The short answer is 28 grams. The long answer has to do with what that means for your budget and lifestyle. How you determine the right amount of weed to purchase at any given time rests on knowing what quantities are readily available.
Weed measurements are fairly standardized and offer some guardrails in an otherwise chaotic retail landscape. So while no two dispensaries look alike, most are able to accommodate both the single joint shopper and frequent user looking for a full ounce.
Breakdown of weed measurements
We've already established there are 28 grams in an ounce of weed (rounded down from 28.3, mind you), but let's put that number into context by taking a broader look at how weed is measured.
Distributors may measure large quantities of weed in pounds or kilos for retail purposes. But on the consumer side, cannabis is sold in smaller units — grams and ounces. A cannabis brand or retailer may break up a pound of weed into 16 ounces, 32 half-ounces, 129 eighths, or 453 one-gram pre-rolled joints.
The gram — sometimes colloquially referred to as a “dime bag” — is the smallest unit of measurement for weed. In terms of size, a single gram of weed will pack two to three average-size bowls. That said, the spectrum of flower shape, size, and density is far too wide for anyone to accurately determine a gram of weed just by looking at it. To accurately weigh weed by the gram, use a scale. Or better yet, ditch that kitchen scale altogether and shop from a licensed dispensary.
Depending on the setup of the dispensary, you may be able to buy a single gram of your favorite strain, but the most popular weight by far is an eighth, or 3.5 grams. An eighth is simply shorthand for an eighth of an ounce of weed. It can provide you with three full-gram joints and one half-gram joint or seven smaller, half-gram joints. With an eighth of weed, you'll be able to roll two to three blunts or a handful of spliffs. You can make a potent batch of cannabutter or pack at least half a dozen bowls. For the average smoker, an eighth of an ounce of weed is the Goldilocks amount.
Technically, the number of grams in an ounce of weed is 28.3495 because Americans have yet to enter the modern era and fully embrace the metric system. For the sake of simplicity, and our collective sanity, that long string of numbers gets rounded down to an even 28.
With 28 grams, an ounce of weed will last you a month if you smoke one large joint a day or potentially several months if you smoke a few bowls a week. Cannabis consumers who know which strains or brands they like are poised to save money by purchasing an ounce of weed at a time. Depending on the cannabis laws in your state, one ounce may be the maximum amount you can purchase at a time. In any case, new consumers would be wise to experiment with smaller amounts first, since cannabis flower does have an expiration date.
Here's a quick recap of the different quantities of weed:
- 1 eighth = ⅛ ounce = 3.5 grams
- 1 quarter = ¼ ounce = 7 grams
- 1 half = ½ ounce = 14 grams
- 1 ounce = 28 grams
- 1 pound = 16 ounces = 453 grams
How to buy the right amount of weed for you
Buying weed doesn't have to be intimidating and you certainly don't need to be a math whiz to calculate the right amount for your needs. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to be a newbie to purchase smaller amounts. Cannabis consumers both new and experienced may buy cannabis in smaller quantities for a variety of reasons. For example, a gram of weed and single, one-gram pre-rolls are great if you want to sample a cannabis strain you've never tried before without committing to a larger quantity. Or perhaps you want to smoke different strains for different purposes without breaking your budget. If variety is the spice of life, then grams are the spice jars.
Pre-rolls, available as singles or in packs, may seem like the most convenient way to consume flower. Just be aware that flower tends to dry out faster once it's been ground up so it won't provide the same bouquet of aromas and flavors as a freshly rolled joint. Lest you end up with a sock drawer full of dried-out joints, buy singles or recruit friends to help you finish larger packs.
If cannabis is part of your daily routine but you're not ready to commit to one strain for the long haul, eighths are the perfect compromise. Most boutique brands package their flower in eighth jars, making premium weed accessible to most cannabis consumers. Compared to ounces that can cost hundreds of dollars, the price of an eighth of an ounce ranges from $30 to $70 depending on the legal market you're in.
As you grow more familiar with strains or work weed more regularly into your daily routine, an ounce may seem like the way to go. But before taking the leap from an eighth to a full ounce, experiment with a quarter of an ounce or half an ounce of weed to determine how quickly you smoke through your stash.