Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between MG and MCG


The terms “mg” and “mcg” are both abbreviations for small units of measurements in the metric system. The term “mg” stands for the measurement of “milligrams” while “mcg” stands for “micrograms.” Both units are used to measure an object’s mass and to indicate an object’s weight.

With reference to other units of measurement, an mcg is equal to .001 mg. It implies that the microgram is smaller compared to a milligram. Compared to a gram, a microgram is a millionth smaller. The microgram is one of the smallest units and is frequently used in microbiology tests specifically in measurements for antibiotics like penicillin, oxacillin and others. A microgram is expressed as (μg) in usage.

On the other hand, the milligram is the long form of the abbreviated mg. One mg is equal to 1000 micrograms. This means that a milligram is 1000 times bigger than a microgram. Also, a milligram is a thousandth smaller than a gram. The milligram is the more frequently used unit of measurement due to its bigger size. It is also the unit of measurement used in food labels in indicating the breakdown amount of vitamins and minerals and other nutritional values in a food product.

Milligram and microgram can be converted interchangeably. To convert a microgram to a milligram, the value of the microgram should be divided by 1,000. To do the reverse process, the milligram should be multiplied by 1,000 to get the microgram. Conversion between two units is easier in the metric system where both milligram and microgram belong because the system is based powers of ten.

Both standard units of measurement are very vital especially in pharmaceutical or drug dosages. Each unit of dosage can contribute to the quantity and potency of the drug. A patient can suffer from drug underdose or overdose if the amount of the dosage of the prescription or over-the-counter drug is wrong or misinterpreted. The same is applicable when a person takes supplements or other forms of medication. A proper understanding of the dosage requirement can help prevent medication errors and unwanted side effects.

It is also used in scientific experiments when there is a need for exact and minute measurements for the activity. As units of measurements, it is often used to cite measurements in scientific literature.

Tools to measure micrograms and milligrams are microgram balances and milligram balances respectively. These instruments are very useful in providing the exact weight and amount for a specific and particular activity. A scientific lab or a pharmaceutical l lab usually has these instruments to get immediate but accurate readings of a particular substance’s weight either in milligrams or in micrograms. Most models of these milligram and microgram balances are constructed to provide precise amounts of substances.


1.Both units use grams as the basis of measurement and belong to the metric system. Their main difference is the prefix before “gram.” The “micro” prefix indicates a smaller value while the “mili” prefix denotes a larger value.
2.Both milligrams and micrograms are standard units of measurement for smaller quantities. They are often used in measuring drug dosages as well as samples in a scientific experiment.
3.A microgram is smaller than a milligram. The milligram is often the commonly used unit of measurement due to its larger size.
4.To convert both units to each other, either multiplication or division by 1000 is required. To convert milligrams to micrograms, multiplication is used. The division process is used to convert from a microgram to a milligram.
5.The abbreviation symbol for mcg (μg) is proposed to be changed since a handwritten expression might lead to misinterpretation. The misinterpretation of the sign can lead to 1,000 units underdose or overdose of the drug.

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