Alternative and Complimentary Medication Use in Singers: A Pilot Survey

Published:October 18, 2022DOI:



      Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient in marijuana that has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties. It's therapeutic potential and accessibility has made the product popular. Over the counter products (OTC) products have also demonstrated therapeutic potential and have been accessible in public markets for a long time. The objective was to better understand the use of CBD and OTC products amongst singers with varying singing styles.


      An anonymous online survey was distributed to 1053 singers via The Research Electronic Data Capture (RED-Cap) program in association with Drexel University. The survey aimed to obtain information regarding singing proficiency, styles, if respondents used CBD/OTC products, reasons for use, perceived effects on the voice due to use of these products, and how informed were they in regards to use of these products.


      From 1053 singers, we obtained 144 respondents (response rate of 13.7%). The average age of respondents was 51.8 years; There were 47 males, 93 females, and four who were nonbinary or preferred not to provide their gender. The majority of respondents (63.2%) were professional singers. Primary singing styles included operatic (18.1%), sacred (20.8%), and musical theater (20.1%). Eighty-seven point five percent of respondents reported warming up before singing and 22.9% reported cooling down after singing. Thirteen respondents reported use of a cannabidiol (CBD) product. Information resources for CBD used primarily came from an online website (38.5%). Among the 13 respondents who reported use of CBD products, 46.2% of these respondents did not notice any positive effects and 46.2% reported no negative effects on the voice when using CBD products. Eighty-two respondents (56.9%) reported use of an OTC, supplement, or alternative medicine product. Majority received Information resources from a physician or other healthcare provider (81.7%). The most frequently reported OTC or complimentary medications used were reflux medications, antihistamines, acetaminophen, and NSAIDs. Reduced inflammation, improved voice recovery, improved voice quality, and improved voice endurance were commonly reported positive effects on the voice with OTC/AM use. Vocal strain, hoarseness, and dryness were the most commonly reported negative effects on the voice with OTC/AM use.


      Stress, anxiety, or chronic pain was often the primary reason for CBD use amongst singers. The most common OTC medications were used reflux medications, antihistamines, acetaminophen, and NSAIDs.

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