How To Measure Cannabis Without A Scale

Emily Mullins

Posted by Emily Mullins on 03/14/2024 in Consumption

how to measure cannabis without a scale

Sometimes, you may find yourself in situations where you want to get an idea of the weight of a certain amount of cannabis flower that you have, but you may not have a scale at hand. Perhaps you want to limit your smoking to a certain amount, to smoke with some friends without overwhelming them with too much, or to check to see if your dispensary is being honest with their portions. 

The best way to measure cannabis products is with a digital scale. These devices can accurately provide measurements of your flowers or concentrate efficiently. Cannabis flower is typically sold by the gram, with common measurements including:

  • 1 gram, sometimes referred to as a “g”
  • 3.5 grams, or an “eighth,” meaning 1/8 of an ounce
  • 7 grams, known also as a “quarter,” as in ¼ of an ounce
  • 14 grams, or a half-ounce
  • 28 grams, which equals 1 ounce

However, you may not always have a digital scale on hand when you find yourself in a situation where you want to measure the amount of cannabis product you have. Although measurement with a scale is ideal and will give you the most accurate results, there are some techniques that will allow you to make a rough estimate when quantifying your cannabis. 

Ruler and Coin Method

Most people have a ruler, pencil, and penny at home. Coins make good reference weights because their weights are pretty standard. This gives you a point of comparison to start with when working on weighing your cannabis. Here are some estimated weights of common US coins:

  • 1 penny = 2.5 grams
  • 1 nickel = 5 grams
  • 1 dime = 2.27 grams

To weigh your cannabis flower using the ruler and coin method, you are going to make a seesaw out of a ruler and a pencil. Lay a pencil flat on the table and place the ruler across the pencil at about the midsection of the ruler. Adjust until the ruler is balanced across the pencil.

Next, place a coin on one end of the ruler. Then, place your cannabis flowers on the opposite end until there is enough to raise the coin and return the ruler to its balanced position. This means your buds should weigh about as much as the coin(s) you placed at the other end of the ruler.

Phone Apps

If you have a smartphone, try looking around for a weight scale app. This method is as easy as downloading the app, placing your flowers on the screen, and reading the result on your phone. 

Although smartphone apps seem like the easiest solution, the catch is that these apps can be very unreliable. Weight measurements may differ depending on a product’s position on the screen, and the weights vary significantly across different apps. This is because a smartphone scale isn’t really a scale–instead, the app makes use of the gyroscope in the phone to make estimates of weight. Before using a cellphone app for measuring your cannabis, try it out using items with known weights, such as a bag of chips or a penny. This will give you an idea of how well your app can estimate the weight of your products. 

Hanger Method

Another popular approach to roughly weighing your cannabis product is to use a clothes hanger. The hanger is pre-balanced, so it can help tell you the weight of an unknown object when you try to balance it with an object of a known weight. 

You will need two pieces of equal-length string. Tie one piece to each end of the long part of the hanger. Then, attach a zip-top bag to the bottom end of each string with a clothespin or safety pin.

Hang the hanger from a string or a doorknob, and make sure it sits evenly. For one bag, you will need a reference weight to compare your cannabis to. Pennies make a good reference because they typically weigh about 2.5 grams each. 

You will then place your cannabis in the second bag on the opposite end of the hanger. Adjust the amount by adding or subtracting from the bag until the hanger is balanced again. The product you have should be roughly the same weight as your reference bag. 

Estimate by Size

You could also estimate the weight of your cannabis flower by comparing it to the size of common items. These measures are not going to be the most accurate, but they serve as a point of reference if you are just looking for a very rough estimate of your flower’s weight.

  • 1 gram = roughly the size of a medium-large grape
  • 3.5 grams (1/8 ounce)  = buds will make up around the size of a medium-sized kiwi fruit
  • 7 grams (1/4 ounce) = the collected buds should be about the size of a medium-large apple 
  • 1 ounce = similar to the size of a medium coconut

The above techniques can help you measure your cannabis without a digital scale. Using common household items, you can get a general idea of how much cannabis product you have. It is important, however, to keep in mind that these methods can only give an estimated result, and there is room for error depending on how precise you are with following the directions. Therefore, if you really want or need an exact measure of your cannabis flower, it is ideal to invest in a digital scale.

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