Whether you’re a budding cannabis enthusiast or you just applied for your first medical marijuana card, the concept of cannabis amounts, weights, and prices can be confusing. Between the varying slang used to order depending on where you are in the world and terms like “five-gram eighths” on menus, you might find yourself at a loss for words when walking into a dispensary for the first time.
A strange thing about the process of weighing cannabis is that it begins with the metric system — measuring by the gram — and then switches to the avoirdupois system (ounces and pounds). However, most countries (including in the United States) cap the amount a consumer can purchase at a time at one ounce of weed, so let’s focus on the different amounts you can purchase for personal use, leaving the pounds and quarter pounds for wholesalers and distributors.
A gram is the smallest amount of cannabis flower someone can purchase at one time. It’s just enough for a nice, healthy joint — usually about the size of one average nug. You can also roll two half-gram joints, which will be skinnier and ideal for those solo smoke sessions. Likewise, it’s enough for about 2-3 regular-sized bowls. A gram of cannabis or “dime bag” as it was once known can range between $10-$20, depending on where you are and the quality of the cannabis.
An 1/8th of cannabis, a.k.a. an eighth of an ounce, is the amount of flower most often purchased by consumers. Weighing in at 3.5 grams of weed, it’s about a handful of good-sized nugs. You can get anywhere between 3-6 joints out of an eighth, depending on how fat you prefer your joints to be.
The average price of an eighth costs anywhere between $20-$65, depending on whether your cannabis is top shelf or not. Most cannabis consumers buy an eighth (or larger quantities) to be more cost-effective. Typically, the more you spend in a dispensary or with a delivery service, the easier it is to save money and get more bang for your buck.
The next step up from an eighth is a quarter of an ounce of marijuana, which is seven grams of cannabis. It’s also known as a “quad” or simply a “quarter” for short. It’s enough cannabis for quite a few joints, or 5-7 sizeable blunts. A quarter can vary depending on location and quality, but expect to pay $60-$85. If you go through cannabis somewhat quickly or are planning for a party or event, a quarter is a great amount to purchase at a time.
A half-ounce of cannabis, otherwise known as a “half” or “half-O,” weighs in at 14 grams. A half-ounce is perfect for rolling anywhere between 7-14 blunts, and up to 28 joints depending on your preference. This amount of cannabis costs anywhere between $100-$160. Many dispensaries and/or delivery services offer quite reasonable deals when you’re purchasing at this amount or greater.
Finally, a full ounce of cannabis is the largest quantity you can purchase at a time in most legal states. At 28 grams, it’s enough to roll a host of blunts and/or joints, or to just enjoy over time. An ounce can cost anywhere between $160-$350 — varying greatly depending on the quality and age of the weed, and the fact that you may be able to find a great deal when purchasing in large amounts.
First Time In A Dispensary: What To Expect
Understanding the different terminologies for cannabis amounts or weights is a great starting point for your budding weed enthusiasm, but it can still feel daunting to pull up to a dispensary for the first time with no idea what to expect on the other side of that blacked-out door.
While dispensaries in legal recreational states are becoming a lot more open and friendly to the public than they’ve been in the past, that isn’t the case everywhere you go. If you find yourself in a state where the dispensaries are still operating on an incredibly “low-key” basis, it can be intimidating to approach. Here are a few things to prepare for when entering a dispensary for the first time:
- Bring your ID and medical card (if applicable). If the state you are in offers legal recreational cannabis, you won’t need a medical card to enter — but it could save you money on taxes. However, states that only allow medical cannabis will not let you in the dispensary without one. It’s also important to make sure you have your ID or driver’s license — without a valid ID, you will not be allowed inside.
- Most dispensaries limit the amount of people who may enter. For security and safety reasons, most dispensaries limit the amount of people who can be on the product floor at a time. You may be asked to hang out in the waiting room until the customers before you have bought their product and left.
- Many dispensaries and/or delivery services have great deals if you watch closely. Whether it’s a certain low-deal day out of the week or the luck of being inside a dispensary at 4:20 p.m., there are usually quite a few deals to look out for when shopping for cannabis. Another way to shop for cannabis in a financially-conscious sense is to ask your budtender if they have any “shake.” Shake is the small pieces of cannabis that fall off the plant when it is being harvested. Since people usually pay for the quality of dank nugs, shake is seen as inferior and is usually priced incredibly low. But for someone who is on a budget or planning to make edibles, this can be a great option.
- Know your limit. Depending on local regulations, the amount of cannabis you’re allowed to purchase at one time can vary. Make sure to know your state’s limit so you’re prepared when your budtender has to cut you off.