Ukraine Is Finally Legalizing Medical Marijuana
On December 21st, right before Christmas 2023, the parliament of Ukraine finally voted to support the legalization of medical marijuana after a proposal by Prime Minister Denys Smyhal. The bill will regulate marijuana’s use for medical as well as scientific and industrial purposes.
Certainly, Ukraine is among the world’s nations that need the healing benefits of marijuana because of the wreck the war with Russian left them in. Out of the 401 seats in Kyiv’s parliament, 248 seats voted in support of legal weed. The law is expected to be set in motion after 6 months.
Ukraine hasn’t always widely accepted medical marijuana. Just like in many other countries, there was a division amongst those who believed in its benefits while others, who still bought into Reefer Madness, believed that legalizing it would cause weed to proliferate on the streets. Many are still unhappy about the move to legalize, such as the Batkivschchyna parliament faction, which blocked the signing of the bill to legalize weed.
Batkivschchyna and the European Solidarity strongly opposed it; Yulia Tymoshenko, Batkivschchyna’s leader, even said that the faction will make moves to appeal to Ukraine’s Constitutional Court with the intentions of cancelling the vote results. Meanwhile, Irina Herashchenko, co-chair of the European Solidarity, believes that the transcript in the bill was more focused on industrial production instead of medical marijuana usage, and that it required more regulatory input.
Regardless, we expect Ukraine to see the law into effect after the next 6 months.
The use of medical marijuana for treating Ukraine’s soldiers and veterans for PTSD is critical. According to the Kyiv Independent, some 6 million citizens on top of the injured veterans and cancer patients need access to medical marijuana. A September 2022 report released by the Ukrainian healthcare ministry also shared that over 90% of the country’s population has reported suffering from at least one symptom of PTSD due to the Russia-Ukraine war. As if that wasn’t enough, the report also added that 57% more of the population face the risk of PTSD later on.
President Zelensky had always been supportive of legalizing medical marijuana. Last June, he was quoted as saying: “In particular, we must finally fairly legalize cannabis-based medicines for all those who need them, with appropriate scientific research and controlled Ukrainian production.”
Why Ukraine’s Soldiers And General Population Desperately Need Medical Marijuana
In September 2023, it was reported that Ukraine was home to the highest number of people in the world to ever lose limbs during a war. Furthermore, the war will expose all of the country to various psychological traumas caused by war. Only systemic solutions will effectively help improve the quality of people in Ukraine.
The report, by Globsec, also stated: “Since February 24 last year, there have been 25401 air alerts in Ukraine and they lasted for 1819 days, or 43 670 hours. In Kyiv alone, there have been 870 alarms since 24 February that lasted 40 days, or 966 hours. This is only about the general population of Ukraine and does not give special consideration to the particularly traumatic experience of those living under Russian occupation, captured, tortured, deported, etc.,” it reads.
Furthermore, it estimates that around 15 million individuals will require psychological support while up to 4 million more people will need medications to help deal with the mental health issues caused by the war.
Post-traumatic stress disorder and general combat stress can cause individuals to suffer from a wide range of symptoms. These include apathy, depression, fatigue, headaches, excessive worrying, living in chronic fear, flashbacks, nightmares, hypervigilance, and much more – all of which dramatically reduce one’s quality of life. The war veterans, and general population of Ukraine struggle with these because of the Russian-Ukraine war, and cannabis can help.
There have been numerous studies citing the benefits of marijuana for treating PTSD.
In a federal study from 2021 conducted by the Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), researchers dug deeper on the impact of smoked cannabis for PTSD. The veteran participants were given a smoked cannabis blend containing 9% THC, which resulted in favorable results.
“This study served as the first randomized placebo-controlled trial comparing the therapeutic potential of varying ratios of THC and CBD for treating symptoms of PTS,” explains lead author Dr. Marcel O. Bonn-Miller. The study replicated a similar one conducted in 2020, with the former adding placebo control for more accurate results.
In 2017, a nationwide poll was conducted by The American Legion, the biggest vet advocacy group in the United States. The results revealed that 1 in every 5 military vets consumes cannabis, with 22% saying that “use cannabis to treat a mental or physical condition.” Meanwhile, 39% said that they know a vet who uses it for medical purposes while 83% reported they support the legalization of medical marijuana on a federal level.
With a growing acceptance among the military of cannabis’ benefits for PTSD, it has become clear that this is the panacea Ukraine needs to heal as a country and as a people. For most vets who have already begun using marijuana for its therapeutic benefits, there isn’t even anything to debate – cannabis in various forms has been proven to help treat many symptoms associated with PTSD, and can help sufferers to regain some semblance of a better life. (Full Story)