Dosage classification

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Although different substances induce different effects regardless of their appropriate dosage, the intensity of the experience they are likely to induce can be broken down into five separate categories.

The effects below should not to be considered as fact and should therefore be used merely as a general guideline. These effects will almost certainly differ between specific compounds and further research must be done beyond this article to determine their individual dosages, durations and subjective effects.

Microdose

A microdose is a sub-perceptual dose which is so low (such as 10 micrograms of LSD) that it is unlikely to induce directly noticeable or perceptible effects.

The panels below demonstrate which effects generally occur at a microdose dose for various classes of psychoactive substances.

Psychedelics
Eye.svg

Dissociatives
Chain-broken.svg

Stimulants
Arrow-up.svg

Cannabis
Cannabis leaf (1).svg

Opioids
Syringe-icon.png

Threshold

A threshold dose will cause users to experience the effects of the substance in an extremely light and subtle manner which can potentially go completely unnoticed. It is distinctly just beyond that of placebo effect, but can be ignored with minimal effort when one directs their focus towards the external environment. Users may perceive a vague sense of "something" occurring at this level, but it can be challenging to distinguish it from the placebo effect. Experienced users may be able to more clearly distinguish the "something."

The panels below demonstrate which effects generally occur at a threshold dose for various classes of psychoactive substances.

Light

A light dose will cause effects which are noticeable and clearly distinct from sobriety, but remain in the background of the user's perception. The effects remain possible to ignore by increasing the focus one directs towards other things when performing complex tasks. The user may have to pay particular attention to the effects of the drug for them to be recognizable, or they may be slightly noticeable but will not insist upon the user's attention.

The panels below demonstrate which effects generally occur at a light dose for various classes of psychoactive substances.

Stimulants
Arrow-up.svg

Cannabis
Cannabis leaf (1).svg

Common

Within this range, not only are the effects and the nature of a drug's action quite clear and distinct, but ignoring its action becomes difficult (although experienced users may be able to do so). The user will generally be able to partake in regular behaviors and remain functional and communicable. The effects can be allowed a predominant role or they may be repressed and made secondary to other chosen activities.

The panels below demonstrate which effects generally occur at a common dose for various classes of psychoactive substances.

Stimulants
Arrow-up.svg

Cannabis
Cannabis leaf (1).svg

Benzodiazepines
McCormick Pills.svg

Opioids
Syringe-icon.png

Strong

A strong dose renders its subject as mostly incapable of functioning or interacting normally, or thinking in a sober manner. The effects of the drug are clear, but at this level they are no longer ignorable and the user is engaged entirely in the experience.

The panels below demonstrate which effects generally occur at a strong dose for various classes of psychoactive substances.

Stimulants
Arrow-up.svg

Cannabis
Cannabis leaf (1).svg

Heavy

At heavy doses, the user has reached the upper limit of what this compound is capable of producing in terms of perceivable psychoactive effects. Depending on the substance consumed, the user may be rendered incapable of functioning on any basic level, experience extremely uncomfortable side effects, or hit a ceiling dose with diminishing returns.

The panels below demonstrate which effects generally occur at a heavy dose for various classes of psychoactive substances.

Stimulants
Arrow-up.svg

Cannabinoids
Cannabis leaf (1).svg

Opioids
Syringe-icon.png

Overdose

An overdose is a quantity greater than recommended, intended or generally practiced, with the possibility of the dose resulting in death or serious injury. Immediate professional medical advice should always be sought when a user has taken a dose greater than or equal to this, although tolerance may allow experienced users' bodies to survive such doses unharmed. It should be noted that doses below this level may also be harmful in some cases.

See also

References