Medicinal cannabis legalized in Ukraine

препараты с каннабисом

Where medical cannabis can be bought

Medical cannabis will not be in the public domain in Ukraine. Drugs based on it are supposed to be dispensed only by electronic prescription. The doctor will prescribe the drug to the patient according to his condition, as well as morphine is prescribed.

The point of the new law on the legalization of marijuana

The adopted law directly prohibits recreational marijuana, which is used solely for pleasure. Its distribution will be still considered a crime and will be prosecuted according to the law.

Photo: results of the Rada vote for the legalization of medical cannabis in the second reading (

What medical cannabis is and how it differs from regular cannabis

Medical cannabis is not the addictive drug marijuana. Hemp contains more than 100 different psychoactive substances – cannabinoids. Only two of them, cannabidiol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are used for medical purposes. Cannabidiol has no narcotic properties, while THC has a slight intoxicating effect.

The difference between medical cannabis and regular cannabis is the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol. Exactly this substance affects the change of consciousness and can cause hallucinations. Regular cannabis can contain between 5% and 35% THC while medical cannabis can contain a maximum of 1%.

Who will be allowed to grow marijuana legally and how

The production of medicines containing cannabis will be strictly controlled at all stages.

“Only legal entities that acquire an appropriate license and GMP certificate will be able to grow, being surveilled around the clock with access for the National Police. Each bush will have its individual code to track all movements of plants to the patient,” – specified the MP Zheleznyak.

Who needs medical cannabis and why

Cannabis-based medicines are used to reduce pain, muscle spasms and cramps, treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders and anorexia. Medical marijuana is also used in the treatment of certain types of epilepsy, psoriasis, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, and parkinsonism. In addition, medical cannabis is used to alleviate the pain and suffering of the severely ill, including people with oncology and HIV.

According to the Minister of Health of Ukraine, almost 15 million people will need psychological support because of the war. At the same time, 3-4 million of them will need medical treatment.

According to a study conducted by scientists of the Canadian University of British Columbia in 2019, the use of medical cannabis for people with PTSD, reduces the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts at four-seven times.

Why business needs marijuana legalization

Pharmaceutical companies will be able to produce new drugs, farmers will have access to a new niche of growing medical as well as industrial hemp. In 2022, there were about 30 companies growing industrial cannabis in Ukraine. Total cultivation amount was about 4,000 hectares, while Ukraine in total has 42 million hectares of agricultural land.

However, there are also chardships. The most suitable region for cannabis cultivation is the south of Ukraine, which has been badly affected by the aftermath of the Kakhovs’ka hydroelectric plant explosion and partially occupied by Russian troops.

The hemp business requires investment and time. It can cost €10-50 million to develop one farm, and the first batches for sale will be in the fourth year.

Legalization of cannabis in Ukraine

So far, attempts to legalize medical cannabis had faced resistance from politicians and society. Generally, due to fears that it would lead to increased use of narcotics

During the local elections in the faitimn of 2020, authorities conducted a poll showing that 65% of citizens support the idea of legalizing cannabis for medical purposes. At least those who agreed to participate in the survey.

The Verkhovna Rada passed adopted the draft law on the legalization of medical marijuana in July 2023.

When the law on the legalization of cannabis will enter into force

The law comes into effect in six months after its publication – this is the second half of 2024. During this time, the government has to develop all by-laws and orders for the law to start working.

On 22 December, six MPs submitted a resolution to the Verkhovna Rada to cancel the decision to adopt in the second reading and in general the bill on the legalization of medical cannabis.

As a result, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada cannot sign the adopted law and pass it to the President for his signature. According to MP Yaroslav Zheleznyak, Parliament will be able to unblock the process no earlier than mid-January 2024. Therefore, the law may become effective next July.

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