Ukraine President Calls for Medical Cannabis Legalization to Address Mental Health Challenges

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To help the mental health of citizens and soldiers, the president of Ukraine called for more support for medical cannabis legalization in the country.

In a June 28, 2023 speech before a government assembly, Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged more support to pass legislation on medical cannabis (1). Within a set of nine proposed “policy of heroes,” Zelenskyy outlined a plan for mental rehabilitation for soldiers post-war, which included the need for medical cannabis (2).

"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 Ukrainians, all our citizens, do not have to endure the pain, stress, and trauma of war,” said Zelenskyy in his speech (2). “In particular, we must finally fairly legalize cannabis-based medicines for all those who need them, with appropriate scientific research and controlled Ukrainian production.”


Views of medical cannabis to treat mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have reportedly changed since the start of the war in Ukraine (1). Earlier this year it was reported that more than 60% of Ukrainian soldiers suffer from PTSD (1).

A 2021 bill to legalize medical cannabis received approval from the Ukrainian Health Minister last June, but no action has been taken since (1). This original bill–which would have encouraged research, improved palliative care, and helped patients access to treatment for over 50 conditions–was revised in February of 2023 (1).


  1. Sabaghi, D. Zelensky urges Ukraine’s parliament to Legalize Medical Cannabis (accessed Jul 10, 2023).
  2. The victorious Ukraine will be a country worthy of its heroes - president’s speech at the Plenary Session of the verkhovna rada on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution (accessed Jul 10, 2023).