Ukraine is very close to legalising cannabis to help soldiers, citizens cope with the trauma of war

Ayaan Paul
Ayaan PaulJul 14, 2023 | 17:16

Ukraine is very close to legalising cannabis to help soldiers, citizens cope with the trauma of war

Ukraine has achieved a significant milestone by legalizing medical cannabis, offering much-needed support to soldiers and citizens grappling with the aftermath of war. This progressive decision acknowledges the potential of cannabis in treating conditions such as PTSD and chronic pain.

The recent passing of a bill to legalise medical cannabis in Ukraine represents a groundbreaking leap forward for the country, particularly for individuals who have endured physical and psychological harm as a result of the war. This development marks a significant shift in attitudes towards cannabis, considering that a similar bill was defeated just a few years ago.



The conflict with Russia has left a devastating impact on Ukraine, resulting in a significant number of casualties and a high prevalence of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among both civilians and soldiers.

krainian medics from the 5th assault brigade treat a wounded Ukrainian serviceman at a stabilisation point, in an undisclosed area, near Bakhmut, Donetsk region. Photo: Getty Images
  • According to the World Health Organization, an estimated quarter of the Ukrainian population and 60% of its soldiers may be suffering from depression or PTSD due to the war. As mental health services have been prioritizing trauma units, alternative treatments are urgently required.

Why cannabis?

Medical cannabis has demonstrated its potential in alleviating pain and symptoms associated with PTSD, making it a promising solution for those affected by the war. Legalizing medical cannabis will provide soldiers and civilians with a safer alternative to prescription opioids, which can be addictive and have harmful side effects.

With strong support and the backing of President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine is taking the lead in establishing a regulated framework for cultivation, distribution, and prescription of medical cannabis. The country sets an exemplary precedent for other nations to follow.


The bill proposed by the Ministry of Health outlines several important provisions:

  • It establishes a licensing system for the cultivation of cannabis strains specifically intended for medical purposes that ensures that the production of medical cannabis is regulated and monitored to maintain quality and safety standards.
  • The implementation of a unique barcode system enables comprehensive tracking throughout the supply chain, ensuring that the medication is traceable and accounted for.
  • Access to cannabis-based medications will be restricted to patients with a valid prescription from a qualified medical professional based on a relevant medical diagnosis that ensures that medical cannabis is used appropriately and under the supervision of healthcare professionals, promoting responsible and controlled usage.

The support for the bill in Ukraine's parliament and the expressed endorsement from President Volodymyr Zelensky indicate a growing recognition of the potential benefits of medical cannabis. This legislation not only provides a potential solution for the physical and mental health challenges faced by soldiers and civilians affected by the war but also opens the door for further research and development in the field of medical cannabis.


In addition to its significant impact on the well-being of those affected by the war, Ukraine's move towards legalizing medical cannabis also serves as great public relations for the broader decriminalization of cannabis.

Great cannabis PR

By acknowledging the therapeutic potential of cannabis and taking steps to regulate its medical use, Ukraine is challenging the stigma surrounding cannabis and promoting a more evidence-based approach to drug policy.

The legalization of medical cannabis demonstrates a shift towards a more compassionate and progressive stance on drug regulation. It sends a message that Ukraine is open to exploring alternative treatments and recognizing the medical benefits of cannabis. 

This positive step forward can contribute to changing public perceptions about cannabis, challenging outdated stereotypes, and promoting a more informed and nuanced discussion around drug decriminalization. As Ukraine joins the growing number of countries that have embraced medical cannabis, it becomes part of a global trend towards acknowledging the therapeutic potential of the plant. 

By using medical cannabis as a starting point, Ukraine may pave the way for broader discussions on drug decriminalization and regulation in the future. 

The positive PR generated by this step could lead to more open and informed debates about the overall approach to cannabis and other controlled substances, encouraging evidence-based policies that prioritize public health and harm reduction.

Last updated: July 14, 2023 | 17:16
    Please log in
    I agree with DailyO's privacy policy