When Manny Jose and Devon McCardell met in 2010, they discovered two things in common: both were grappling with anxiety and neither was finding relief in conventional treatments (e.g., SSRIs).
Over the next decade, the friends kept in touch, doing their own separate research on the therapeutic effects of cannabidiol — or CBD, as it’s commonly known — the non-psychoactive component of the hemp plant. As an Army veteran who was running two daycare centers, Jose could certainly relate to McCardell’s stress level working as a nurse, especially during the pandemic.
Putting CBD products out there for people is a number one mission to me.”
— Manny Jose, co-owner of Mission Relief
Over time, as the pair discussed their use of CBD to manage anxiety, they agreed that there were varying degrees of effectiveness and consistency among the different CBD products they were consuming. Most of their products were produced many states away from their homes in South Jersey. But with marijuana laws changing in New Jersey — it was legalized for recreational use in 2022 — they decided it was time to research how they could bring CBD to the Garden State. In 2021, they became business partners and launched Mission Relief.
Reflecting on the name, Jose explains, “Putting CBD products out there for people is a number one mission to me.”
Today Mission Relief produces products such as elixirs that incorporate the healing effects of mushrooms (non-psychoactive), elderberry and turmeric. They even have an entire line of dog and cat products: McCardell reported that the “agility chews” were one of the top sellers. As Jose explained, dogs, cats and humans all have what’s called a “cannabinoid system” that, when activated with CBD, can be extremely successful in reducing ailments like inflammation, which is why the agility chews are so popular for older dogs.
And for older humans or any person dealing with chronic pain, Mission Relief’s variety of muscle creams are a top seller at the Haddonfield Farmers Market, where Jose and McCardell focus not only on making a sale, but also on educating the consumer on the healing properties of CBD.
“Someone that has issues with their wrists or hands tries our stuff at the market,” Jose explains. “By the time they walk around to the other side of the market, they’re coming back and are like, ‘Wow, like this stuff makes my hand feel great.’”
Jose is proud that the hemp he buys from Estelle Farms in Estell Manor, New Jersey is grown using fair labor practices, and that no additives are used to extract the hemp, but he’s also impressed with the use of both indoor and outdoor growing space.
“You are enjoying all the benefits of growing outdoors such as a bigger yield and a hardier plant with thicker roots,” Jose explains. “But also you’re in a greenhouse that’s able to control the climate and in such a way that they produce the best product.”
As Jose acknowledges, this isn’t just another product Weavers Way is putting on their shelves. It’s an investment in Mission Relief. For McCardell, she has full confidence in Weavers Way to advance Mission Relief’s dual mission of sales and education.
“I can’t say enough good things about Chris Mallam and Nicolette Giannantonio from Weavers Way Next Door [Wellness Shop],” says McCardell. “They really help people in their store who come to them, tell them what their problems are, and they sit there and listen and give them the best recommendation they can.”