CBD Helps Treat Emotional Exhaustion and Burnout, Study Finds


Healthcare professionals treating Covid-19 patients had fewer symptoms related to emotional exhaustion and burnout after daily CBD treatment, according to a clinical trial published in Jama Psychiatry

The study helps further academic understanding of how CBD and cannabinoids may be used to treat a wide range of mood and mental health-related symptoms. 


The open-label BONSAI trial used 120 volunteer physicians, nurses, and physical therapists who were treating patients at the Ribeirão Preto Medical School University Hospital in São Paulo, Brazil. Between June and November of 2020, researchers split the group in two and gave each one of two treatment options for 28 days. Half the group took 150 mg of CBD via oral tincture twice a day, while receiving treatments called Standard Care. The other half of the group only received Standard Care and did not consume any CBD products. 

The Standard Care treatment consisted of motivational and informative videos about the importance of low-impact physical exercise. It also included weekly mental-health sessions with psychiatrists, and several work-related adjustments, such as additional Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), more flexible work hours, and regular Covid-19 testing. The hospital also hired additional staff and created a new outpatient treatment unit. The goal of all of these changes was to test the effectiveness of the CBD alongside the other stress-relieving elements. 

Researchers overseeing the clinical trial gathered self-reported data using the Emotional Exhaustion Subscale (EES). This EES is the Brazilian version of a standardized survey known as the “Maslach Burnout Inventory” (MBI). The MBI assesses three factors in calculating overall wellbeing: Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, and Personal Accomplishment. 

The score ranges from 0-54 points, with a higher number indicating a greater level of emotional exhaustion. There were also other secondary surveys that tested for factors such as anxiety and depression. 


The published findings showed that scores on the Emotional Exhaustion Subscale decreased dramatically among the participants receiving CBD treatment. These participants also reported a lower number of feelings associated with anxiety and depression. 

The group that did not receive any CBD, but were still given access to the Standard Care treatment, also saw a drop in scores on the EES. While the change was smaller than the CBD group, it was still substantial. 

Among the participants, 67 percent were women, and 55 percent were nurses. They all worked in an ICU, emergency department, or hospital ward. Researchers collected blood samples from all 120 members every seven days in order to track any physiological changes. 

The authors of the clinical trial were optimistic about what the findings mean for CBD medical applications. However, they acknowledged the trial had some faults. It did not have double-blind placebo-controls, and it occurred over a relatively short period in a limited area.

Despite that, the findings were consistent with a growing number of placebo-controlled studies that strongly suggest CBD lowers stress and reduces the onset of negative emotional states. 

While there are still many questions surrounding CBD, this trial is another seemingly positive step for the compound. 

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