Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia has left many of its citizens suffering from anxiety, PTSD, and other trauma-related ailments. Could medical cannabis legalization be the key to helping Ukraine’s war-weary citizens?
Beyond the Battlefield, Ukraine’s Faces Tough Road to Recovery
Jasminko Halilovic, the founder of the War child museum, spoke bluntly about the realities of a post-war society. Halilovic told the media that,
“Once The fighting ends, the new fight will start. To rebuild cities. To rebuild schools and infrastructure and to rebuild society. And to heal. And to heal is the most difficult.”
President Volodymyr Zelensky is very aware of the challenges his country will face well after the war is over. So much, in fact, that he believes it’s a moral imperative that the country legalize medical-use cannabis. He told Ukrainian’s Parliament:
“All the world’s best practices, all the most effective policies, all the solutions, no matter how difficult or unusual they may seem to us, must be applied in Ukraine so that you Ukrainians, all of 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.”
Zelensky Takes Action
President Zelensky’s commitment to getting Ukraine medical cannabis goes beyond just words. The president’s cabinet drafted cannabis reform legislation, awaiting Parliament approval. Viktor Liashko told media sources the bill would allow:
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“The circulation of cannabis plants for medical, industrial purposes, scientific and scientific-technical activities to create the conditions for expanding the excess of patients to the necessary treatment of cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from war.”
Russia, of course, very much dislikes this idea. Russia’s Deputy Ministry of Foreign Affairs called cannabis legalization efforts in Canada and the U.S. “matters of serious concern,” saying, “It is worrisome that several member states of the [European Union] are considering violating their drug control obligations.”
How Medicinal Cannabis Can Help Ukraine Heal
Medical cannabis legalization could revitalize mental health efforts in Ukraine. Medical cannabis can help with a multitude of different conditions like; chronic pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, depression, nausea, loss of appetite, headaches, insomnia, and more. More importantly, it can also help with two of the most common conditions associated with war — PTSD and depression.
According to Frontiers in Psychology, “By activating CB1 receptors in the amygdala, cannabis can potentially reduce fear, anxiety, and aversive memories. By stimulating CB1 receptors in the prefrontal cortex, cannabis increases serotonin levels, reducing depression and improving mood, memory, and neurogenesis. Cannabis may also decrease hyperarousal and intrusive memories by activating CB1 receptors in the hippocampus which alleviates PTSD symptoms.
The National Center for PTSD says, “People with PTSD have greater availability of cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors as compared to trauma-exposed or healthy controls (18,19). As a result, cannabis use by individuals with PTSD could produce short-term reductions of PTSD symptoms.