By / October 2, 2019

What to expect from medical cannabis in Ukraine

Those who support medical cannabis in Ukraine see the bill as a step in improving the treatments.

There have been many studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of cannabis for medical purposes.

Medicine based on cannabis can be useful for multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome.

Additionally, it can be used for the treatment of side effects during chemotherapy in oncology and side effects associated with the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

The status of the use of medical cannabis in Ukraine may change dramatically if the deputies of Verkhovna Rada adopt the draft law №10313 “On Ensuring the Fundamental Right to Life”.

The bill will be considered by Parliament on July 11, 2019. In this article, we will consider the changes that come with medical cannabis in Ukraine.

Understanding the laws of cannabis in Ukraine

Plants of the cannabis genus contain active substances called cannabinoids. The most studied cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and (cannabidiol).

THC has a pronounced psychotropic effect.  We should note that the bill on cannabis in Ukraine proposes to allow the use of CBD-containing plants.

These plants must contain a minimum amount of THC but only for medical and scientific purposes. However, the circulation of varieties with a high content of THC remains prohibited.


The draft law does not contain the term “medical cannabis”, which is widely used in the press and in everyday communication.

Instead, the document mentions plants that do not contain narcotic substances in dangerous quantities. These include cannabis plant varieties whose THC when dried, does not exceed 0.08%.

What is the current situation in Ukraine with regard to cannabis trafficking?

The main international instrument governing narcotic drugs in Ukraine is the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961.

The Convention permits the use of narcotic drugs for medical and scientific purposes. Despite the fact that Ukraine has been a party to the Convention since 2001, the use of cannabis in Ukraine for medical and scientific purposes is not provided.

In Ukraine, cannabis plants can only be used for industrial purposes. However, the application of hemp has a very wide spectrum.

People make clothes from hemp and prepare hemp oil. Additionally, it’s also possible to make paper that is much more economical and effective than paper from a tree. Cosmetics also contain hemp.

Hemp cultivation for industrial purposes in Ukraine

Having cannabis in Ukraine isn’t always illegal. Hemp cultivation for industrial purposes is allowed under the following:

  1. If they have the appropriate license and within certain quotas.
  2. By means of application of conditioned and reproductive seeds entered into the Register of Plant Varieties of Ukraine of the first and second reproduction of hemp.
  3. If they provide management and protection of crops, as well as places of storage and processing of these plants, established by legislation.

Administrative liability includes a fine of 425 UAH to 850 UAH, or community service for a period of 20 to 60 hours.

This also includes an administrative arrest for up to 15 days for the illegal handling of cannabis in small quantities (up to 5 g) without the purpose of sale.

What changes does the draft law on medical cannabis propose?

First of all, the bill has to:

  • Provide patients with access to cannabis-based medications which are now illegal because of government drug trafficking policies;
  • To allow prescribers to use products containing phytocannabinoids that do not cause drug abuse, and to allow the use of such products in medical practice;
  • Regulate the legal cultivation and use of cannabis plants for industrial, scientific and medical purposes;
  • Remove liability for legal activities in the field of turnover of cannabis plants that do not contain THC in dangerous quantities;
  • Introduce appropriate conditions for scientific research on cannabinoids, as well as their use for educational purposes;
  • Resolve the issue of movement, including the export and import of products containing cannabinoids that have no narcotic effect.

Changes for citizens in Ukraine

Ukrainians will be able to grow cannabis plants for their own medical purposes, but with certain restrictions.

The bill allows people with health problems to cultivate medical cannabis. This contains small quantities of cannabis, under the following conditions:

  • in the number of no more than four plants;
  • inclosed ground conditions (i.e. in greenhouses);
  • only for its own medical use based on a medical report and a prescription from a doctor.
Ukrainians will be able to grow cannabis plants for their own medical purposes, but with certain restrictions. (Source)

However, such cultivation by individuals is not subject to licensing and does not require a permit from the Garda Síochána.

(Featured image by Max Kukurudziak via Unsplash)

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