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As experts in the marijuana field (pun intended), we get asked a lot of questions. If we were keeping track of what we get asked the most, near the top of the list would have to be, “How much is a zip?”
Usually, it’s not put so nicely (as in, “What the hell is a zip!?” or, “What the #@%$ is a zip!?” or, sometimes even, “What the &%#@ is a zip!?”). We let it slide because we know our cannabuddies are a little frustrated that they can’t decipher the slang.
If that’s you, don’t feel bad. Even some long-time stoners can’t answer, “How much is a zip?” because the tricky word in that query — zip — just isn’t that common anymore and, honestly, wasn’t that common to begin with.
It’s also frustrating because the phrase, “How much is…” is kind of vague. You could be asking about quantity (as in, “How much ganja can I get for fitty bucks?”). Or you could be asking about cost (as in, “How much money am I going to have to part with to get my ganja on?”)
Yes, it can be confusing. But we’re here to help.
Think of us as your cannabis dictionary. Or maybe your cannabis encyclopedia. Or, better yet, think of us as your all-things-cannabis oracle. Ooooh, yeah! We like that. Ask and ye shall receive.
In this article, the all-things cannabis oracles at Honest Marijuana answer the question, “How much is a zip?” in all its many forms so you won’t be confused any longer. You’re welcome.
A Bit About Marijuana Measurement
One of the things we dislike the most about purchasing cannabis in the United States is that we use two different measurement systems — U.S. Customary Units and the International System of Units — to describe the quantities.
Ounces and pounds are a measurement of mass, weight, or volume used mostly in the United States, while the gram is a measurement of mass from the International System of Units.
The general confusion and opaque jargon that every cannaconsumer has to contend with is a result of the differences and discrepancies between these two measuring systems.
And that’s why trying to figure out how much is a zip can be so difficult — you have to convert from one system to the other somewhere along the chain of common quantities.
It’s like watching a movie that starts off as an 18th-century period drama and then suddenly switches to a horror movie about 30 minutes in. At the end, you’re left wondering what you just watched.
Oh, but there’s more! Even if you understand how to transition from one system to the other, you still have to decipher the long list of slang that creative cannaenthusiasts have come up with over the years.
Zip is one of those terms.
How Much Is A Zip In Terms Of Quantity?
In terms of quantity, a zip is the equivalent of 28 grams of pot.
So, for those of you who adore equations:
1 zip = 28 grams
Other terms for a zip include:
- Ounce (which is not slang)
- Full O (which is slang)
- O (still slang)
- The Big O (definitely slang…for more than just 28 grams of pot)
- Z (slang again but not quite as much fun as The Big O)
While one zip equals 28 grams is very descriptive mathematically, it’s not very descriptive practically.
What does 28 grams look like? How big of a pile is 28 grams? To answer the latter, it’s pretty big.
A better question would be, “How many joints will 28 grams get me?” Now that’s a practical question that can really help you get a grip on the zip.
How Much Is A Zip In Terms Of Joints?
Your average joint weighs in at around 0.7 grams.
Keep in mind that this is by no means an exact science. Your joints may be lighter or heavier than 0.7 grams and that’s ok (We’re all ok, man.). This is just an example.
Now, back to the math.
So, if you’ve got a zip (28 grams) in front of you and you use it to roll joints of 0.7 grams a piece, your final tally would be 40 joints (28 grams / 0.7 grams per joint).
That’s a lot of joints! That’s one a day for a whole month with some left over. You could even toke two on Wednesdays and Saturdays and still have a few extras to share with friends.
But that much weed doesn’t come without a cost. And, unfortunately, it may be too much to pay for a month’s worth of weed.
How Much Is A Zip In Terms Of Cost?
The price of a zip varies from state to state, and strain to strain.
Regardless of where you go to get your ganja, be ready to lay down at least several hundred dollars (sometimes, quite a bit more).
A quick search of a dispensary in Michigan gave us these price tags:
- A zip of Blue Dream for $255
- A zip of West Coast Sour Diesel for $255
- A zip of WiFi OG for $285
- A zip of Platinum Cookies for $315
- A zip of Orange Kush Cake for $350
- A zip of 99 Problems for $375
- A zip of White 99 for $400
- A zip of Baker’s Delight for $560
The one benefit of buying a zip — in terms of cost, of course, because there are plenty of benefits to be had once you smoke it — is that, because you’re buying “in bulk,” you’ll usually get a discount.
For example, one gram of Blue Dream at the Michigan dispensary is $10. If you bought 28 individual grams over the course of a month, you’d pay $280 total.
So you do save a little dinero (in this case, $25 or about 9%) by purchasing a full zip all at once.
Talk to the budtenders at your local dispensary for the down low. And don’t be afraid to look ‘em straight in the face and say, “How much is a zip?” They’ll totally get you.
Zip? Why Zip?
Etymology — or word origins — is an interesting thing, but don’t get it confused with entomology (that’s bugs).
In etymology, sometimes the experts know exactly where the word came from and can even pinpoint the first time it was used. Other times, no one really knows where the word came from or when it was first used.
Zip falls into the latter category.
We can kind of piece together why zip is a descriptive cannaword and where it came from, but, again, no one really knows for sure.
Let’s track this through the hazy past by looking at some of the other common words for zip.
We listed them in the How Much Is A Zip In Terms Of Quantity? section, but here they are again for your edification:
- Full O
- The Big O
Ounce is pretty obvious — it’s a unit of measurement from the U.S. Customary Units system.
If you placed your zip of marijuana on a scale set to U.S. Customary Units, it would weigh pretty close to an ounce.
The next three terms — Full O, O, and The Big O — are fairly self-explanatory: they’re just references to the “O” at the beginning of ounce.
But what about Z? Where the heck did that come from?
Again, we don’t know for sure, but the consensus usually falls into one of two camps, with the second being the most common.
- “Z” refers to the final letter in the abbreviation for the word ounce (i.e., oz.). Sounds good, right? Still, it does seem like a bit of a stretch. The next explanation feels a lot more likely.
- Back in the day, we didn’t have the cool packaging we have now and a glass jar was a bit cumbersome (and dangerous for those prone to dropping things or falling down).
- To avoid this danger, enterprising cannapreneurs started selling their buds in plastic baggies.
- When Ziploc bags appeared, it was only natural that cannaseurs would put them to good use. And, by a stroke of good luck, an ounce of marijuana fits nicely (most of the time) in these bags. See where we’re going?
- So if you wanted to buy an ounce of pot, you could say, “I’d like to purchase a Ziploc baggie of your finest marijuana product, good sir.”
- Or you could just say, “Gimme a Z, man.” We like the latter for its brevity, but, hey, whatever floats your boat.
Based on the second explanation, it’s fairly easy to see where the word zip came from.
Somewhere along the line — maybe even before Z became a thing — someone asked for a zip of marijuana (as in, a Ziploc bag) and the term stuck.
So the evolution of these words may have gone a little something like this: from “How much is a Ziploc bag of pot?” to “How much is a zip?” to “How much is a Z?”
Pretty cool, huh?
How Much Is A Zip? The Bottom Line
If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this:
A zip of cannabis = 28 grams = 1 ounce
From there, it’s pretty easy to decipher other ganja measurements such as half, quarter, and eighth (they’re all fractions of an ounce).
Some weed measurements — like dime and dub — though, are not so obvious.
To learn about these strange quantities, check out this article from your pals at Honest Marijuana: Weed Measurements: The Marijuana Metric System.Honest Marijuana's blog discussing everything from organic marijuana, to growing techniques, to concentrate to the latest in legalization. ]]>