HealthDay News — During the pandemic, cannabidiol (CBD) therapy reduced symptoms of burnout and emotional exhaustion among health care professionals working with COVID-19 patients, according to a study published online Aug. 13 in JAMA Network Open.

José Alexandre S. Crippa, Ph.D., from the Ribeirão Preto Medical School at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, and colleagues examined the safety and efficacy of CBD therapy for the reduction of emotional exhaustion and burnout symptoms in a randomized clinical trial involving 120 frontline health care professionals working with patients with COVID-19. The efficacy analysis included 118 participants (59 in each arm).

The researchers found that scores on the emotional exhaustion subscale of the Maslach Burnout Inventory were significantly lower at days 14, 21, and 28 in the treatment arm (mean difference, 4.14, 4.34, and 4.01 points, respectively). Serious adverse events were experienced by five participants, all in the treatment group, and included four cases of elevated liver enzymes and one case of severe pharmacodermia. CBD therapy was discontinued in two of these cases (one with critical elevation of liver enzymes and one with severe pharmacodermia); these participants had a full recovery.


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

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; several authors disclosed having patents for compounds including a cannabinoid-containing oral pharmaceutical composition and fluorinated cannabidiol compounds.

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