What is a Zip of Cannabis?

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Added 22 September 2022

If you are new to cannabis and walk into a dispensary, you will be met with a lot of weird terms that the community has accepted for use. But these terms may be new and confusing to you, and that’s alright. We have all been there.

One such term is a zip, which confuses many new users (and even some experienced users). Essentially, zip is a measurement of cannabis, which is considered a standard practice across the industry.

But what is a zip, how much cannabis does it contain, and how long would it last for you? If you have these questions, we’ve got the answers. 

Read on to know more about the measurements of cannabis, and in particular, a zip of cannabis. 

What is a Zip of Cannabis?

Zip of weed

Zip is the gold standard when it comes to measuring cannabis, but it’s unheard of outside of the cannabis community. Put simply, a zip of cannabis is one ounce of cannabis. That’s it.

But what’s with the term, why couldn’t they use just an ounce instead? The history speaks here. 

During the prohibition years, a lot of cannabis users bought cannabis illicitly and there was always a risk of coming under the police's radar. So, the sellers and users started coming up with innovative terms or slangs for cannabis and its peripherals, such as stuff, stash, coin, funny cigarette, etc., as a way to avoid being suspicious,

One such slang is zip, which was used to mean an ounce. 

“Hey, will be dropping off a zip tonight,” was a common term those days.

And if you are wondering why the term zip, and not anything else, well, there are two etymological theories. 

According to the first theory, the term zip is a fancy nickname for oz, which is the abbreviation of an ounce. Zip is vague enough and does not have many competitors in terms of words starting with the letter z.

On the other hand, the second (and more plausible) theory states that one ounce of cannabis fits easily in a standard Ziploc bag. Here, a Ziploc of cannabis is shortened into a zip of cannabis. 

Zip in Pop Culture

Snoop dogg

While zip is baffling to many people outside of the cannabis community, it is still quite commonly used in pop culture, especially in rap songs. For example, the song, Young, Wild, and Free by Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, and Bruno Mars, uses zip in various ways. 

“Zip in the safe, flippin' for pay

Tippin' like I'm drippin' in paint

Upfront, four blunts, like, “Khalifa put the weed in a J””.

Another popular example is A Zip and a Double Cup by Juice J:

“Ziploc bag full of kush double cup full of drank

I got so damn trippy in my mind I go blank”

So, if you look closely, you will find references to a zip of cannabis quite often in pop culture. 

How Much Cannabis is in a Zip?

Cannabis buds

As mentioned above, a zip of cannabis is exactly one ounce, but an ounce may still be confusing for you. In that case, the easier conversion is grams — it helps put the quantity into perspective.

So, a zip of cannabis contains 28.5 grams of cannabis. Exact conversion of an ounce to grams. 

How Long Does a Zip of Cannabis Last?

How long does a zip of weed last

Coming to the more important question — how can it actually last you? The answer is a long time, indeed. 

A joint of cannabis contains around 0.3 grams of cannabis, so you can easily roll up to 90 joints, depending on your rolling style. So, it’s a season's worth of supply if you smoke a joint almost daily. 

If you use bowls, you can smoke up to 55 bowls, depending on how much you pack each time into the bowl. 

And if you are into edibles, then a zip is even more economical for you because it contains a lot of THC, way above the recommended daily range, i.e., 5 to 15 mg. Depending on the strain, a zip of cannabis can contain around 5000 to 8000 mg or even more. You can make a lot of edibles with a zip of cannabis. 

How Much Does a Zip of Cannabis Cost?

Cost of a zip of weed

Most dispensaries don’t sell cannabis more than a zip, especially for recreational use, since it’s the legal limit in most places. Possessing anything over an ounce can land you in a lot of legal trouble. 

But a zip can be expensive, depending on the strain.

For example, if a dispensary offers Lemon Cake — a relatively cheap strain — for $35 an eighth, then a zip would cost around $275, which is a lot of money to pay for flowers.

But there’s a catch — it can actually save you some money if you are sure about the strain and intend to use it for the long term. This is because most dispensaries offer some savings when you buy a large quantity of cannabis. So, the same Lemon Cake zip would actually cost you around $250 if the dispensary is offering savings of around 10% on larger quantities. 

This is the same concept as purchasing a pack of three toothbrushes as purchasing 3x single toothbrush packs. The pack of three toothbrushes would be cheaper. 

If you want to know if a zip of cannabis is a better deal, simply compare the cost per dose of the zip to a smaller quantity, like a quarter or an eighth. 

Should I Buy a Zip of Cannabis?

Cannabis in grinder

Yes, a zip of cannabis is more than enough, and it can be cheaper to purchase a zip. But is it necessary to get yourself a zip of marijuana? Not always. While a zip of cannabis is enough for most users, it may not always make sense to purchase such a large quantity of cannabis in one shot. 

The first problem with purchasing a zip of weed is obviously the price. While it may offer some savings, spending that much in a single transaction may impact your finances for the month. 

The second problem is storage. Cannabis can go bad quickly if it is not stored properly. For instance, if you open the container regularly, it may make the stuff dry. On the other hand, if you don’t open it at all, it greatly increases the chances of mold. It can also reduce the potency, making it less enjoyable for you to partake. 

Plus, if you are a light smoker and only consume cannabis occasionally, purchasing an ounce is not worth it. Most experts recommend consuming cannabis within six months — as long as it is stored well. So, if you buy an ounce, it may last longer than six months and naturally go bad over time. 

The third problem is the solution to the second problem — you will have to take extra precautions to store a zip of cannabis if you want to store it for the long term. For example, you may have to divide the ounce into multiple containers, store them in a cool, dark place, and only use one container at a time. 

It only makes sense to purchase a zip of cannabis if you are a heavy cannabis user who smokes cannabis almost daily or wants to share it with your loved ones. 

Common Cannabis Measurements 

If a zip is too much for you, but you still want to keep enough cannabis in your closet while saving some money on prerolls, you can purchase an eighth or a quarter of an ounce of cannabis too. Here’s more on them:

An Eighth

An eighth is a standard measurement used in most dispensaries, and it simply means an eighth of an ounce — a zip of cannabis divided into eight smaller packets. It contains 3.5 grams of cannabis, which is enough for most occasional cannabis users. It’s one of the mosy popular terms used in the community as well. 

A Quarter

On the other hand, a quarter is an ounce of cannabis divided by four. So, a quarter of cannabis contains 7 grams with some remainder, which is a decent midway between a smaller eighth and a larger zip. 

Summary: What is a Zip of Cannabis?

It’s okay to get confused sometimes, especially if you are getting into something new. And while such terms may make you feel lost in the dispensary, they need not be. 

Of course, none of this matters if you grow cannabis at home. You’ll never have to worry about the cost of purchasing an eighth or zip of cannabis because you’ll have a steady collection. You can increase your yields through various training techniques including defoliation and supercropping

To summarize, a zip of cannabis is exactly an ounce (or 28.5 grams) of cannabis. It is called a zip either because people wanted a new name for an ounce due to legal reasons or because it can be packed into a standard Ziploc bag. 

For frequent users, a zip of cannabis is adequate for a long time and can help save money, but if you are an infrequent user, a zip may be too much for you because it is essentially a multi-season supply, which can go bad quickly if you don’t store it right.


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That is not a term I have ever heard on 30 years of smoking cannabis. At least not in the UK.. A zip is what we use to undo our fly's on our trousers to have a piss.. I think this is an American term ..
A zip is a lid. A lid is a 4 finger sack. These go back to at least the 70's...No digi-scales back then...
Cool new info, guys!