Cannabis culture has adopted a huge collection of terminology that could practically fill a dictionary of its own. Take the word “zip,” for example. You may have heard the term mentioned by rappers like Wiz Khalifa (“28 grams in a Ziploc, It ain’t nothin’ to get that zip off”) and wondered what the term means.
Or perhaps your connection just texted you, “I got a zip of fire, you need?” and you’re wondering, “How much is a zip of weed?” So what is a zip, how much does a zip cost, and is it a good deal? We have the answers for you!
What is a Zip of Weed?
A “zip” typically refers to one ounce of cannabis. The origin of the term is quite simple: an ounce of weed fits nicely in a large Ziploc bag—picture the one-gallon freezer bags, not a sandwich baggie. Full ounces are often sold this way on the black market.
An ounce is the legal limit in many states where recreational cannabis is legal. Getting caught with more than a zip could land you in hot water and incur a charge of “intent to distribute,” which carries harsh penalties. If you live in a state with decriminalized or legal cannabis, check your local laws. You may find that a zip is the maximum amount of cannabis you can have in your possession at any given time.
How Much Does a Zip Of Weed Weigh?
As mentioned, a zip is the colloquial term for one ounce, measured in US customary units. There are 16 ounces in a pound, so a zip also weighs 1/16th of one pound. If you’re not familiar with the American system of measurement, we’ll break it down further:
It may surprise our international friends to learn that while cannabis is typically sold in fractions of an ounce (eighths, quarters, half O, or an ounce/O/zip), quantities of weed are almost always weighed out using scales that measure to the nearest tenth of a gram (at least) for better accuracy. A true ounce weighs exactly 28.3495 grams, but when purchasing cannabis in the United States, a zip is typically rounded to an even 28g. There are 35.274 ounces in a kilogram.
For reference, a zip weighs roughly the same as:
- A new pencil
- A CD
- A slice of whole-wheat bread
- 28 paperclips
While these all sound very small, a zip of dried cannabis is actually quite a significant quantity.
How Many Doses is a Zip?
An easy way to decide whether or not you want to buy a full zip is to determine how many doses it contains. This varies based on how much and how often you typically consume.
A zip of weed can equal:
- 28-56 joints
- Up to 56 bowls
- 9-14 blunts
These numbers largely depend on the size of bowl you use and/or the size of joints and blunts you typically roll. Consider weighing your next blunt or joint to determine what a typical serving size is for you!
How Much Does a Zip of Weed Cost?
Everyone’s budget is different, so it’s a good idea to establish how much you’re willing to pay per smoke session and buy accordingly. The cost of a zip can range greatly based on quality, supply and demand, and your location. You can expect to pay anywhere from $150 for an ounce of lower-quality cannabis to over $300 for a zip of top shelf buds. If you’re offered a zip for significantly less than this price range, it’s best to examine the quality of the buds and do more research before buying.
Is a Zip a Better Deal?
It’s very common to find that larger quantities of cannabis come with increased savings. It’s similar to buying food or paper supplies in bulk at Costco. One way to find out if you’re getting a better deal compared to a smaller quantity, such as an eighth or a quarter, is to compare the cost per dose.
To estimate the cost per dose, let’s use a few examples:
Example 1. Light Smoker
Say you only smoke one half-gram bowl daily before bed to help you get a great night of sleep. You’re considering buying a zip for $200. At 28 grams, you would enjoy 56 daily doses (almost a two month supply) for a cost of $3.57 per half-gram dose—similar to a grande cappuccino at Starbucks, before tax. This equates to roughly $25 per week and $107.14 for a 30-day supply.
Let’s assume instead that this light smoker is offered a zip for $250, rather than $200. The same 56 bedtime bowls would now cost $4.46 per dose. That’s nearly a dollar more per day. To continue with the coffee analogy, that’s like adding a shot of espresso or flavored syrup to your daily cappuccino. Some are willing to pay this extra fee if they feel that it improves the quality of their experience, while others would rather save that money for something else.
Example 2: Moderate Smoker
What if you smoke more than .5g per day? If you smoke an average of two 1-gram joints per day, a zip contains roughly a two week supply. At $200 per zip, a one-gram joint would cost about $7.14. If you smoke two of these per day, that brings your daily cannabis costs to $14.28 or about $100 per week. At $250 per zip, each joint will cost closer to $8.92.
Cost Per Dose Compared to an Eighth
Legal recreational cannabis typically ranges between $30 and $45 per eighth of an ounce. An eighth is usually rounded up at the dispensary to 3.5 grams. At $40 per eighth, a one-gram joint would thus cost $11.43. That’s a difference of $4.29 per joint compared to the $200 zip! If you smoke two joints per day, that’s an extra $60.04 per week—more than three grand annually.
When purchasing an eighth, the cost per dose for our light smoker would be $5.71 per half gram bowl. Even if the light smoker purchased each ounce for $250, that would result in an annual savings of $456.25 compared to buying eighths every time.
As you can see, buying a zip is almost always the more economical choice compared to smaller quantities of weed, and can result in significant savings in the long run.