CBD Therapy significantly reduced symptoms of burnout among health care professionals working with COVID-19 patients

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The NYT video essay, Death, Through a Nurses Eyes, is an extraordinary look at the plight of nurses who treat Covid patients and who end up suffering from chronic stress and occupational burnout as a result (below).

Something in particular caught my eye: Covid patients die alone; that is, without family – the hospital’s effort to break the chain of transmission. So in place of family we have nurses. Who’ve treated the dying for weeks or months, now holding their hand in the final moments, part of a video call with the family, if it can be arranged.

So understandably when a nurse leaves work, work doesn’t leave them – and they suffer in silence:

We’re the only ones that know what we’re going through. I don’t really want to tell my family about everything because I don’t want them to feel the same emotions that I do. I don’t want them to know that I carry that burden.

A burden they’ve been carrying for two years, come February, along with the rest of the health care workers of the world. Hence the insidious consequences of the virus – you don’t have to have caught it to have been profoundly effected by it.

This is the all important context in which to understand the significance of a study published this June in JAMA that looked into whether CBD therapy could help with burnout in health care workers who treat Covid patients. The short answer is it worked – significantly so.

The study rounded up 118 frontline health care professionals – physicians, nurses, and physical therapists – who worked with Covid patients at a Medical School University Hospital in São Paulo, Brazil.

Each participant had to meet the criteria for occupational burnout syndrome, e.g. low energy or exhaustion, job negativity, and reduced efficiency, and were then randomly divided into 2 matching groups of 59 each.

The control group was given standard care for 4 weeks – occupational supports, moderate exercise, and talk therapy.

The experimental group was also given standard care for 28 days – plus CBD: 150 mg orally, 2x day.

The groups were then assessed for emotional exhaustion, burnout, anxiety, and depression at Days 0 (baseline), 14, & 28.

Result: Unlike the control group, the CBD group had “significant” or “substantial” reductions in all parameters at Day 14 and again at Day 28.

And the researchers pointed to something else of importance: Nothing else seems to work and standard meds can hurt you:

No pharmacological treatment is currently available for the prevention or treatment of burnout symptoms and emotional exhaustion among frontline health care professionals working with patients with COVID-19.

The usual pharmacological treatments for these conditions (antidepressant, anxiolytic, and hypnotic medications) … produce “substantial adverse effects.”

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