— Fewer emotional exhaustion symptoms for doctors, nurses during pandemic, trial suggests

by Judy George

Frontline physicians, nurses, and therapists working with COVID-19 patients had fewer emotional exhaustion symptoms when they were treated with cannabidiol (CBD), the BONSAI randomized clinical trial showed.

Scores on the emotional exhaustion subscale of the Maslach Burnout Inventory substantially decreased at days 14, 21, and 28 among 120 healthcare workers randomized to either CBD 300 mg plus standard care or standard care alone, reported José Alexandre Crippa, PhD, of University of São Paulo in Brazil, and co-authors in JAMA Network Open.

Five participants, all in the CBD group, experienced serious adverse events, including four cases of elevated liver enzymes and one case of severe pharmacodermia, with recovery after treatment was discontinued.

“Cannabidiol may act as an effective agent for the reduction of burnout symptoms among a population with important mental health needs worldwide,” Crippa and colleagues wrote. “However, it is necessary to balance the benefits with potential adverse and undesired effects when making decisions regarding the use of this compound.”

The findings were “consistent with a growing number of placebo-controlled studies in both rodents and humans suggesting that CBD lowers stress-provoked negative emotional states including fear, anxiety, depression, and anger,” observed Michael Telch, PhD, of the University of Texas at Austin, who wasn’t involved with the study.

“What accounts for this multi-emotion dampening? One potential explanation is that CBD appears to directly affect multiple brain targets implicated in stress reactivity, which plays a central role in the activation of emotional dysfunction,” Telch told MedPage Today.

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