
A: Probably, unless you visit a weed shop that does a lot of business with American tourists. But the metric system is simple to learn. Count with us: one gram, ten grams, 100 grams, a kilogram (1000 grams). One ounce is 28 grams, two ounces is 56 grams, a quarter is 70 grams, and a pound is 453 grams. And metric measurements can be handy to know even in America; the content of weed products like edibles and tinctures is measured in milligrams.