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Legalization of medical cannabis: about necessity, risks, manipulations and alternatives


You can buy oils, juices, seasonings, cosmetics or, having issued the appropriate permits, independently grow bezshashnyh varieties of therapeutic orientation and heal or heal on a permanent basis. In addition, in Ukraine there is an experience when appropriate conductors and catalysts are added to the green mass of the plant, and the resulting substance, which excludes extraction (currently prohibited by law), is extremely effective in treating very serious, including chronic diseases. There are documented examples in Ukraine of the treatment of inoperable forms of cancer and persons with the fourth (terminal) stage of cancer.

To legalize medical cannabis - this offer, supported by Ulyana Suprun about a week ago, caused a huge resonance in the network: thousands of reposts, even more likes and comments. This idea seems to have liked everyone. Is there really a need to legalize medical cannabis, is there an alternative, which risks and why the decision has not yet been taken.

What and why Ulyana Suprun offered?

A social network post that has already collected more than five thousand widgets in. at. The healthcare minister began by saying that the use of drugs, even for medical purposes, is a complicated topic that is easy to manipulate. At the same time, Ulyana Suprun emphasized that the use of cannabis in medicine is a normal world practice, and access of patients to drugs based on it is the realization of their right to medical care.

"The use of narcotic substances for any purpose, even in medical, is a complex issue. Therefore, it is easy to manipulate, even when it comes to vital help to patients.

Medical cannabis helps to relieve the suffering of patients and normalize the state of health in a number of serious diseases and conditions. Therefore, using it in medicine, of course with certain reservations, is a normal world practice.

Medical cannabis has many proven therapeutic and palliative effects, and is permitted, for example, in 25 US states, Australia, Canada; Its use has long been regulated in many European countries. In Israel, Romania, Macedonia and Puerto Rico, cannabis is banned, but permitted in cases of incurable diseases.

As for Ukraine, we completely prohibit the use of medical cannabis for medical and scientific purposes. Although the use of such drugs would help nearly two million people suffering from chronic pain and other disorders

The access of patients to drugs based on cannabis is the realization of their right to medical care. It is important to support the legalization of the use of medical cannabis for scientific purposes and medicine, "Uliana Suprun convinced.

Is there really a need for medical cannabis?

Gennady Shabas, expert of the NGO "Ukrainian Association of Medical Can Biss", emphasized that there is a scientifically confirmed effect of cannabinoids in the treatment of a number of serious diseases. Thus, the legalization of medical cannabis can significantly alleviate the suffering of patients.

"When we say" medical cannabis, "we mean medications in different pharmaceutical forms that combine the active ingredient used - these are cannabinoids and other active components of cannabis, according to the WHO report, they open about 500. These components, together or isolated, interact with cannabinoid receptors in the human body, which determines the therapeutic effect of a number of diseases. In our demands, we rely on the scientifically proven effect of cannabinoids in the treatment of chronic pain, epilepsy, anorexia, posttraumatic syndrome, immune system diseases, arthritis and rheumatism, asthma, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Gettington's Cholesterol, Herpes, Sores, Weight Loss During AIDS , diabetic neuropathy, various forms of multiple sclerosis and many other serious illnesses.

Under the legalization of medical cannabis, it should be understood literally the adoption of a law that establishes rules for controlled limited circulation for the production of such medical products and professional support for their use. The law will provide access to medical drugs for medical patients under the supervision of doctors ", - the expert believes.

Lyudmila Goncharuk, assistant of the Department of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases of the Higher State Educational Institution "Bukovina State Medical University", today medical cannabis is indeed widely used in many countries. As for Ukraine, experts emphasize: the need for legalization is really, because the use of medical cannabis can ease the suffering of seriously ill Ukrainians and become a step towards the civilized standards of other developed countries.

"Today, medical cannabis is successfully used in 29 states of the United States, Uruguay, Canada, Israel and some European countries (Lithuania, Poland, etc.). However, it is necessary to keep in mind the UN convention, where cannibis is blacklisted.

What is cannabis? This is a plant whose whole leaves are hemp, shredded parts - marijuana. The main component of the hemp - tetrahydrocanabiool, which has a psychotropic effect on the human brain. In addition to it, there is also a cannabidyl that has a healing effect.

Ukrainian patients today have no legal right to such treatment. Although, scientists and the medical community asks for the legalization of cannabis for the first time.

There is a well-known practice of effective use of medical cannabis in idiopathic epilepsy, oncological diseases, AIDS and others.

There is a well-known practice of effective use of medical cannabis in idiopathic epilepsy, oncological diseases, AIDS and others.

In Ukraine, more than 50 thousand children with different forms of epilepsy. In neighboring Poland, cannabis, which, incidentally, was recently sanctioned by society, effectively reduces convulsive attacks with this nosology. The number of cancer patients in Ukraine is about 1 million. Treatment of these patients is often accompanied by side effects such as nausea, vomiting, pain, insomnia, and fear. Literary sources indicate the expedient use of cannabis to facilitate the condition and improve the quality of life of patients.

The prospect is the introduction of medical cannabis into the list of narcotic drugs, the circulation of which is limited. For example, the use of morphine or amphetamine, which clearly developed the system of prescribing these drugs. This is a prerequisite for the relief of the suffering of seriously ill Ukrainians, an important step towards the civilized standards used by developed countries ", - the doctor is convinced.

However, commenting on the use of medical cannabis, in. at. The Minister of Health stressed that the drug may have side effects, and therefore the physician should weigh the benefits and risks of his intake.

"Medical cannabis also has side effects: dizziness, indifference, memory and addiction, effects on cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Of course, before any appointment, the physician will weigh the benefits and risks of using and prescribes the intake of such drugs only when necessary, "Suprun added.

Alexander Ihnatyuk, president of the association "Ukrainian Technological Hemp", on the contrary, believes that the number of patients who need medical cannabis is actually exaggerated.

"The initiators of the appeal to the Verkhovna Rada expressly state that in our country hemp-based medicines require about 2 million patients. This figure is exactly overpriced. For comparison, in Israel (8.9 million people), where more than 20 years of active use of medical cannabis and drugs on its basis, cannabinoid therapy is used only about 25-30 thousand patients. In the European Union and Canada, the number of patients who use the therapeutic properties of hemp or drugs based on them is consistent with Israeli figures. But this is not 2 million citizens, which are referred to in the Ukrainian petition ", - said Alexander Ignatyuk.

How to legalize, have they tried to do it before?

According to Gennady Shabas, attempts to legalize medical cannabis have already been, but the initiators of the bill did not finalize their idea, so everything needs to work again. But about the situation as of today: it is legally impossible not only to use drugs for cannabis in Ukraine, but even scientific research.

"Now the legal status of cannabis makes it impossible not only to manufacture and register medicines on its basis, but also to conduct scientific research. Requires changes to a number of laws and regulations to make limited circulation feasible and to ensure effective control of such a move.

The need for these changes has been documented in the State Drug Policy Strategy, which deals with scientific studies of cannabinoids, as analgesics and other drugs.

The first attempt to implement this point of the state strategy in life took place in 2016, when the bill number 4533 was registered. However, it was not timely processed by people's deputies, it is out of date and needs to be finalized, "explained the expert of the NGO" Ukrainian Association of Medical Canbis ".

Political scientist Vladislav Serdyuk, on the other hand, believes that the legalization of medical cannabis can alleviate the life of drug importers. In turn, the expert suggests not legalizing, but decriminalizing the consumption of medical cannabis.

"I am not a supporter of the legalization of medical cannabis, because I believe that the final beneficiaries will not be patients, but people who import drugs to Ukraine. The main task of drug importers is to legalize their carriage in any possible way. But our task is not to facilitate the lives of importers through the legalization of the supply of drugs to Ukraine?

A more adequate solution would be to decriminalize the consumption of cannabis. This will allow the end user (including the patient) to avoid problems with the law, but will not regulate the supply of drugs to Ukraine. Together with decriminalization, its consumption can be argued with medical indications, which means that everyone, except for drug dealers, will benefit from it.

Of course, it should be understood that the final word on this issue lies with the Ministry of the Interior, which should give "good" to the legislators and declare that after legalization they will take control of the situation. Otherwise, this question will not find its answer in the form of a legislative act ", - says Serdyuk.

Alexander Ihnatyuk is completely different point of view. In his opinion, the question of the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes should be considered positively, but this does not mean that the legislative framework needs to be changed to the requirements of companies from other countries, since Ukraine has sufficient technical varieties of hemp, the use of which is not only more accessible financially, but and more productive.

"The question of amending the legislative framework, according to which the therapeutic properties of hemp will be used not only in industrial, but also for scientific and medical purposes, should be considered positively. But it is not necessary to change the legislative base in the interest of foreign companies lobbying the opening of the market for products of dubious quality. Ukraine has developed technical varieties of therapeutic hemp, the use of which yields a better result at a much lower price than the pharmaceutical preparations imposed on us from abroad.

How successful is the treatment of cannabis? Speaking about the national practice of treating leaves and inflorescences of technical hemp of therapeutic relevance, it is extremely effective. You do not need to buy extraordinarily expensive foreign drugs based on hemp extract. You can buy oils, juices, condiments, cosmetics, or, having drawn up appropriate permits, independently grow non-aggressive varieties of therapeutic orientation and on a permanent basis be healed or treated. In addition, there is an experience in Ukraine where appropriate plants and catalysts are added to the "green mass" plant, and the extracorporated substance (currently prohibited by law) is extremely effective in the treatment of extremely severe, including chronic diseases. There are documented examples of treatment of inoperable forms of cancer and persons with the fourth (terminal) stage of cancer in Ukraine.

At present, there is no need to focus on making changes to the laws of Ukraine - it is extremely long and ineffective. There is a much simpler and more effective way - to make changes to the key resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers, in which the use of hams and hens for inflorescence for industrial purposes, in dried straw whose content of tetrahydrocannabinol does not exceed 0.08 per cent. Experience has shown that the CPMU is being reviewed and taken within 4-5 months. In fact, in the event of a similar change from July 2019, citizens of our country can be treated with the help of the "green mass" of technical hemp of therapeutic purpose, and from April 2020, whoever wants, will be able to grow non-gash varieties that have a significant therapeutic effect in that case , if you make necessary in such cases permission documentation. Immediately I emphasize that there are no particular difficulties with the execution of relevant documents. There is a procedure, according to which within a month interested in the subjects of management for many years, prepare the relevant documentation ", - the expert believes.

Are there any risks in legalizing medical cannabis?

Gennadiy Shabas, commenting on this question, stressed that most fears and reservations arise because of the banal misunderstanding of the mechanism for the legal circulation of cannabis.

"I personally would like to hear arguments against, but still I was not lucky enough to hear them. Instead, warnings and fears are voiced, usually the reason is that people do not fully understand the mechanism for creating a legal circulation for cannabis. The reservations relate to the majority of patients who have access to treatment. And fears - before the state can control this process. But in this and the task of the law - to establish adequate restrictions and effective control ", - the expert believes.

In the fact that risks do not really exist, Dmitriy Synchenko, chairman of the NGO "Association of Political Sciences" is convinced. According to him, legalization will only allow sick patients to receive the necessary medication, but those who use cannabis in non-medical purposes will continue to do so, regardless of the decisions of the authorities.

"In my opinion, there are no risks. Patients will receive effective drugs, and those who have used cannabis for non-medical purposes will continue to do so, regardless of the legalization of medical cannabis. And the fact that marijuana, in contrast to, among other things, tobacco and alcohol, not to mention other drugs, is not addictive, gives assurance that the risks "to turn Ukrainians into drug addicts" does not exist at all, "- adds the expert.

What manipulations should I expect?

Reflecting on the legalization of medical cannabis, Ulyana Suprun assured that in the context of this issue there might be a lot of manipulation. But Gennadiy Shabas told that certain manipulations begin with understanding the very term "drugs", because in reality it is not only that which kills but also what heals people.

"Drugs are a word that, in the last century, has become a kind of scam boggling, and it's a scary thing to do, because drugs kill people. In the meantime, narcotic drugs save people while in legal circulation as vital medicines. In English in general, the word drugs at the same time means both drugs and medical devices. With the illicit trafficking being waged, the struggle, and legal - provides access to drugs for those who need it. The essence of effective state drug policy is to strike a balance between these things, but this is an area for expert discussion, it makes no sense to make a nationwide discussion. The question of whether it is humane to give pain to the patient is not resolved in referendums, "- said the expert.

Instead, Dmitry Sinchenko does not rule out manipulations, and against Ulyana Suprun himself, in particular in the form of allegations of "supposing Ukrainians to drugs". Despite the international experience and the fact that Suprun itself has become a symbol of one of the most successful reforms in the country.

"Manipulation is not hard to predict: obviously, Ms. Ulyan is accused of wanting to feed Ukrainians with drugs and finally breaking their" spiritual scratches ". And when they talk about emotion - logic will remain silent. And it will be indifferent to everyone that medical cannabis is permitted in Canada, Israel, Lithuania, and even in a very conservative Poland. Just as indifferent to the benefits of medical reform embodied by Uliana Suprun, which today has become, without exaggeration, a symbol of one of the most successful Ukrainian reforms ", - explained Sinchenko.

So why the question has not yet been resolved?

According to Dmitry Synchenko, the continuation of discussions around this topic is explained by several reasons. In particular, it is about the traditions of the Soviet era, shadow drug trafficking and the conservatism of Ukrainians themselves.

"There are several factors that play the role here. First, this is a tradition, or even inertia, since the Soviet era. And we began to abandon most of the Soviet traditions only after 2014, and this process was not only completed, but only gaining momentum, so much of all "Soviet" inherited our state, and so conservative was our state leadership.

Secondly, the shadow drug business is not interested in interfering the state in its sphere. Moreover, "law enforcement officers" who are not interested in this, who "crush" the illegal circulation of narcotic substances in Ukraine, in particular marijuana.

Thirdly, Ukrainian voters are extremely conservative. They do not see any problem in tobacco smoking or intake of alcohol, which is much more dangerous to health than smoking marijuana. However, it is sharply negative both to cannabis and to all other prohibited narcotic substances. Ukrainians, mostly older, rarely think that morphine and amphetamine have been used for medical purposes for a long time, but are afraid of legalization of cannabis even for medical purposes, because of stereotypical thinking ", - the chairman of the NGO" Association of Political Sciences "emphasizes.

Gennady Shabas is convinced that the issue is not really debatable - it has long been a scientific consensus. Moreover, Suprun is not the first head of the ministry with a similar position. On the hindrance to legalization, according to a specialist, there is a lack of a public inquiry and discussion of the algorithm for solving the problem.

"I would say that there is a long-standing consensus on this issue. There is a scientific consensus - scientists have been asking the government for two years to carry out scientific research. There is consensus among physicians - it exists even at the level of head of the Ministry of Health of different years, and at least two predecessors Ulyana Suprun in this position share her position on medical cannabis. The issue still has been hampered by the excessive sensitivity of this issue and the lack of a clearly formulated request from civil society. 

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