Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation) – The pandemic has wreaked havoc on mental health including an increase in substance abuse, especially among minorities, and reports of PTSD among healthcare workers. With no end of the pandemic in sight, many healthcare workers are understandably stressed and burned out. The results of a new random clinical trial published this month in Jama Network Open, might offer up an unconventional solution to combat emotional exhaustion and burnout.
Cannabidiol or “CBD”, which works via pain receptors and is an essential component of medical marijuana but is actually derived from hemp, has been one of the hottest health topics in recent years. Makers of supplements with CBD in the ingredients claim their products will cure everything from depression and chronic pain to fatigue and seizures. On the surface, CBD may seem like the proverbial snake oil. However, according to information from Harvard Medical school, there may be some validity to those claims as the FDA has approved CBD derived medicines for certain conditions.
Medical researchers from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, University of Michigan Medical School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and McMaster University in Canada posed the question of whether CBD therapy could reduce emotional exhaustion and burnout among front line physicians, nurses, and physical therapists working with COVID-19 patients.
The main outcome of emotional exhaustion and burnout symptoms were scaled against the Brazilian version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory – Human Services Survey for Medical Personnel guidelines for a period of 28 days. The 120 participants were to receive either 300 mg of CBD and standard treatment, or standard treatment alone.
A total of 5 participants experienced adverse events including elevated liver enzymes and severe pharmacodermia. Two of those with adverse events withdrew from the study but recovered. Of the remaining 118 participants, 66.9 percent were women and the average age was 33.6 years.
Researchers found that by day 14, the level of emotional exhaustion had dropped by an average of 4.14, which ranges from 1.47 to 6.80. By day 21, the average drop in emotional exhaustion was 4.34 points, and by date 28 the average was 4.01 decrease in points.
Overall, the researchers concluded that CBD therapy does reduce symptoms of burnout and emotional exhaustion in frontline healthcare workers, and that potential side effects need should be taken into account.
In another 2018 Brazilian study, researchers concluded that CBD was shown to have anxiolytic, antipsychotic and neuroprotective properties, but that more studies needed to be done on synthetic versions and correct dosages.