People have been enjoying the therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) products for many years as a non-psychoactive alternative to THC. Stress, anxiety, pain relief and insomnia are among the most common issues alleviated by CBD.
Traditionally, CBD is consumed in oils, gummy candies and beverages. However, there’s a new delivery method on the block – clothing. No, it’s not edible clothing; it’s clothing infused with CBD designed to absorb into the skin topically.
While cannabidiol is traditionally incorporated into topical products like lotions, creams and salves, infusing it into clothing is completely new. With topical products readily available, the big question consumers have is “why use clothing?”
Is CBD clothing just a marketing gimmick?
Is there a benefit to having trace amounts of CBD absorbed into your skin for long periods of time? Or is it a money-making gimmick? Without scientific studies, it’s hard to know for sure.
Manufacturers aren’t providing consumers with test results to prove the effectiveness oftheir products. Still, you can buy CBD-infused clothing items like:
- Pajama sets (top and bottom)
- Crew socks
- No-how socks
- Copper compression gloves
These items can be found online with a high price tag – much higher than the cost of topical CBD. Products tend to have around 150mg of CBD per item, which makes $140+ for a pajama set outrageous. The same amount of CBD in a salve should cost $50 or less.
Why CBD clothing isn’t as strange as it sounds
At first glance, it sounds strange to wear clothing to absorb a substance into your skin. However, there are practical applications and people are seeing positive results.
Blogger Dante Jordan from Leafly published a full review of the CBD-infused wearable products he tested and the results were positive. Expecting the products to be useless, Jordan tested some compression sleeves made by Nufabrx and was surprised when they gave him relief.
The medicated compression sleeves Jordan tested are advertised as being helpful for “temporary pain relief of minor aches and pains or muscles and joints associated with simple backache, arthritis, strains, bruises and sprains.”
To test the products, Jordan headed out to the gym wearing elbow and knee sleeves. He was able to work out for a full hour without any pain where his body was compressed with the sleeves. Normally, his left knee would become sore after just 30 minutes.
He even said his elbows and knees felt “loosey goosey” in a way that was superior to any other sleeves he’s used in the past.
Jordan did note that the sleeves contain capsaicin, which is a powerful pain reliever. He wasn’t able to conclude how much, if any, relief came from the CBD.
Despite anecdotal evidence that is, for the most part, inconclusive, there are a few problems with using clothing as a delivery method.
3 potential problems with CBD-infused clothing
Should people buy these clothing items? Maybe, but the jury is still out. Even if they do work as advertised, there are three concerns with CBD-infused clothing, two of which are more obvious:
- Eventually, the CBD will wear off and, in the meantime, you can’t wash the garment. The medicated compression sleeves infuse the CBD into the yarn rather than the fabric, which makes it last longer. However, it’s still going to wear off.
- Most people prefer to wash their compression sleeves between uses. That’s not going to work with medicated sleeves. To maintain the full benefits of the sleeves, consumers will need to continually wear a sweaty sleeve.
- The third issue is a bit more problematic. According to sports medicine physician Michael Fredericson, administering an anti-inflammatory agent to a sore muscle during a workout can prevent tissue repair, which is required for that muscle to get stronger. Inflammation is part of the recovery process and should not be stifled.
Other types of pain are OK to treat, but Fredericson questions the efficacy of CBD-infused clothing. While it’s possible these products work, using a lotion or salve is a better way to target a sore area and deliver a controlled amount of product.
CBD-infused clothing has potential, but buyer beware
While it’s possible that these clothing items work as advertised, it’s impossible to know without any scientific studies. The presence of other pain-relieving chemicals in the sports sleeves makes it even harder to know if the presence of CBD makes any difference.
As with any hot new product, you may want to wait until the science confirms the claims before jumping in – unless you have money to burn.
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