Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signalled his strong support for legalizing medical cannabis in his country – and sooner rather than later.
In his speech at the plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada (unicameral parliament of Ukraine) last week, President Zelenskyy stated best practices, the most effective policies and all the solutions – no matter how ” difficult or unusual” they may appear to Ukrainians – should be implemented.
He stated (translated):
“.. so that Ukrainians, all our citizens do not have to endure the pain, stress, and trauma of war. In particular, we must finally fairly legalize cannabis-based medicines for all those who need them, with appropriate scientific research and controlled Ukrainian production.”
A transcript of the President’s full speech can be accessed here.
As we mentioned back in February this year, the only type of legal cannabis production in Ukraine currently involves seed and fiber from industrial hemp. While industrial hemp by legal definition has very low THC (tetrahydrocannabinol ) levels – it must not exceed 0.08% in Ukraine – hemp can be a source of other therapeutic cannabinoids; particularly CBD (cannabidiol).
There have been moves to boost the incredibly low THC threshold and allowing medical use of cannabis-based products. This would then help open the doors for a local cannabinoid industry benefiting local business and patients.
This isn’t the first time President Zelensky has voiced support for more broadly legalising medicinal cannabis – it was part of his platform during his campaign for the presidency.
Last year, Ukranian Healthcare Minister Victor Liashko noted Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers had supported a bill relating to cannabis plants for medical, industrial purposes, scientific and scientific and technical activities.
“We understand the negative consequences of war on the state of mental health,” Liashko wrote on Facebook (translated). “We understand the number of people who will need medical treatment as a result of this impact. And we understand that there is no time to wait.”
But currently, there are still only three cannabis-based medicines permitted for use in Ukraine – Nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid (THC), Nabiximols, an extract containing THC and CBD, and Dronabinol, another synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol product.