How Much Is an Ounce of Weed?

Sophia Delphi May 13, 2022 - 7 min read
Fact Checked
Weed buds on a jar with marijuana leaves on the background

The first time you bought weed, you probably felt intimidated.

There’s a good chance you were buying from a dealer, which can make the experience even scarier. But a dealer is more likely to just sell “weed.” That takes some of the pressure off.

In a dispensary, you have to choose from a wide range of products. Even if you’re young enough to have made your first purchase at a dispensary (or you’re a patient who’s new to medical marijuana), you probably felt nervous while browsing and giving your order to the budtender.

Whether it was a dealer or a dispensary, though, you had to decide how much you wanted to buy. A quarter? An eighth? A zip? A dub? If the weights were all in normal English, you might have had more confidence. Even so, you got through it.

Today, thanks to growing legalization, more people than ever are making their first weed purchase — and they might need a little help with the language.

That’s why we’re here. Let’s start the lesson by discussing an ounce of weed.

What Is an Ounce of Weed?

An ounce will give you a stash large enough to keep you going for a while. It’s also the maximum amount of weed you can buy or possess in most legal states.

But you probably want to know more than that.

There’s good reason to focus on an ounce. Very small amounts of cannabis measurements are in grams, but most purchases that you can make at the consumer level are measured in increments of an ounce.

When you were in school, you had to learn the relationship between gallons, ounces, pints, and cups, and you probably learned about grams, too. Unless you’re a cook or baker, you may have forgotten all of those equivalents by now — and most of them aren’t important when you’re buying weed.

Here’s the one that matters: there are 28.3495 grams in an ounce. In the cannabis world, that’s rounded off to 28 grams per ounce.

Believe it or not, that’s almost all you need to know to buy weed like a pro.

If you’re buying a very small amount, you’ll probably be purchasing a gram (once called a dime bag). That’s enough to roll one or two joints or pack 2-3 bowls. You might also buy two grams, sometimes known as a dub (or dub sack).

After that, though, flower is measured by ounces. The most common purchases are an eighth of an ounce (referred to as an eighth), a quarter of an ounce (a quarter), half an ounce (a half), and a full ounce.

So that answers our original question, but we have much more to talk about.

Looking Deeper at an Ounce of Weed

What can you do with an ounce? You already know the answer.

If an ounce is 28 grams, and a gram of weed lets you roll 1-2 joints, an ounce lets you roll 28-56 joints (depending on how big you make them). And you can get as many as 80+ bowls from that ounce (again, depending on the size of your bowl).

Here’s a more practical way to look at it. If you let it be known that you’ve just purchased an ounce, you’ll have lots of friends asking if they can come over.

Now that you know all about ounces, it’s easy to figure out how much weed you’ll get — and what you can do with it — when you buy an eighth, a quarter, or a half. That’s why we said it was a good idea to discuss ounces; ounces and grams are the two keys to understanding weed weight.

There’s one other detail we have to mention: other names are sometimes used to refer to ounces. You may hear them simply called “Os,” and some OGs may call them “zips.”

Some people believe that “zip” originally referred to the Ziploc baggies that ounces were commonly packed in. The “z” in “zip” may also have been taken from the “z” is the abbreviation for ounce, which is “oz.” Oz = zip.

Yes, that overcomplicates things, but lots of weed slang is more complicated than it needs to be. Much of it originated in the days when sellers and buyers were scared about police surveillance and used code words. That’s silly when you think about it since it didn’t take much detective work for the cops to know what a zip was. But we don’t make the rules; we just report on them.

Before we move on, here’s one way to remember how much flower is in an ounce of weed. Just think of the lyrics in the old Wiz Khalifa song, “Get That Zip Off”: “28 grams in a Ziploc, it ain’t nothing to get that zip off.”

What Does an Ounce of Weed Cost?

It depends.

You’ll pay more in some states than others, often a lot more. You’ll pay different prices when you buy from a dispensary than when you buy from a dealer; in fact, you may pay more at one dispensary than you will at another down the street.

You’ll also pay more for an ounce of top-shelf flower than you will for medium-quality weed or schwag. You’ll probably pay more in the winter and spring when supply is low than in the summer and fall when there’s more cannabis being harvested.

Here are some anecdotal reports, though, which were accurate at the time of writing.

The average price in America for high-quality weed is $318 per ounce. Lower-end product averages around $256 per ounce.

As we’ve mentioned, however, there are enormous differences between states. Readers who live in the District of Columbia have the dubious distinction of paying more than anyone else. Top-shelf weed sells there for almost $600 per ounce, and a zip of medium-quality flower is only about $100 cheaper.

Thankfully, D.C.’s an outlier. The highest prices in other illegal or medical patient-only states are in the $300-$400 per ounce range.

West Coast readers are more fortunate. An ounce of high-quality weed goes for about $210 in Oregon, $232 in Washington State, and $258 in California, with the price of medium-shelf stuff about $30-$40 lower per ounce. And if you’ll settle for schwag? You’re golden.

Ounce of Weed: FAQ

Q: Do you get a better price if you buy an ounce at a time instead of buying four quarters over the course of a month?
A: Buying in “bulk” will almost always save you money. Restocking your stash with an ounce is a smarter move than buying smaller amounts — as long as you can afford the price of a zip, of course. Purchasing a quarter pound of weed saves you even more, but you can’t buy QPs legally in any state. You’d have to do that through a dealer.

Q: How much does it cost to grow an ounce of weed?
A: Buying the plants (or seeds) to grow large quantities of cannabis isn’t a huge expense; that approach will always be a lot cheaper. The big expenditure is for all of the equipment you’ll need to grow your crop properly. Initial expenses for lighting, ventilation, and other necessities will be much higher than you’d spend on an ounce of weed, but you’ll end up saving a ton of money over the long term.