Your Green Guide: How to Purchase Cannabis

Taylor Engle
Aug 6, 2020

The increasing legalization of cannabis in the U.S. has had a huge effect on the way we buy and sell weed. The expansion of cannabis availability and knowledge has resulted in enough culture, terminology and isms to fill several encyclopedias, so it can be daunting to walk into a dispensary or scroll through our menu for the first time.

Whether you’re a seasoned smoker or are merely coming around to the idea of cannabis, here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know before purchasing your greens:

Measuring Your Greens: How Much Weed Is This?

The measuring of cannabis has a fascinating history that originated like most illegal (at the time) substances: on the streets. Cannabis gained popularity in the U.S. during the counterculture movement of the ’60s and ’70s, but it was completely prohibited and had to be acquired through creative means.

Our grandparents measured their weed in “lids,” which contrary to popular belief does not equate to an ounce. It references the use of literal lids–most commonly from a large mayonnaise jar–to measure flower. The term became widely-known thanks to Cheech and Chong’s stoner comedy skits.

Today, cannabis is measured with much more precision, so you always know exactly what you’re getting. Here is everything to know when it comes to figuring out how much weed you want to buy–and keep in mind the price can vary quite a bit depending on the state you’re in and how available cannabis is to you (but it’s usually cheaper to buy in bulk if you can):

The Gram ($7-$20)

This is the lowest amount of cannabis you can purchase–and many dispensaries or delivery services don’t even offer this option anymore. It’s based on weight, and a gram of weed weighs next to nothing–it’s about the size of one large nug, the perfect amount for a quality joint. On the streets it’s referred to as a “dime bag,” while two grams is known as a “dub bag.”

The Eighth ($15-$55)

Short for “an eighth of an ounce,” the eighth measures out at roughly 3.5 grams. This is the most commonly purchased amount of weed, especially if purchased for a party or event with friends.

The Quarter ($60-$75)

As in, “a quarter of an ounce.” Starting to make sense? Known as a “Q” for short, it measures as seven grams of weed.

The Half-Ounce ($100-$150)

A half-ounce of cannabis, otherwise known as a “half-O” or simply a “half.” It weighs in at 14 grams and is a great amount of flower for a bulk-buy–depending how often you smoke, of course.

The Ounce ($160-$350)

An “O,” a “zip,” an “onion”–all super slick ways to say you want an ounce of cannabis. An ounce is 28 grams, and is the maximum amount of cannabis you can legally purchase at a time in most legal states.

Concentrates and Extracts

When it comes to being knowledgeable on cannabis purchasing practices and having a general idea of pricing, the above list is a great place to begin. However, there are many other factors to consider when buying cannabis.

Although flower remains the most popular way to consume cannabis and is only growing in popularity, concentrates and extracts (like wax, oil, shake, and shatter) are gaining traction. This form of cannabis tends to be a little pricier (around $40 per gram), but that’s only because of how potent it is compared to regular flower–it takes a full ounce of cannabis flower to make just 3-6 grams of concentrate.

Edibles

For those who are less interested in the act of smoking but still want to experience the benefits of cannabis, edibles are a great option. It’s an easy way to keep track of exactly how much THC you’re ingesting, without any coughing.

In the past, edibles usually came in the form of pot brownies, but creativity has really expanded within the cannabis food industry. From restaurants that offer cannabis-infused menus to THC-packed breath mints, it’s simple to enjoy your favorite flavors with your favorite flower. You can also opt for CBD-only edibles–all of the benefits without the intense high.

Smoking Equipment and Accessories

Most dispensaries have a decent array of basic smoking accessories, but they tend to lack range and be a little overpriced. Pay a visit to your local smoke shop for a wider variety, or visit an online retailer for a custom look.

The way you consume cannabis will determine how specific you need to get when shopping for accessories, but it’s always better to have options. It’s also nice to have variety within your smoking tool arsenal–that way if you get tired of rolling and just want to throw some flower into a glass pipe, you can.

Overall, we learn best by practicing, so the best way to gain the most knowledge about purchasing cannabis is to purchase cannabis. Find a dispensary or delivery site (ahem) you like, and make sure to pay attention to the sales–most brands offer quite a few deals and steals if you’re looking at the right time. Happy smoking!

Check out our Cannabis 101 guide here.

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