Presenting Author(s) Names: Ian King
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The Canadian government is currently in the process of developing legislation to legalize, regulate and restrict access to cannabis. With the Cannabis Act set to take effect in July 2018, a major challenge facing government officials is the current lack of comprehensive, high-quality research available to guide policy development. Unarguably, one of the most important areas to be further elucidated is the precise chemical composition of the cannabis products that will soon be legally available to the public. One key area of interest surrounds the effects of the ratio of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Evolving evidence in this area suggests that the interactions between THC and CBD, and their chemical ratio may become important in defining and regulating the potency of cannabis products. In this literature review, a search was made for studies published within the last ten years, which examined the effects of administering THC/CBD in differing ratios on human subjects. The preliminary evidence suggests that THC and CBD have opposing effects on behavioral, cognitive, and psychological domains. This evidence is supported by THC/CBD demonstrating antagonistic activation of multiple correlative brain regions on fMRI imaging. Evaluating the potency of cannabis products may be more complex than simply looking at the absolute values of THC and/or CBD, but also the relative balance between the two constituents. While in its early stages, this area of research may become critical to evaluating/modifying cannabis legislation in Canada moving forward, specifically in regards to regulating production, educating the public and enforcing public safety.