The sheer range of cannabis products for sale in Oregon can be downright overwhelming. And most of us are unfamiliar with what is available, the quality of the merchandise, and where it came from.

What’s more, the mass consolidation of dispensaries and brands can seriously undercut the “buy local” component. Your purchase of Aunty Gertrude’s Old-Fashioned THC Sexy Time Oil might actually be adding to the bottom line of a New York-based investment firm that bought up 85 cannabis brands last month, uses watered down CBD from dubious sources, and donates heavily to MAGA causes.

That’s why it’s important to “know your grower.” With that in mind, let’s familiarize ourselves with the Make & Mary brand and its founder, Yvonne Perez Emerson.

Emerson launched the product line in 2018 with a collection of “clean skin care solutions and lifestyle products,” all infused with full-spectrum CBD extracted from a local hemp farm owned by Emerson’s family. It’s everything the conscientious consumer is seeking: organic, sun-grown, whole plant, and third-party tested.

Emerson also steam distills the hemp, extracting the cannabis essential oil in her products. (This oil contains no THC or CBD after distillation—just terpenes, mainly myrcene and caryophyllene.) One such product is a sleek, lip balm-sized inhaler filled with essential cannabis and other oils and offered in two formulations: Clarity and Calm.

While Clarity adds essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, and ylang-ylang, Calm includes cedarwood, frankincense, and orange. The oils are added to a base of pink Himalayan salt, which slowly releases the terpenes and scent for up to six months. Remove the top, place the perforated base under your nose, breathe in, and repeat. It’s a refined way to take in the terpenes, and—unless you act like you’re doing amyl nitrate—a perfectly acceptable method of consumption, no matter the setting.

I tried both and shared them with friends, none of whom you would equate with the “type of people” interested and inclined to try such products. Yet when presented with the opportunity, my tribe of caustic pals were intrigued, then converted. Burly, bearded, and boisterous men began exclaiming “I’m feeling calmer, dude! Seriously, I was stressed AF, bro! And this has weed in it?”

Found in the essential cannabis oil that Make & Mary extracts, myrcene’s major effect is sedative, resulting in relaxed muscles and pain reduction. Many doctors and researchers recommend myrcene for patients who suffer from insomnia, restlessness, and anxiety. Likewise, caryophyllene is the only known terpene to also display characteristics of a cannabinoid by directly interacting with the CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, accounting for powerful anti-inflammatory properties and an ability to potentially treat anxiety and depression. Benefits are maximized when strains rich in terpenes—top shelf, that is—are inhaled, smoked, or vaped.

As mentioned earlier, Make & Mary has a line of face and skin care products infused with CBD, as well as a roll-on topical, and a candle infused with nine essential oils including palo santo, which comes in a futuristic reusable black glass stash jar.

My oil-sniffing party led to lots of interesting conversations about how a “cannabis product” is defined, and the importance of spending hard-earned cash on products and producers who are transparent and abide by a value system that one can support. While there are no shortage of CBD products, few are truly high quality, small batch, and handcrafted by a self-described “wild spirited Latinx woman” with the mission statement “Beauty can be holistic, feminine and radical all at once.”