International Overdose Awareness Day shines light on health crisis

A life was lost due to opioids every two hours in Canada in 2018. We’re in the midst of an ongoing opioid crisis, which claimed more than 4,000 souls last year alone.

On International Overdose Day, held annually on August 31, brings much needed attention to the lives lost and communities affected by deaths from overdose. It also raises awareness of the issue and encourages communities, government and non-government organizations to find solutions.

Tilray’s own research into patient use of cannabis reveals how many patients are reducing their opioid dose after adding cannabis to their treatment plan.

The Tilray Observational Patient Study (TOPS) is the largest national longitudinal study of Canadian cannabis patients to date, with more than 2,100 patients enrolled at 21 medical clinics across the country.

The study tracked the impact of Tilray medical cannabis on prescription drug use and quality of life over a 6 month, and some key findings include:

  • About 28 per cent of medical cannabis patients reported using opioids during the study period, declining to just 11 per cent after six months;
  • The mean opioid dose among patients declined 78 per cent over six months;
  • Patients reported significant improvements in quality of life, including a 26 %-increase in physical health and 14 % improvement in psychological health.

Philippe Lucas, Tilray’s Vice-President, Global Patient Research and Access and the study’s lead investigator, concludes that 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.

The Tilray Observational Patient Study is now concluded, and the results are expected to be published in academic journals over the next few months. Tilray is committed to research and understanding of medical cannabis and the therapeutic potential of the plant.

To learn more about International Overdose Awareness Day, please visit