Connect with us


Could CBD help frontline staff experiencing burnout and emotional exhaustion?



Frontline workers: A doctor in a white lab coat sits with his head in hands

 A new randomised clinical study examined the effectiveness of CBD for frontline workers experiencing emotional exhaustion and burnout symptoms

It’s been a difficult time for frontline workers who have had to endure the worst of the pandemic. A poll by SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) found that 80 percent of key workers in Aberdeen have been more stressed and anxious as a result of Covid.

They also estimate that younger people in the 25 to 34 age group are the worst affected by this.

A further 28 percent of those surveyed said they didn’t feel they had time to look after their own mental health.

A new study published in JAMA Network Open has examined if CBD could help to reduce the emotional toll of Covid among frontline staff.

The study

The research was conducted in the Ribeirão Preto Medical School University Hospital in Brazil among frontline workers taking care of Covid patients. It consisted of 120 participants who were given 300 mg of CBD in two 150 mg doses per day as well as stand care or standard care alone.

Their emotional exhaustion and burnout symptoms were assessed over a 28 day period. It was assessed through the emotional exhaustion subscale of the Brazilian version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey for Medical Personnel.

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress or anxiety. It can leave a person feeling helpless, hopeless, cynical, resentful and feeling trapped. Other symptoms can include extreme fatigue,  insomnia and depression.

Learn more: 15 percent of remote workers say they used cannabis on the job


While the effects of the CBD on those in the group that received the treatment showed a decrease in symptoms, the study did note some side effects.

A total of 118 frontline workers received the CBD. Their results showed significant score decreases at day 14 (mean difference, 4.14 points; 95% CI, 1.47-6.8), day 21 (mean difference, 4.34 points; 95% CI, 0.94-7.73) and day 28 (mean difference, 4.01; 95% CI, 0.43-7.59) on the scale.

However, five of the patients had side effects including elevated liver enzymes and one case of pharmacodermia. The researchers discontinued the therapy in one case of liver enzymes and the participant fully recovered.

Read more: Could CBD help me sleep?

Further research on frontline workers

José Alexandre S. Crippa, PhD, of the department of neuroscience and behaviour at Ribeirão Preto Medical School, wrote: “Cannabidiol (CBD) is a nonpsychotomimetic phytocannabinoid with a favourable safety and tolerability profile.”

“The drug has been reported to have anxiolytic effects in healthy volunteers and patients with a social anxiety disorder at doses ranging from a single administration of 300 mg to 600 mg to daily administration of 300 mg for 4 weeks. Cannabidiol has also been found to have antidepressant and anti-inflammatory effects in preclinical studies.”

The researchers added: “[CBD] may act as an effective agent for the reduction of burnout symptoms among a population with important mental health needs worldwide.”

“However, it is necessary to balance the benefits with potential adverse and undesired effects when making decisions regarding the use of this compound. Future double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials are needed to assess whether the conclusions drawn from the present study can be more broadly applied.”


Cannabis Health is a journalist-led news site. Any views expressed by interviewees or commentators do not reflect our own. All content on this site is intended for educational purposes, please seek professional medical advice if you are concerned about any of the issues raised.

Copyright © 2023 PP Intelligence Ltd.