Microdosing versus macrodosing

Published Feb 16, 2021 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / jessicahyde

Cannabis terminology is constantly evolving, and that’s a great thing because it helps consumers, businesses, and professionals to communicate much more effectively. The only problem is that sometimes it can get a little bit confusing, especially if you’re new to the scene.

Microdosing is likely one of the most recognized methods of cannabis use, as it quickly becomes a much trendier way to enjoy some of the benefits without the impairing haze, but macrodosing hasn’t received anywhere near the same amount of media attention. It’s not even close to familiar for most cannabis enthusiasts, but some say that with the potent pot products that are hitting the market these days, it’s a term we should get used to hearing.

What is microdosing?

The term microdosing is pretty self-explanatory. It’s used to describe the act of taking a very small amount of cannabis or another psychedelic. In the case of cannabis, a microdose isn’t very precisely defined, it pretty much just means that you’re taking a smaller than average amount. With a regular pre-roll weighing in somewhere around 100mgs each, some might say that anything less than that could be considered a microdose. However, a more generally accepted rule of thumb is anything less than half that amount.

What is macrodosing?

A macrodose is the complete opposite of the microdose, instead of micro which means small, it's macro, meaning large. This term is used to describe a bigger than normal dose of cannabinoids or any other psychedelic. Macrodosing with cannabis is no easy feat, though it has become more possible thanks to an influx of highly dosed cannabis edibles to the market. Your average joint probably wouldn’t be enough to qualify for this title, and many would argue that even a few wouldn’t be enough to tip the scales past the point of a “regular” dose, but anything from 100mg up into the thousands could be considered a macrodose of cannabis.

How common is macrodosing?

Macrodosing hallucinogenic drug is something that’s getting people's attention, especially now that we’re beginning to uncover some of their potential as therapeutic tools in medicine and for recreation. It is, of course, quite the commitment, even for the most seasoned psychedelic consumers to take a larger-than-life dose of any euphoria-inducing substance, so it isn’t quite common practice yet. Still, its popularity is growing, and soon macrodosing could become much more mainstream.

Is macrodosing dangerous?

Macrodosing with cannabis as far as any scientific evidence suggests, is completely safe, but it is also, by its very definition, an intense trip that can last for many hours, leaving the user impaired and in an altered state of mind that might be hard to control or overwhelming to process. There is very little risk to a person’s physical health when macrodosing cannabis. However, it also isn’t guaranteed to be a pleasant, productive, or side-effect free experience for anyone who tries it, and some would say that makes it somewhat risky.

Which one is better?

Microdosing is catching on because it offers many of the same perks with fewer risks or possible side effects, but it can’t come close to offering the same experience as macrodosing. They are two entirely different methods of using psychedelics, and as such, are not comparable in any way. Each is used in various circumstances for completely different reasons, and that’s why neither is better than the other. We need both options to provide the benefits to the most consumers possible because every individual comes to the table with unique needs.

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