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What Exactly is a “Zip” of Weed, and What’s Its Cost?

    • “Zip” is a slang term in cannabis culture that refers to one ounce of marijuana flower—or 28 grams.

 

    • If someone says they purchased a “zip” from a dispensary or pharmacy, they bought an entire ounce. This is a large increment, but it can be a cost-effective choice for patients who have found their ideal cannabis product.

 

  • While prices vary widely by state and product, buying a zip is an excellent way to take advantage of a bulk discount.

 


If you started your journey with medical cannabis online—with limited exposure to the black market or marijuana days of yore—you’ve likely come across unfamiliar slang terms like “zip.”

What is a zip? A zip refers to an ounce of marijuana flower. Cannabis flowers (the actual buds of the marijuana plant) have been sold by weight throughout most of modern history—on the black market and in legal dispensaries.

But the cost of a zip can vary widely across states and can fluctuate based on product quality and type.

How should newcomers to cannabis navigate the prospect of bulk buying? In this guide, we’re demystifying the zip to help you enhance your marijuana knowledge and make cost-effective choices on your healing journey.

What Is a Zip?

A zip is an ounce of marijuana flower—a smokeable product sold in many dispensaries where medical or recreational marijuana has been legalized.

If you’re new to cannabis and can’t easily visualize an ounce of flower, here’s what you need to know:

  • An ounce is a lot – While you might not think of one ounce as bulky, remember that dried marijuana buds are very lightweight.
  • In black market sales, an ounce could usually fit into a zipper bag – Since black market dealers often used containers like zip-up freezer bags as receptacles for marijuana, and an ounce of weed can typically fit snugly into a quart bag—this might be the origin of the term “zip.”
  • An ounce isn’t the right choice for everyone – While we’ll dive into this in more detail below, it’s not in everyone’s best interest to buy a zip of cannabis at a time.

Gram vs. Eighth vs. Half vs. Ounce

While we’re on the subject of weight, let’s break down a few other must-know terms when purchasing cannabis flowers from a dispensary:

  • Gram – A gram is typically the smallest increment used in legal marijuana sales.
  • Eighth – An “eighth” of marijuana is an eighth of an ounce, or 3.5 grams.
  • Half – A “half” (or a half ounce) of marijuana weighs 14 grams.
  • Ounce – A whole ounce of cannabis flower is equivalent to 28 grams.

So, there are three and half grams in an eighth, four eighths in a half, and two halves in an ounce. Simple, right?

If your head is spinning, don’t worry: the cannabis community is an accepting place, and newcomers are always welcome. Medical marijuana veterans, licensed providers, and budtenders (the pros behind the counter at your local dispensary or pharmacy) are always happy to help.

Mass vs. Concentration

It’s important to note that the weight of a product and its concentration of cannabinoids are two different things. Not all of the weight of cannabis flower is made up of THC or CBD (the two major cannabinoids). Flower also contains:

  1. Flavonoids, terpenes, and other compounds that can affect user experience
  2. Cellulose and other natural plant compounds

When you start your journey with cannabis, the concentration of your chosen cannabinoid is just as important as weight. Concentration refers to the amount of a cannabinoid in a product by weight.

Let’s say you purchase a one-gram, pre-rolled joint from your dispensary or pharmacy. The label says that your product features 9% THC and 10% CBD. So, the entire joint contains:

  • 0.09 grams (or 90 milligrams) of THC
  • 0.10 grams (or 100 milligrams) of CBD

While flowers are typically sold by the gram, cannabinoids are generally dosed by the milligram. This dosing method often makes more sense for more precise administration methods like edibles: package labels for cannabis gummies, for instance, will clearly state how many milligrams of your chosen cannabinoid are in each individual gummy.

Don’t worry—your medical cannabis doctor and your budtender can help you figure out your ideal dose, too.

How Much Does a Zip Cost?

It’s hard to say how much you should expect to spend on a zip of cannabis—or how much you should expect to spend on any quantity of cannabis. Why?

Factors that Can Impact Marijuana Prices

Marijuana prices are impacted by a variety of factors:

  • Location – Simply put, normal economic factors influence the price of weed—like whether your dispensary is in a big city or a small town. Identical products sold at the same dispensary chain might be sold at completely different prices in different cities and states. In addition, some states have imposed additional taxes on marijuana on top of applicable sales taxes.
  • Quality – Quality and price can sometimes go hand-in-hand. But cannabinoid concentration isn’t the only factor that impacts cannabis quality—flavor, scent, color, and freshness can all impact patients’ experiences using flower.
  • Recreational vs. medical status – In states with recreational legalization, user populations are larger because there’s a lower barrier to entry for legal purchase. Scale can impact price: states with recreational legalization or larger populations of medical users typically tout lower dispensary price tags.
  • Purchase volume – Many dispensaries offer discounts for bulk purchases: you might get 10% off your entire purchase if you buy a whole ounce, for instance.

That said, one of the only sources for determining the nationwide average cost of weed is a database based on user-submitted prices—and this index probably reflects more black market sales than legal sales, so its averages should be taken with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, this data indicates that Americans spend an average of $318.72 per ounce on “high quality” marijuana (but the site doesn’t specify what makes marijuana “high quality”).

Why Buy a Zip?

With all of this in mind, why might a patient buy a zip of weed? There are two typical motivators for bulk marijuana purchases: cost and convenience.

Cost Savings

As stated above, many dispensaries offer bulk discounts—the more you buy, the more you save.

Let’s break down a hypothetical patient scenario:

  • Lou smokes approximately half of a one-gram joint each day to manage his back pain.
  • Lou’s local dispensary sells his favorite flower product for $15 per gram—or $375 per ounce (a little over a 10% discount for buying in bulk).
  • Since Lou’s developed a consistent dosing regimen and found a product that offers repeatable, dependable results, he may benefit from purchasing a zip of his favorite strain.

Remember that these bulk savings require more cash upfront. If your budget is tight, it simply might make more sense to buy in smaller increments to maintain a healthy cash flow.

Convenience

Buying in bulk can also increase your convenience, especially if you live relatively far away from the nearest dispensary. Let’s break down another hypothetical patient:

  • Mel lives about 70 miles away from the nearest dispensary.
  • Since they have chronic pain in their knees, long car trips can be uncomfortable.
  • With limited chances to go to the dispensary, it makes the most sense for Mel to buy marijuana in large quantities.

The cost vs. convenience calculation can vary widely from person to person. If Mel makes enough money to not worry about buying basic necessities, purchasing a zip for the added convenience might make sense—not to mention that they’ll save on gas by limiting dispensary trips. But if Mel lives paycheck to paycheck, it might still make sense to purchase in smaller increments—even if it means more frequent trips.

Should You Buy a Zip?

With all of this in mind, should you buy a zip of marijuana? There’s one other major consideration to discuss: consistency.

If you’re just starting out on your path to healing with medical cannabis, it probably doesn’t make sense for you to buy such a large quantity of flower—especially if you’re still experimenting with strains, doses, and administration methods.

You might also want to skip the zip if you’re a relatively infrequent smoker. If you only smoke as needed to quell the symptoms of occasional anxiety attacks, for instance, the volume of a zip might not make sense from a storage or freshness perspective.

On the other hand, you might be a good candidate for a zip if:

  • You’ve found your favorite marijuana product and you aren’t interested in experimenting anytime soon
  • You have the cash to pay a little more upfront for long-term savings
  • You’ll go through your supply fast enough to justify storing a large quantity (and keeping it fresh)
  • You live far away from the nearest dispensary or have limited time to visit one (no matter the distance)

When in doubt, ask your budtender for advice: they can help you decide whether bulk purchases are right for your needs.

TeleLeaf: Your Trusted Medical Cannabis Partner

Trying cannabis for the first time—especially for medical purposes—can be intimidating. But TeleLeaf is committed to helping you carve out your own path to healing, whether you’re new to marijuana or have experience with black market products. We were built by patients for patients: that’s what makes us the best online medical marijuana card service out there.

Ready to discover the recovery you deserve? Meet with us to start the qualification process now.


Sources:

Magnetic Magazine. A Zip of Weed: What the Heck Is It and How Much Does It Cost?.
https://www.magneticmag.com/2022/09/zip-of-weed/

Price of Weed. Data for the Price of Weed in the United States.
https://www.priceofweed.com/prices/United-States.html

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