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How to Measure Weed with a Scale?

Sophia Delphi May 09, 2022 - 7 min read
Fact Checked
Weed Buds being weighed on a scale

Why would users need a weed scale?

Sure, dispensaries and dealers have to precisely measure their products. And if you’re buying from someone you don’t know, it makes sense to check your purchase to see whether they’ve shorted you.

But if you’re buying at a dispensary or from your regular dealer, why would you need your scale?

We can think of several reasons.

  • There’s no guarantee that your regular dealer, or even a dispensary, is measuring honestly.
  • You may want to make edibles, and correct dosages can be crucial.
  • Every legal state still limits how much cannabis you can possess; knowing exactly how much you’re carrying could prevent serious problems.

That’s why owning a scale that can measure weed is a good idea. Here’s how to buy one and how to use it.

What Type of Scale Is Needed to Accurately Measure Weed?

First things first. Forget about that old scale sitting in the corner of your bathroom. It only measures pounds, and we doubt you’re buying pounds of pot. It’s also not very accurate, which you certainly know if you’ve ever tried to weigh yourself.

Don’t go shopping for a “weed scale,” either. You’re unlikely to find one; even dispensaries and dealers don’t have scales specifically designed for the marijuana industry.

Medical-grade scales are precise and measure down to two or three decimal places. But they’re also quite expensive and not a realistic choice for most ordinary weed buyers.

All that most people need is a high-quality digital scale. They’re sold as kitchen scales or jewelers’ scales in big box stores and online, and they’re even available in many dispensaries and head shops. Digital kitchen scales can do double duty, too, if you’re the type of person who likes to cook or bake.

Choosing The Best Scale to Measure Weed

Old-school mechanical kitchen scales were, at best, difficult to use. Their accuracy was questionable, they broke easily, and many of them only measured in ounces.

Today’s digital scales are vastly superior. The good ones are accurate, they’re sturdy and reliable, they’re easy to read and they usually provide multiple types of measurements.

Some models may not fit the needs of dealers, since home scales designed for cooks may only be able to handle weights up to 1000 grams. For regular weed users, though, they’re perfect.

If you need to weigh more than that, you can find heavier-duty scales that can weigh up to 5000 grams and aren’t prohibitively expensive.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Choose a scale made by a name-brand company; that’s your best assurance of quality.
  • The displays should be easy to read, and accurate to two decimal places (that is, 0.01 grams instead of 0.1 grams).
  • The scale should be able to provide readouts in both ounces and grams.
  • The scale should have a “tare” function button — we’ll explain that shortly.

These scales come in all shapes and sizes. Some are perfect for your kitchen counter, while others are so small you can put them in your pocket and take them with you. (The smaller scales probably won’t be able to weigh more than 1000 grams, though.)

One caution: some apps let you weigh things just by placing them on top of your phone’s screen. Don’t count on them. There’s no scale inside your phone; these apps use sensors to approximate weights and they’re not particularly accurate.

Once you have your scale, you’re just about all set.

Steps In Measuring Weed Using a Scale

The only other thing you’ll need is something to put your weed on. If you put it directly onto the scale, you’ll end up trying to clean the sticky resin left on the measuring plate.

Most people use small dishes or even paper towels to hold the flower, but that may not make sense for dealers (or people with lots of friends) who have lots of buds to weigh. Those folks can find kitchen scales with built-in bowls that will accommodate up to five kilos of weed.

Let’s assume you’re using a small dish to hold your pot. Here’s all you have to do.

  1. Turn on the scale, and be sure it’s set to your choice of either ounces or grams.
  2. Put the empty dish on the scale and push the “tare” button. This “zeroes out” the weight of the dish, so the scale will only register the weight of your weed without adding in the dish’s weight.
  3. Put a flower on the dish. Read the digital display to find out how much it weighs. You’re done.

It couldn’t be easier; the toughest part of the process was simply finding the right scale.

Now that you know the weight of your weed — what does it mean?

Weed Measurements

It can be difficult for casual users to get the lingo straight. Grams, ounces, eighths, quarters — what do they all mean?

It’s simple.

A gram is the basic metric measurement of weight that you learned in school. (Remember, there are 435 grams in a pound?) An ounce is much heavier; there are 28.35 grams in an ounce, although most people usually round it to 28 grams for simplicity. A gram of weed is enough for one or two joints; an ounce should let you roll about 40-50 of them. [1]

The other terms are all portions of an ounce. There are about 3.5 grams in an eighth of an ounce (or an eighth), about seven grams in a quarter, and around 14 grams in a half.

Your dealer or dispensary may measure cannabis in either grams or ounces, but once you understand the equivalents, you won’t be stuck trying to figure out exactly how much is in the baggie (or Mylar bag).

If you’re buying from an old-school dealer, they may still sell “dime bags.” That used to mean ten bucks worth of weed, but the bag is now more likely to contain a gram. Similarly, a “dub” of weed used to be double the amount in a dime bag, but if you ever hear the term, it usually means two grams.

Offered a “zip” of weed? That simply means an ounce. (They called it a “lid” in the good old days.) And if you have the budget to buy in bulk, a QP of weed is a quarter-pound or four ounces.

When you’re buying large amounts like a QP, you could be paying more than $1000 for it. Spending that kind of money more than justifies a small investment in a high-quality scale, which will let you make sure that you’re not getting ripped off.

Measuring Weed with a Scale: FAQ

Q: Can’t you use a ruler and a penny to weigh weed?
A: Sure, if you don’t care about accuracy. You balance the ruler on a pencil and use it sort of like a see-saw. Put a penny on one end of the ruler, which will tip your “scale” to one side. Now start putting weed on the other end until the “scale” balances evenly. A penny weighs about 2.5 grams, so the “scale” will balance even when you’ve got about 2.5 grams of flower. If you consider that a reliable measurement — good luck to you.

Q: You mentioned medical-grade scales. Are they worth buying?
A: They’ll do a fabulous job of measuring your weed, but quite honestly, they’re overkill. You’ll have to spend at least 100 bucks (sometimes much more) for most of them, and they don’t do anything that a cheaper kitchen scale can’t do for ordinary cannabis consumers.