For years, Jared Bell has struggled with back pain and has had trouble sleeping. Itâ€™s hard for him just to stand sometimes.
Bell has degenerative disk disease. He’s had osteoarthritis of the spine since he was 22. Two herniated discs in his back and one in his neck. It stems from the repetitive heavy lifting he did while working in supplies during his service in the United States Army. He was medically discharged in 2000.
â€śThe VA kind of doped me up to shut me up,â€ť Bell said. â€śI was prescribed Morphine Sulphate, Vicodin and Valiums at night to help me sleep. After about two months of doing that, I was a total zombie.â€ť
He quit taking his prescribed medications and lived with the pain for the past 17 years.
â€śI tried everything,â€ť he said earlier this week. He turned to yoga and stretches and even tried wearing different types of soles and insoles in his shoes.
It was last summer that one of his friends mentioned CBD, or cannabidiol which is a substance derived from cannabis and used medicinally. Bell started to feel better after two days. He, along with other Hoosiers, have turned to CBD oil to treat pain.
â€śI still feel it every once in a while,â€ť Bell said.
He started Bell Family Dispensary in Ellettsville. The store opened at 5595 W. Ind 46 last month. It started as an online-only business but once CBD oil and hemp products became legal in Indiana earlier this year, he decided to expand the business model and open a brick-and-mortar shop.
Bell sells a water-soluble, full-spectrum hemp oil â€” an Indiana-legal dose of 3.3 percent â€” considered more effective than oil-soluble CBD products often sold in grocery stores.
The oil comes in a variety of ways, including capsules, softgels and tinctures. Tinctures are the most common way to dispense CBD because the oil is held in a small glass bottle with an eye dropper attached to the lid. The store also carries gummies, bath bombs and beef-flavored oils for dogs.
â€śOur goal is to get our prices as affordable as possible so that’s the key thing that we focus on,â€ť Bell said. â€śWe’re very hands-on people. We’re just a mom and pop shop, to be honest with youâ€ť
Bell knows that some people are reluctant when it comes to cannabinoids. That’s where the education comes into play, he said. For the past three weeks heâ€™s attended county fairs in the area to interact with the public about his product. He’s attended fairs in Monroe County, Owen County and Greene County.
“It’s just amazing to hear stories of how well it’s helping people out,” Bell said.
Studies show CBD can provide pain relief, relaxing muscles and reducing the effects of inflammation and blood pressure, anxiety, substance abuse behaviors and the effects of Parkinsonâ€™s disease.
Bell said most of his customers â€” which he estimated to be more than 500 since he opened in June â€” buy CBD to relieve arthritis and back pain, but the second type of relief theyâ€™re seeking is from anxiety.
â€śIt’s helped people get off some of their prescription medication, pain pills or cutting it at least in half,â€ť Bell said. â€śOr for people who don’t want to take prescription medicine, it’s really amazing to hear how it’s working for them.â€ť
The oil in Bellâ€™s shop has three ingredients â€” fractionated coconut oil (MCT medium chain triglycerides), non GMO sunflower lecithin and full spectrum hemp oil.
Itâ€™s produced in Colorado and shipped directly to Bell, where he then relabels the product to comply with Indiana law.
â€śThey put the seed in the ground and grow it, harvest it, put the oil in the bottle for us and ship it directly to us,â€ť Bell said.
He carries a few brand names, those being Grandmaâ€™s Hemp, Charlotteâ€™s Web and Hemp Bombs, a THC-free option.
Bell eventually plans to move his shop to Bloomington, but for now theyâ€™re happy in Ellettsville.
â€śWe like it out here, and the community is great,â€ť he said.