Truth: 2020 has been a banner year for Things That Make Me Want to Smoke Weed. For related reasons, it’s also been a remarkably bad year for lungs. At first, it was the highly contagious, deadly airborne virus. Then came the tear gas, enveloping us in clouds of noxious, cancer-causing chemicals. Then came the wildfires, choking Oregon’s air supply with days of heavy, toxic smoke. Our lungs and minds could use a break.

That’s where the talented budtenders at Green Muse come in (because when the global pandemic-police state-ecological disaster gets you down, a cannabis edible from your friendly neighborhood dispensary can be exactly what you need). Formerly called Green Hop, this hip hop-themed dispensary on NE 16th and Killingsworth is home to good music and even better weed. On a smoky day last week, Phil Collins’ “Do You Remember” played in the background as Green Muse dispensary managers Devontae Ahmed and Duane Lewis doled out advice for first-time edible eaters:

“You’ll probably get higher eating weed than smoking, so microdose or eat one at a time,” said Duane. “Start off with something like 5 milligrams where you can dose it out and wait, because activation time is different for everyone. I know some of the edibles say 45 minutes, but some people get high in 20 minutes.”

“I would also say it’s a mental thing. Don’t go into something worrying or being a little sketchy about it,” added Devontae. “If you’re going into it with a happy, euphoric feeling, it’s going to be a euphoric experience.”

Below are Devontae’s and Duane’s top five recommended cannabis edibles at Green Muse, along with their pricing, activation time, recommended dosage, and a candid description of this reporter’s experience ingesting them.

Note: Experiences with edibles varies by person. And after taking an edible, don’t do anything like operate a forklift or try to convince your aunt to stop reading QAnon conspiracy theories–now is not the time! Just sit back, try to relax, and let the edible do its thing.

#1: Mellow Vibes Crispy Treat (Mixed Fruit)

Duane: “They’re not like gummies, they’re like—what would you say?—like dough. It breaks down faster than a gummy, so the activation time is a little bit faster. That had me couch-locked, not going to lie. Every edible I eat I be couch-locked. I don’t be up.”

Price: $12.50 (before tax)

Activation time: 45 minutes to 2 hours

Dosage: 10 servings of ~5 mg THC per treat (50 mg THC total)

Experience: This rainbow-hued edible by Mellow Vibes is a THC-infused version of your standard Rice Crispy treat: a chewy, sticky rectangle made up of fruity flavored, toasted rice cereal, marshmallow, margarine, and cannabis extract, with a sugary, salty taste and no noticeable weed flavor. I knew the edible kicked in exactly 45 minutes later when I felt my tense shoulders drop for the first time in days. But as soon as I felt myself relax, every reason not to relax resurfaced in my brain. I realized Devontae’s advice was inherently impossible to follow. There were no “happy, euphoric” feelings to be had living in 2020. I was locked inside my house wearing a respirator because of an ecological disaster, and the only reason I own the respirator is because me and hundreds of other people get tear gassed by police on a near-nightly basis. Feeling the beginnings of a spiral, my high brain reached for the closest thing I currently have to serotonin: watching gay TikTok for two hours and falling asleep. Score: 5/10 for existential dread.

#2: Elbe’s Lemon Cakeballs

Devontae: “Elbe’s are made with real cannabutter instead of some distillate or CO2. It’s basically like back in the day when you used to make edibles with butter, so I really like that for the taste value. You don’t taste the weed, and it’s just delicious.”

Price: $18.33 (before tax)

Activation time: 30 to 60 minutes

Dosage: 9 servings of ~5 mg THC (45 mg THC total)

Experience: This edible tasted like a Starbucks cake pop if they sold a cannabis flavor. A sugar-dusted white chocolate shell surrounds a greenish-brown, lemon-flavored dough ball with a noticeable tang of weed. Having learned my lesson from yesterday, I set myself up for success by queuing up a show to distract me from multiple disasters happening simultaneously. I picked Trinkets, a soapy Netflix drama set in Portland about horny teenagers with kleptomania. I know I’m high an hour in because I’m thoroughly entranced by the show and feel an irrational urge to laugh every time one of the teens says something exotic, like “Lake Oswego” or “Multnomah County.” Score: 8/10 for happy distraction.

#3: Rebel Roots Farms Funny Honey

Devontae: “Our [Rick Simpson Oil, a type of cannabis extract] is more medicinal, more pain relieving. I like the fun honey. All of our RSO can be mixed with food… you can put it on toast because it’s a syringe and a liquid base, or you could do it the normal way and put it underneath your tongue. I mix it with my tea in the morning and you feel a bit uplifted.”

Price: $16.67 (before tax)

Activation time: within 2 hours

Dosage: 10 servings of ~5 mg THC (50 mg THC total)

Experience: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. I silently make myself a cup of tea with cannabis-infused “funny honey” in my best naked woman mug and try to suppress a tidal wave of dread about the future. The honey is grainy by itself but dissolves well in tea, adding sweetness without any cannabis flavor. The experience of drinking tea is nice, but I feel nothing. Maybe it was the whiplash from the wildfires to Justice Ginsburg’s death, but after two hours I’m still sitting sober, watching videos on Twitter of protesters getting shot at and tear gassed outside the ICE facility in South Portland. The words “fuck this place” repeat in my head, but I don’t think that’s the weed. Score: 3/10 for being honey.

#4: Pot Sauce

Duane: “My favorite would be this Pot Sauce. It’s a hot sauce. It’s pretty mild, kind of like Red Hot. Last time I had it on some fried fish.”

Devontae: “Delicioso!”

Duane: “I forgot there was weed in there, bro! And the high hit me out of nowhere and I was on the couch like “Wooooah, I’m about to go to bed.’”

Devontae: “Like a marshmallow. Stuck.”

Duane: “Yeah! I was stuck. You know like that 'Drug Free' commercial that’s like ‘ever since she smokes weed that’s all she does?’ That was me, ‘cause of this hot sauce.”

Price: $8.33 (before tax)

Activation time: 30 minutes to 2 hours

Dosage: 10 servings of ~5 mg THC (50 mg THC total)

Experience: A deluge of rain cleared out the smoky air, along with some of this week’s Bad Feelings, so I get excited when I reach for Duane’s favorite edible, Pot Sauce. The little red bottle doesn’t have any measurement labels, so I just gingerly squirt it over a bowl of vegetables. It’s a great hot sauce (vinegary with nice heat), but 45 minutes later I know I fucked up; my arms and legs feel impossibly heavy and my head is spinning. It’s only 7 pm, but I walk like a stop-motion animation character to my room, light a scented candle, put on headphones and turn on a chill playlist my friend made for me just in case something like this ever happens. I sit in this meditative state, staring unblinkingly at a strand of twinkly lights and feeling like I’m inside a cocoon for two hours. I don’t recommend ever getting too high, but—all things considered—this wasn’t the worst. Score: 8/10 for tastiness (but be careful!)

#5: Muru Cannamixer Hybrid (Grape)

Duane: “I like these Murus. If you don’t like eating weed, you can drink it. You can put it in a soft drink, juice, or soda, and you can drink the THC. And it’s really good, too.”

Devontae: “Cocktails.”

Duane: “Yeah, cocktails. My favorite’s with Sprite.”

Devontae: “Slushies, too.”

Duane: “Yeah, slushies are fire with the Murus. My favorite flavor is the grape, but I like the raspberry lemonade, too.”

Devonate: “Yeah, the raspberry’s gas.”

Price: $8.33 (before tax)

Activation time: within 2 hours

Dosage: No recommended dosage, so call your own shots (50 mg THC total)

Experience: For the fifth and final edible, I heed Duane’s advice and pick up a can of Sprite at my neighborhood 7-Eleven. The Muru gel is unexpectedly thick so it takes some stirring for it to fully dissolve into the concoction, which tastes like grape-lemon-lime soda with an underlying bitterness that makes your mouth pucker (no cannabis flavor, though). I drink it and wait an hour before heading outside for a long walk. I don’t know if it’s the edible or the relief from finally being able to breathe outside, but I feel something close to… peace? The sun is shining and the air is clear. People are outside biking and walking their pets and little kids play basketball in the street. Fallen leaves crunch under my feet and I pick up a chestnut and toss it from hand to hand to the beat of the music playing in my headphones. I smell roses and autumn in the air. I know eventually the walk will end and the high will pass, but for these precious couple of hours walking in the late summer sun, I feel grateful to still be alive. Score: 10/10 for remembering that life can also be good.

Find more great cannabis articles just like this one in the Mercury's Cannabis Guide 2020!