This guide is part of 20 Ways to Feel Better in 2020, a collection of our best ideas for getting you to whatever version of “better” feels best to you.
My first experience with store-bought edibles ended with me fleeing a house party, locking myself in an attic, and thrusting my head out of a tiny window, convinced there was no air in the world left to breathe. (Long story short: There was.) But in the near-decade since, more and more states have gone legal, stigmas have receded, and recreational dosages have gotten more precise…and less likely to ruin your night with a single bite.
Cambria Noecker, cofounder of Serra Dispensary in Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles, is one of the new-wave cannabis purveyors committed to making the buying experience more dynamic, stylish, and delicious for new and longtime partakers alike. Shopping at Serra is above all a highly transparent process—by the time you reach the register, you know exactly what you’re getting, where and how it was grown, how much you should consume, and how it will make you feel. The dispensary also takes an active role in restorative justice, partnering with local groups like the Oregon Cannabis Association and the NuLeaf Project to advocate for both legislative change and equal opportunities across the industry.
So what should you know before you go? Well first off, says Noecker, while cannabis strains have traditionally been separated into two categories—sativas (head high) and indicas (body high)—most plants today are hybrids. That’s why she prefers to differentiate based on terpenes: compounds that determine smell, flavor, and what happens when you ingest the plant. Myrcene chills you out, alpha-Pinene gives you energy, limonene improves your mood…the list goes on and on, with about 150 currently known.
Yeah, it’s a lot. But fear not: Most dispensaries employ knowledgable staff who can help you find what you’re looking for based on how you want to feel. Serra codes all its products by six key experiences: energy, focus, happiness, creativity, relaxation, and relief. These are Noecker’s standbys for each.