Hey Ukrainians! Are you suffering from PTSD? Well, worry not, because President Zelensky has a solution for at least this problem of yours. Cannabis is the answer, or so the campaigners believe.
As Russia’s invasion leaves more than half the population at risk of PTSD, they argue that liberalizing the law on medical cannabis will be vital to provide relief to those in need.
Ukraine has deteriorated to the point where children as young as five are receiving cannabis-based treatment. It may sound like a joke, but it’s true. Eva, Niya Nikel’s 5-year-old daughter, used to experience up to 100 epileptic seizures every day until she began receiving medicinal cannabis-based treatment three years ago.
“At first, I was hesitant, but now I’m glad I agreed to give it a shot.” Eva is focused, and the number of attacks per day has dropped from 100 to five. “She can go to school and sleep for more than eight hours,” Nikel, the CEO of Epiprosvita, an NGO that supports persons with epilepsy in Ukraine, told POLITICO. Nikel has spent the last five years lobbying for medical cannabis legalization in Ukraine.
Legalisation of Cannabis
On July 13, the Ukrainian parliament passed the first reading of a bill aimed at establishing a lawful domestic medical cannabis business. If passed, it will allow patients suffering from ailments like cancer and PTSD to legally access cannabis-based treatments. The proposed legislation creates a license system for cannabis cultivation and allows health care facilities and entrepreneurs to buy, transport, store, and distribute cannabis-based medicines. Doctors will be able to prescribe them as well.
Interestingly, Ukraine had previously attempted to legalize medical cannabis in 2019, but the Russian invasion seems to have changed the game. “War makes the problem of pain closer to all sections of the population,” says Taras Ratushnyi, activist and co-founder of the state drug policy reform advocacy group Cannabis Freedom March.
According to the Ukrainian health care ministry’s report last year, because of the ongoing war, 57 percent of Ukrainians are at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder. This alarming figure highlights the pressing need for effective solutions to address the mental health challenges faced by the population.
Drugs for War
Not to mention, concerns have been raised earlier about the drug activities and the potential connection of the EU behind the Ukrainian army’s undying energy. Substantial amounts of cocaine and heroin were seized from several countries in Europe. The list also included methamphetamine and amphetamine, potent central nervous system stimulants that have often been used in wars.
Reports from Kherson media indicated that symptoms of amphetamine and methamphetamine use have already been observed in the Ukrainian army. The discovery of these drugs in the war zone underscores how substance abuse is playing a significant role in the ongoing conflict. With Ukraine already moving towards legalizing cannabis as a means to cope with PTSD, it raises questions about how the nation will address drug-related issues moving forward.
While the notion of using cannabis to treat PTSD might raise eyebrows, the desperate need for relief in war-torn Ukraine cannot be ignored. The country is grappling with the aftermath of conflict and the toll it has taken on mental health. And who knows, maybe with a little puff-puff, some of those worries might just go up in smoke.