Business: Locals make, market hemp-based products


PUNGO — As college students, Savana Griffith and Alfonso Mendez became interested in hemp based products and began experimenting with making their own. 

Now, four years later, Griffith and Mendez, founders of CBD Livity, are marketing elixirs, salves and candles both online and in local shops and spas. 

“It started as a hobby,” said Mendez, who explained that he and Griffith became interested in hemp-based products while they were students at West Virginia University. Through their research, they learned about cannabidiol, or CBD, a derivative of cannabis that will not make the user high and, according to a 2017 report released by the World Health Organization, is not addictive.

Griffith and Mendez began experimenting with making their own salves and elixirs and gave some of the products as gifts to family and friends.

“I learned to make them through research and by trial and error,” Griffith said.

Griffith and Mendez relocated to Hampton Roads, and Griffith lived for awhile with family at Sandbridge before moving to Pungo, where she now lives. The two continued to make their products, and they began marketing them in 2017.

Now Mendez and Griffith make their products in commercial kitchens, and they are planning to locate their base of operations at Hemp Spectrum, located at 3501 Holland Road.

The products include salves, elixirs and some pet products. Some salves are infused with fragrant oils, including lavender, lemon grass and peppermint. Shea butter is used to give the salves a creamy consistency, and the key to making them is learning to heat them to the right temperature before cooling them, Griffith said.

The salves have a pleasant fragrance and a soothing, moisturizing texture, and are said to relieve pain and reduce stress. The elixirs, which are placed under the tongue, are also said to relieve stress, but they work over a period of time and the user usually has to experiment to get the right amount, Griffith said.

These claims haven’t been backed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but products containing hemp, from which CBD is derived, were removed from the Controlled Substance Act by the 2018 Farm Bill. CBD is now used in a variety of products, including makeup, pet products and salves.

It is approved for use in one medication, Epidiolex, which is used to control certain types of epileptic seizures. There is preliminary evidence it can be effective in treating some other conditions, according to the World Health Organization report. These may include anxiety and some types of chronic pain, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Customers, however, say that it can relieve problems ranging from muscle cramps to stress, and it’s used in massage therapy in some local wellness centers.

“We’ve been using their products for awhile,” said Dave Rogacki, owner of Natural Balance Day Spa on Princess Anne Road.  “We incorporate them into massages, and we get good reviews.”  

The salves help relieve arthritis pain, pain from surgery, muscular aches and other types of inflation and many clients are pleasantly surprised to find that the products, unlike some rubs, aren’t hot, Rogacki said. 

The products are also marketed at Pungo Board House as well as at Hemp Spectrum and other locations in northern Virginia Beach.  Product also can be found online at, with prices ranging from $24 to $65.

© 2019 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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