Tilray, a medical cannabis leader committed to advancing scientific knowledge of cannabinoids, shared preliminary data today from the Tilray Observational Patient Study (TOPS), a Tilray-sponsored survey of medical cannabis patients using Tilray products currently underway at 18 different medical clinics in five provinces in Canada. As Canada’s largest national medical cannabis longitudinal study, TOPS collects critical data from participating patients that can help shape further research and inform physicians, healthcare providers, and policymakers.

There are currently 1,300 patients enrolled in TOPS. This preliminary data set is based on 573 patients enrolled on or before December 1, 2017 who have completed at least one post-baseline visit. For these patients:

  • Baseline opioid use was reported by 32% of patients (n=179) and dropped to 13.6% (n=30) of total study participants at 6 months.
  • The odds ratio of using opioids relative to baseline was 0.44 at one month, 0.24 at three months and 0.12 at six months (p<0.001).
  • Average mgs per day of opioid use among the 156 patients using opioids at baseline that completed a six-month follow-up dropped from an average of 187.3mgs (SD= 452.7) to 47.9mgs (SD=142.4) per day, a 74.4% decline, with 51.3% of patients ceasing opioid use altogether.

“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, vice-president, patient research and access at Tilray, who is also the lead investigator of TOPS. “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.”

TOPS is not the only Tilray-affiliated study investigating the role of medical cannabis in the opioid dependence crisis. The Tilray-led SOS Study is a multi-site longitudinal study currently underway at Recovery Ottawa studying patients with opioid use disorder who have enrolled in ORT. Medical cannabis is prescribed to half of the study’s participants comparing the effects of ORT between medical cannabis users and non-cannabis users. The goal of the six-month study is to investigate the effectiveness of medical cannabis and cannabis-based extract products as an adjunct to opioid replacement therapy (ORT, Suboxone/methadone), including the impact of medical cannabis on opioid cravings, abstention and treatment adherence/completion rates.