While both hemp and marijuana are cannabis sativa plants, hemp naturally contains more CBD than what is found in marijuana; however, marijuana can be cultivated to have higher amounts of CBD equal to or at a higher percentage than THC.
When taken together, CBD can lower the intoxicating effect of THC, which allows patients to get the therapeutic benefits of using higher amounts of THC without this negative side effect. This is especially important when treating children with medical cannabis. Since CBD and THC do not work the exact same way in the body, using them together can have a synergistic effect, thus providing greater overall benefit to the patient.
CBD can be used as an antidote if someone consumes too much THC. This more often happens when a person takes THC in an oral/edible form. Vaping CBD can start to reverse the negative effects of THC in a matter of minutes.
Epidiolex, the FDA-approved liquid medication used for children with seizures, only utilizes CBD (it also contains dehydrated alcohol, sesame seed oil, strawberry flavor, and sucralose). It does not contain any other cannabis phytochemicals, such as terpenes or other minor cannabinoids, which can have additional benefits. Although Epidiolex may be covered by insurance, I feel all phytochemicals found in the plant are there for a reason and contribute to the patient receiving maximum benefit. This is why I typically do not recommend Epidiolex (unless other high-potency CBD options are cost prohibitive). I recommend people use products from manufacturers who are mindful of this and who adhere to strict testing and purity guidelines, such as Myrian’s Premium Hemp Products, which we carry exclusively in our clinic.
Incredibly high doses of CBD are FDA-approved for Epidiolex — up to 450 milligrams for a child weighing 50 pounds! This is much higher than the doses I have found successfully treat my patients, but at least this tells us these high doses are considered safe by the FDA.