I love my CBD. It’s my new go-to solution for my various aches and pains. I’ve swallowed CBD-infused chocolate, I’ve taken CBD oil under my tongue, and I’ve slathered it as a cream over my sore limbs.
But wear it? Not until now.
Acabada ProActiveWear claims to be the “world’s first CBD-infused activewear,” and I gladly took its offerings out for a trial run. I was by far the hippest-clad human in my Pilates class. My pricey white and black sports bra was well-made with a minimalist industrial chic vibe. I paired it with matching motorcycle-inspired black and white leggings, and felt like the cool girl—which was good, because the day was hot and the class was hotter. An hour of intense upper body work and deep core routines finished off with many, many lunges left me sweaty and beat. With the exception of one eye-popping cleavage spillover (my issue, not the bra’s), the clothes worked great, looked great, and felt great. For $285, I’d expect no less.
But I was still achy and sore.
Acabada claims that their fabrics are infused with “microscopic CBD droplets” made from a “CBD isolate.” These droplets are “embedded into the multilayers of the fibers” and are released through “friction” to “strategically placed…muscle groups.”
Perhaps more time was needed. I decided to give the clothes a few more hours to work their magic. I kept the outfit on and went about the rest of my day.
CBD, the current darling of the wellness marketing world, is one of many chemical compounds called cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. CBD, or cannabidiol, is non-intoxicating—unlike THC. CBD is said to offer pain relief, reduce inflammation, anxiety and depression, and combat nausea.
Yes, the industry is booming. You can find CBD in oils, tinctures, and vape cartridges, in lotions, and in many edible and drinkable forms from water and sodas to cookies and cereals. It’s everywhere! It’s also unregulated. You don’t always know what you’re buying, and some claims are dubious at best.
I called Tess Schoenbart, RN, BSEd, and president of the Rossmoor Medical Marijuana Club in Walnut Creek, CA, who has helped educate thousands of people on cannabis. When I asked her about the efficacy of wearing CBD clothing, she reacted with a few moments of polite silence. Then she burst out laughing. “How is it supposed to do anything?” she wondered. She explained that there are basically three ways CBD can enter the body: via inhalation, ingestion, and topically. Of these three, she says, inhalation works the quickest while ingestion lasts the longest. Absorption through the skin is the least effective delivery method (except directly over bone or via a transdermal patch), and even the best salves, she says, can “only be absorbed through the top three layers of the skin.” As for wearing it, “I can’t figure out any medically valid way the body would absorb enough to give any symptom relief.”
She noted that the company does not say where the CBD is sourced or how it’s processed. And she frowned on their use of a CBD isolate. “By far the most effective way to take CBD is full-spectrum, which includes terpenes and the entire array of cannabinoids.”
“It’s the Wild West out there,” she said before hanging up.
I reached out to Acabada a few times for comment. No one replied. Two more hours passed. Nada. A cannabinoid void. The bra looked cool, but my calves, quads, traps, and other muscles still ached. I reached for my usual full-spectrum CBD sublingual oil and put a dropperful under my tongue, and relief was on its way.