A Look at How Canadian Patients are Using Medical Marijuana

Photo Credit: Tilray

Photo Credit: Tilray

As access to medical marijuana continues to grow, but relatively little is known about how to properly dose the medication, it can be helpful to look at how patients have already been using the medication effectively. A 2017 study led by Philippe Lucas, the Vice President of Patient Research & Access at Tilray, and Nick Jikomes, PhD, in partnership with with researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, McMaster University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Victoria, surveyed 2,032 medical marijuana patients across Canada. The median age of patients involved in the survey was 40, and men almost outnumbered women two to one. About 70% of users substituted medical cannabis for prescription medications, with most substitutions replacing opioids (36%), antidepressants (21%), and other pain medications. Lucas explains, “In 610 mentions of opioid medication, 59% of patients stopped using these painkillers completely, and another 18% cut their consumption to a quarter or less… This suggests that cannabis may already be playing a harm-reduction role in the current opioid crisis.” Patients (31%) also used cannabis to reduce tobacco use, and half of those respondents were able to quit tobacco use completely. Additionally, 44% of participants were able to reduce alcohol consumption, and 26% substituted cannabis for illicit drugs.

When it comes to specific conditions being treated with medical cannabis, 38% used cannabis to treat chronic pain, and 40% used cannabis to treat mental health issues, which included but is not limited to anxiety and insomnia. High-CBD strains were the most preferable strains, favored by 14.5% of respondents, and sought after by 50% of extract and concentrate customers. Among the variety of forms and vehicles of administration available to patients, the classic cannabis flower remained the most preferred form by a long shot. About 74% of patients used about a gram and a half of cannabis daily, and the majority of patients still preferred the traditional method of smoking the medication. That said, new methods of cannabis consumption are growing in popularity, ant 47% of patients preferred non-smoking methods of administration, with 31% of those respondents choosing to vaporize their medication. The least popular methods of administration were cannabis juicing, at .2% of respondents choosing this method, and topicals, with only .3% choosing this vehicle.

By journaling daily on the CannaBest Medical app, you are anonymously contributing the growing medical cannabis knowledge base and better understand how patients are using medical marijuana to treat symptoms. With this information, we can better understand how patients are precisely and effectively dosing their medical marijuana, which will offer guidance to other patients with their own regimens and will help physicians with their recommendation moving forward. We thank you for your participation, and hope you continue to use this tool daily so that, collectively, we can help others. This information has been provided in part by Leafly and Tilray, and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.