Who Would Buy Acabada’s $125 Sports Bra Infused with CBD?

A CBD-infused sports bra.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Acabada.

The unique torture that is shopping for a sports bra can really only be matched by the struggle to get a sports bra off after a particularly sweaty gym session. For all those tired, poor, spandexed masses out there, the brand Acabada has just the solution. No, they haven’t invented a way to forego heat rash, but they are the first company to infuse sportswear with CBD so that you can at least chill out while wrangling with your polyester.

Acabada’s “ProActiveWear” line, which is overzealously called “The High Life Collection,” includes everything from sports bras to leggings to a jumpsuit. Every single item is infused with up to 25 grams of CBD oil. One of the cheapest pieces, the Lafayette sports bra, runs a cool $125 and, according to the marketing copy, is “for your higher intensity workouts.” It features a “square neckline” and “breathable cut-outs” and is apparently as “functional as it is fashion-forward.” But of course, the unique thing about this bra is not what it looks like but its 4 grams of CBD and their effect on your “high-performance and active lifestyle” that nonetheless leaves you “feeling sore, tired and stressed.”

Using a “cutting-edge technology” called microencapsulation, “microscopic CBD droplets are wrapped in a protective polymer coating” that protects them “from being damaged by evaporation, oxidation and contamination until their release is triggered.” The infused fabrics are then aligned with major muscle groups—in the Lafayette Bra, the CBD patch is on the upper back—and then friction triggers the release of the CBD. What exactly does this do? Well, Acabada is about as clear on that as any other company with a CBD product on the market. In the vague woo-woo language typical of the supplement racket, Acabada promises that its garments help you “feel amazing from the moment that you get dressed and throughout your toughest workout.” But there’s little proof that their products can deliver on that promise.

The big claim of CBD is that, as a cannabinoid, it can provide the “antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, anti-tumor, anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety, and sleep modulating effects” that THC does, but without the psychoactive effects that most people turn to cannabis for. There’s little hard evidence that that’s true, and there’s even less proof that those effects would be experienced if CBD is applied topically. The big issue is that it’s incredibly difficult to create a product that’s potent enough to actually penetrate the skin, but not so potent that it soaks into the bloodstream. In lab studies, participants who reported pain relief from topical CBD were receiving as much as 250 mg a day. That’s 10 times as much as the highest dosage available from a piece in Acabada’s overpriced athleisure line. Not to mention the fact that if whatever garment you buy works as advertised, the stores of CBD will only be depleted the more you wear them.

And how exactly does the CBD not wash away when you inevitably toss your sweaty bra in the washing machine? According to Acabada, the CBD oil lasts through 40 washes. My sportier colleagues informed me that 40 washes would take them through less than half a year. While I’m sure Acabada items don’t disintegrate in the 41st wash, it’s more than a bit absurd the one selling point that theoretically makes this bra worth $125 is moot within six months. But don’t worry, Acabada has you covered: You can send your well-worn, CBD-free bra back to the company and receive … a discount on your next purchase.

Price: $125

Who would buy this thing? A wellness influencer in a sponsored post about her recovery from Burning Man

Previously in Who Would Buy This Thing?: A $258 “nanobag”; upside-down jorts; a $435 tote bag that looks like a trash can