The CBD-heavy Tang strain is perfect for easing back into post-pandemic life. Blair Stenvick

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic was a greenrush for Oregon’s cannabis industry. People turned to weed to ease their anxiety and depression, and to make staying at home a little more fun.

As more people get vaccinated, Portlanders can begin to have some semblance of a social life again—or return to the workplace, or even just run more errands. And just as pot was a salve during the lockdowns, cannabis products can also help you come out of your quarantine cocoon and emerge as a social butterfly.

But the high-potency, couch-locking weed you consumed over the last year might not be the best choice for socializing. Hanging out and being out in the world again is going to feel weird for a while, and you need something that will both keep you calm, and embolden you to engage with your fellow humans.

“At the beginning [of the pandemic], people were getting blasted, almost ignoring the issues of the world,” says Stephen Davenport, an award-winning budtender who’s general manager at the MindRite dispensary in Northwest Portland. Now, Davenport says, “you have to come to your senses—but you still want some relief.”

Davenport recently recommended some cannabis products to the Mercury that should help with social anxiety. The mix of flower strains, edibles, and concentrates all have one thing in common: They have a balance of both THC and CBD, providing the “uplifting effects” of THC and the “seatbelt” effect of anxiety-soothing CBD.

“Everybody has a different body chemistry, so it’s important for everyone to know what works best for them through trial and error,” he says. “But there is a direction I would point people towards, and that’s products that have a combination of THC and CBD, and not just THC or CBD alone.”

Protanicals Emerge Tincture

Protanicals produces the only physician-formulated tinctures in Oregon—and this alcohol-based tincture, with a seven-to-one CBD and THC ratio, is designed to give you a calm baseline for interacting with others, rather than get you high.

“You’re not taking this to make your night fun,” says Davenport. “You’re taking this to ensure an anti-anxiety night, and the fun is created by what you’re doing.”

You can take this tincture directly, or throw a few drops in your beverage of choice while out with friends, to help keep the “Oh my god, I’ve forgotten how to be a normal human” panic at bay.

Gron Elevate Pearls

Gron is a powerhouse when it comes to Oregon-made edibles, and these fruity gummies each contain five milligrams of THC and 20 milligrams of CBD, sold in packs of 10.

Blair Stenvick

“When you have relaxing edibles when you go out, you end up not being involved, and just staring at the wall,” Davenport says—but not so for the pearls.

“Five milligrams of THC is your basic dose for a single edible, so it’s great to have the full THC, but that safety of the CBD to make sure you don’t get to an anxious state,” he adds.

Brother David’s Flower Blends

Brother David’s takes flower from Phoenix Rising Farm and East Fork Cultivars and uses it to produce perfectly curated blends in three varieties, each containing a different ratio of CBD and THC: the THC-heavy “Rise Up,” the CBD-heavy “Comfort,” and the evenly split “Reflective.”

Each blend is available in either a five-gram jar of loose flower or a six-pack of compact half-gram joints, so you can use a pipe at home or enjoy a joint at a party. As a bonus, all proceeds for this series goes toward causes the brand believes in—including supporting small-scale farms and fighting the criminalization of cannabis.

Truly Pure Cartridges 1:1 Malawi Diesel

Davenport credits Truly Pure Cartridges (which also has a dispensary in Southeast Portland) with valuing safety and integrity over super-high potency in their vape products. The Malawi Diesel option is equal parts CBD and THC—and while Davenport points out that the effects of vaping are often shorter-lived than with flower, that isn’t always a bad thing. Plus, vapes are handy for when you want to step outside the get-together, take a few moments to collect yourself, and ease that social anxiety.

“This would be great for someone who wants a lot of control over their dosing, and that instant effect,” Davenport adds.

Magic Number One-to-One Soda

Cannabis-infused beverages tend to have a faster reaction time than edibles, making this a good choice for impromptu get-togethers—“You can do that 15 minutes before going out,” Davenport says, as opposed to waiting up to an hour for a gummy to kick in. The one-to-one Magic Number option has 25 milligrams each of THC and CBD, meaning it can easily be shared among a couple friends.

Blair Stenvick

Magic Number’s soda flavors include ginger beer, classic cola, mandarin lime, and cherry vanilla—but the brand also offers infused seltzers, and all of their products come in a range of dosing options.

A few flower strains

Davenport recommended four flower options to try when re-entering your work and social life, all of which should be easy to find at dispensaries around town.

Lemon Flufluns, produced by Oregon farm Garden of the Gods, helps with “mood elevation and patience for others,” making it a good lower-THC option for when you’re headed back to the office and need to keep a clear head.

“I see people getting this constantly now, especially just for their regular workdays,” Davenport says. “Like, people who are accountants—you can’t fuck up the numbers, but maybe you also don’t want to be there.”

Golden Goat, meanwhile, gets a special endorsement from Davenport: “It makes me talk to my dog for a while—that’s the type of mood elevation I get with it.”

Golden Goat is a sativa-dominant hybrid, but won’t give you the heady, racing-thoughts feeling other sativa strains might induce. You can also find it in convenient “puff packs” of 10 half-gram prerolls.

Mt. Hood Magic is another “very well-rounded strain,” a cross of the uplifting strain Durbin and calming Northern Lights.

“You’re alert, but it’s not a racy feeling at all, and you’re able to converse with people,” Davenport says.

Finally, keep an eye out for Makru Farms’ Tang, a CBD-heavy strain that has an “amazing flavor to it” and smells like a citrusy IPA.