Case Report: cannabidiol as a treatment for mental health outcomes among health care workers during the coronavirus disease pandemic

Authors: Alline C. Campos, RPh, PhD, Antonio Waldo Zuardi, MD, PhD, José Alexandre S. Crippa, MD, PhD

Citation: Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology • Volume 41, Number 3, May/June 2021


Who Was It? Adult “second-line” healthcare workers in Brazil, meaning they did not work directly with COVID patients, but worked in administrative, research and teaching positions at a hospital during the peak of the COVID pandemic between July and November 2020. All were experiencing workplace stress and met the criteria for “occupational burnout”, and all spontaneously sought treatment at the psychiatric outpatient unit of the hospital which is where study recruitment took place. 


What Was Done? The volunteer subjects consumed two doses of 165mg of oil-based CBD isolate (dissolved in a medium chain triglyceride) twice a day over four weeks. Outcome measures included symptoms of burnout, depression, anxiety, and insomnia, and were assessed at multiple time points: baseline; 1, 2 and 3 weeks during treatment; and at 6 and 8 weeks post-treatment.


What Happened? Emotional exhaustion, anxiety, depression, and insomnia all improved with CBD treatment. The time course for improvement in each outcome was variable. There was only one subject who experienced mild gastrointestinal distress as a side effect.


Fringe Commentary: In this case report, treatment with CBD was highly effective at reducing symptoms of emotional exhaustion, depression, anxiety and insomnia in second line healthcare workers experiencing occupational burnout. While the dose of CBD taken was quite high (330mg/day across two doses), it was oil-based, which has an absorption rate of only 6-24%. Fringe CBD is water soluble, which is approximately 4.5 times more bioavailable. That means that an equivalent dose of Fringe CBD would be approximately 74mg/day, or 37mg twice per day. Because this study did not explore a range of doses, we don’t know whether lower doses would be as effective, but it is possible that a 30mg stick pack of Fringe Mana or Henko would be sufficient to achieve the same outcomes. Gastrointestinal side effects are also less likely to occur with Fringe water soluble CBD, as these side effects are likely due to suspension in MCT oil, which is known to cause GI upset in some people. 

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