CANADA: Pain patients enrolled in Canada’s legal medical cannabis access program significantly reduce their use of opioids over the long-term, according to longitudinal data provided by Tilray Canada Ltd – one of the nation’s largest, licensed provider of medicinal marijuana products.
Investigators assessed opioid use patterns in a cohort of 573 patients using Tilray-provided products. Among those patients who acknowledged using opioids upon enrollment in the trial, 51 percent reported ceasing their opiate use within six-months.
“The high rate of cannabis use for the treatment of chronic pain – and subsequent substitution for opioids – suggests that cannabis may play a harm-reduction role in the ongoing opioid dependence and overdose crisis,” said Philippe Lucas, lead investigator of the Tilray Observational Patient Study. “While the cannabis substitution effect for prescription drugs has been identified and assessed via cross-sectional and population-level research, this study provides a granular individual-level perspective of cannabis substitution for prescription drugs and associated improvement in quality of life over time.”
The study’s findings are similar to those reported among enrollees in medical cannabis programs in the United States, such as the experiences of patients in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, and elsewhere.
For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: firstname.lastname@example.org. NORML’s fact-sheet highlighting the relevant, peer-reviewed research specific to the relationship between cannabis and opioids is available online.