CBD Live Natural has been in operation since 2015 and, as its name suggests, offers CBD products, its overall goal being to improve the health of its clientele. Owned by Marcie Manfredonia-Siciliano and located at 720 N. Bedford Road in Bedford Hills, where she is also the proprietor of the Custom Candle Co., the store offers consumers a range of products, including hemp oil extract tinctures, freeze gels and aromatherapy candles.
According to Manfredonia-Siciliano, the CBD found in the company’s products is derived from hemp and has less than 3% THC, the primary psychoactive component that would produce a high. “There’s people that look for that THC that’s in there — that little high — and there’s some people that just want the health benefit of it,” Manfredonia-Siciliano says. “We find more people are looking for the health benefit than the high.”
Assuaging misunderstandings many may have about CBD and related products is a major part of her job. CBD oil is generally used for medicinal purposes and has shown great promise in treating inflammation, pain, sleep disorders and even certain types of epileptic seizures. But the sale of CBD products is not without controversy, as some in health care argue that while early results and testing may be promising, more research is still needed. The products sold on CBD Live Natural’s website are not approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). CBD Live Natural encourages customers to seek approval from their doctors prior to using its products.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle in maintaining the business came in the early months of the pandemic. Demand still persisted for CBD Live Natural products despite or because of the lockdown and subsequent challenges to the general population’s mental health. In response to continued demand and cautious of the still-raging pandemic, Manfredonia-Siciliano reopened the store in a contained way, with little to no staff on hand besides herself.
“We were able to pivot by doing the deliveries and curbside,” she adds. “I actually went door to door delivering CBD oil to people when Covid came out, because they wanted their oil.”
The business survived those troubled times, though CBD Live Natural continues to battle economic hardships. Due to inflation, customers are somewhat reticent when shopping at CBD Live Natural. “Now it’s only a need, if they only have to, and they watch their pennies,” Manfredonia-Siciliano says. She continues her work unabated, however, due to her strongly held belief in the effectiveness of her products.
“CBD Live Natural offers health benefits and a way to live healthy without taking prescription drugs,” she says. “I was on a mission to make sure I found something that’s purely natural and that we can help people live pain-free, because you can’t enjoy yourself, you can’t enjoy your life, if you’re living (in pain).”
The Bedford Hills resident speaks from experience. The catalyst for starting the business came when she began suffering from fibromyalgia, developed anxiety and was soon heavily medicated on prescription drugs to reduce her pain, with limited success.
“My turning point came when I just was in such a depression, I didn’t want to do anything anymore,” Manfredonia-Siciliano says. “The pain just got so bad.”
She turned to CBD oil at her son’s insistence. Ironically, up until that point, Manfredonia-Siciliano had been against the use of cannabis. But with seemingly no other options available to limit the pain she experienced, she conceded.
“Once I started trying it — I gave it a few days — I noticed a subtle change. After a couple of weeks, it changed my life,” she recalls. “I’m able to play with my grandchildren. I’m able to do things that I was not able to do before. I’m not on prescription drugs. I have no anxiety.”
Manfredonia-Siciliano continues to advocate for the health benefits of CBD in general, not just items sold at her store, and implores people to give CBD products a chance if they seek to improve their health. “Honestly, I don’t care if you don’t buy it from me,” she says.
In the near future, she is looking to restart her efforts to increase CBD awareness, as she had done prior to Covid, which would involve educational classes, live podcasts and discussion groups. She is also planning to open a bar that sells wine, beer and coffee infused with CBD oil, where patrons can relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
Despite past and current difficulties, Manfredonia-Siciliano remains both optimistic and ambitious. “In ’23, I am going to be a household name. And I will be in Whole Foods Market. I will be in many, many grocery stores, many, many drugstores,” Manfredonia-Siciliano says, only somewhat playfully.
For more, visit cbdlivenatural.com.