How to measure cannabis without a scale

How to measure cannabis without a scale
Luke Sholl

Ever been stuck without a scale to hand, but really need to know how much weed you have? Don't worry; we've got you covered with five ways to weigh weed using everyday household items.

No matter where you are in the world, weed is a precious commodity. And, like all valuable assets, it's crucial you know how much you have. However, there's more to knowing how much marijuana weighs than simply calculating its monetary value. There's a multitude of reasons why accurately weighing your weed is a valuable skill to learn.

But sometimes, we’re caught short without proper weighing scales. But fear not, that doesn’t mean that we’re unable to find out how much our weed weighs. In this article, we’ll show you how to weigh weed without scales.


How to measure cannabis without a scale

What if you're a medicinal user that needs to consume a precise amount of weed, or maybe you're trying cannabis for the first time, and don't want to risk the dreaded green-out? Hell, you may just be on a budget, and you need to make your stash last until the end of the month.

No matter your reasoning, getting a grasp of weed weights is crucial. And, while there is no beating the accuracy of a scale, not all of us have access to the necessary equipment. So what's the next best thing? Well, with a little know-how, you could weigh your weed with everyday household items, including a clothes hanger, string, and even a piece of paper.


How to measure cannabis without a scale

Before we jump into the best ways to weigh weed without a scale, it helps to know how weed is measured. The most commonly accepted weed measurements include:

  • 1g
  • 3.5g (an eighth)
  • 7g (a quarter)
  • 14g (half an ounce)
  • 28g (an ounce)

Anything greater than the ratios listed above, and you're venturing into commercial levels of weed, so we won't bore you with a never-ending list. You should also know that some areas outside of Europe may offer weed based on its value rather than its weight, but it's best to discuss these in person and decide what's right for you.


How to measure cannabis without a scale

Now we know the importance of measuring weed, and the generally accepted (European) weights, it's time to get down to brass tacks—measuring weed without scales. Again, we must reiterate that all five of the methods listed below will never match the accuracy of a scale. Still, when needs must, they can certainly provide a decent estimate of how much weed you're dealing with.


Essentially, we're going to use the hanger as a rudimentary scale, balancing your weed on one end, and an item of a known weight on the other. To make this work, you'll need:

  • A clothes hanger
  • String (or tape)
  • 2 x plastic cups
  • A mug
  • An item of a known weight (for instance, a European 1 cent coin weighs 2.3 grams)

Once you've found somewhere level to hang the clothes hanger, use the string to attach a plastic cup to either end. Then, add the mug to the middle of the hanger (also with the string), as this will help balance your makeshift scale. Make sure it’s directly in the middle, or it will throw off your measurements.

To measure your weed, add buds to the cup at one end, and the item of the known weight to the other. When the hanger is evenly balanced, you’ll know that the amount of weed in the cup has an equal weight to the item in the other.. Lastly, if you're unsure what to use as the known weight', you'll find a list of coin weights under the section, 'measuring weed with a ruler and penny'.


If there's one item most of us always have handy, it's a smartphone, so why not elevate its usefulness by turning it into a digital scale?

Ok, so weighting weed is still a bit of a stretch even for top-end phones, but some apps can help you estimate the weight of an item, or in this case, your buds. To get the best result, we highly recommend checking the app reviews and using it alongside one of the other methods in our list. If the apps fail to give you an accurate result, you can still use internet to double-check the weight of the items you will use for comparison later in this article, like the coins.


If your smartphone is out of battery, and there aren't any basic household items within reach, don't worry—not all is lost. It may be the least accurate approach, but you can estimate the amount of weed you're holding by visually comparing its size to common fruits.

For example, a gram of weed is roughly the same size as a grape, while 3.5g (an eighth) is more akin to a medium-sized kiwi fruit. We know these comparisons may seem somewhat ambiguous, but in a pinch, they can ensure you're getting close to the expected amount of bud for your money.

Further size comparisons include:

  • 7g (a quarter): Medium-large apple
  • 14g (half an ounce): Large orange
  • 28g (an ounce): Medium coconut

Given that weed rarely comes as a perfectly round mass, you'll be relying on your intuition to estimate the weed weights. That said, you never know when you might be buying weed next to a fruit stall…

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The principle of this method is similar to measuring weed with a hanger. Except this time, we're using two objects at either end of a ruler rather than a clothes hanger.

Start by placing the ruler on top of the pencil. You'll want to position the pencil in the middle of the ruler to create your makeshift see-saw. Then add a weighted object (in this example, we'll use coins) to one end and your bud to the opposite side. Keep adding bud until the ruler is roughly balanced, and hey, presto! You now know the weight of your weed.

To help with your weed weight calculations, below are some common coins and their estimated weight:

  • 1 US cent: 2.5g
  • 1 EU cent: 2.30g
  • 1 penny: 3.56g
  • 1 CAD cent: 2.35g
  • 5 AUD cents: 2.83g

For simplicity, it's worth noting that a British penny is 3.56g, or in weed terms, basically an eighth. If you've got more weed than a single coin, just stack the coins and combine their weight.


If all else fails, and you really need to know how much your weed weighs, it doesn't get simpler than two pieces of paper. Although, as a quick disclaimer, this method only really works with small amounts of weed.

To make a scale out of two pieces of paper, take the first piece and fold it in half, placing it on the table (it should look like a tent with the point facing upwards). Then, take your second piece of paper and fold it into four equal parts. You want the second piece to look like a zigzag, before placing it on top of the first piece. The middle point of the second piece of paper should balance on the top of your 'tent' to provide what might be the world's simplest scale.

On one end of the second piece of paper, place a folded $1 bill, and on the other, your weed. Either add more bills or add more weed until you get to your desired weight.


Weighing weed with paper

While the methods above may not be the most glamorous, or the most accurate, they will give you a better indication of how much your weed weighs. And, while they definitely won't beat the accuracy of a scale, they are far more trustworthy than simply eyeballing your buds and guessing.

However, as we alluded to earlier, there are some cannabis users for which accurate weed weights are paramount. In these circumstances, you simply can't beat a set of scales. They won't be as cheap as two pieces of paper, but a decent digital scale could be the difference between sweet relief, and total inebriation. If you do take the plunge on a set of digital scales, just make sure the range goes as low as 0.01g for maximum precision.

It's never been easier to take the guesswork out of weed weights, thanks to our simple guide. No matter where you are in the world, there's a good chance you'll have access to any of the methods outlined above. In fact, the real question isn't how much does your weed weigh; it's when are we getting this session started!?

Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl

Fascinated by the wellness potential of nature, Luke has spent over a decade writing about cannabis and its vast selection of cannabinoids. Creating, researching and writing content for Cannaconnection, alongside several other industry-related publications, he uses strong technical SEO skills and diligent research to bring evidence-based material to thousands of unique visitors.