Weed 101: Dosing for Beginners

By Ganja Goddess

Welcome to the third installment of the Weed 101 Terminology series. Whether you have never smoked a day in your life, or have gotten back into smoking after years of being on hiatus, each installment has been focused on helping you learn your way around any cannabis-related conversation. In part one, we discussed some of the basic terms you’ll need to know before you head out to the dispensary. In the second installment, we got familiar with some consumption methods for rookies. Now you should now know your edibles from your extracts, and have your eye on any other ingestion methods you want to try.

In part three, we’ll walk through some the fun stuff: dosing. Now, everyone knows it sucks when you’re too high to function. I originally wanted to include some slang terms that are frequently used in casual conversation in this piece, but dosing is somewhat complex, so I thought that was best left for a later time. Dosing is the most fun part- it’s how you can experiment with what works for you. The first, and most important thing to know is that the metric system rules in the world of cannabis, but the dosages vary based on the format you choose. With that in mind, below are some of the terms you need to know.

An elbow is one pound of weed, and is also known as a Bow, an L, or a Pack. The term elbow comes from a bastardization of the abbreviation for pound (lb), “el-BOW”. Bow and L are both alternate versions of this term, and Pack is commonly used to refer to a pound, often in larger groups (I.e. 10 packs, 50 packs, etc.).

A gram is generally the smallest amount of cannabis flower that you can purchase, although some shops will sell pre-rolls or 10-sacks/half grams if you’re lucky.

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14 grams, or a half ounce, of cannabis.

(Also known as a “Tenth”). The step up from a gram, a half eight generally 1.7 grams. The term comes from the bag being half the size of an eighth.


Micro-dosing refers to taking a very small dose of THC (typically 1-5 mg) that is highly tolerable throughout the day. It’s best for beginners, although some experienced stoners use it to keep a buzz going throughout the day.

Milligrams are one thousandth of a gram. This measurement are typically used in edibles, tinctures or patches.

Also known as a quad, a quarter is 7 grams or, a quarter of an ounce of cannabis.

A quap is a quarter pound of cannabis. Also called a QP, which is a combination of the phonetic sounds made by treating the letters QP as a word.

THC to CBD ratio
This is the ratio of THC to CBD in your cannabis THC provides the psychoactive effects, and CBD gives the relaxation. A higher THC content gets you higher, but whether that’s a good thing depends on your individual tolerance.

20-sack, 40-sack, dubsack, generally anything “-sack” is a reference to the size or amount of cash spent on your bag of buds. In the old days, a 20-sack usually meant a gram.

This term comes from the original dose of choice, the Ziploc bag. A zip is an ounce, often referred to as a single unit if discussing larger amounts.

Clearly, the math is hazy around dosing, and your bud-tender at the local dispensary is unlikely to prescribe a specific THC to CBD ratio. Getting a consistent dosage might be a challenge, but it’s worth trying to standardize, because it’s cost effective to try to keep it consistent. Cannabis can also have a biphasic effect, where lower doses can have one effect but, a higher dosages can make the opposite effect occur. For instance, a low dose of sativa might make you feel focused, but too much and you’ll feel lethargic to the point of just falling asleep. Keeping dosages relatively consistent will keep you off the couch. It’s an imprecise science, but here are three general rules of thumb as you go about getting your dosage right:

Test, test, and test again. Find your perfect ratio by testing out a few different variations. Wait 24 hours to evaluate the effects, then try again. Higher CBD content means a lower high, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s more about the effect on you and how it makes you function.

Start small and add gradually. Start with low doses or even micro doses throughout the day. The only way to test your tolerance is to study the effect of different dosages every day. Don’t overdo it with one huge dose if you’re a beginner.

Keep side effects and health conditions in mind. Cannabis is generally safe, but it does have side effects. It can create dry mouth, dizziness, or faintness, and it can amplify anxiety and mood disorders based on individual tolerance. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or you have a history of substance abuse, proceed with caution.