For some, late winter in the Northwest is a wonderland of ethereal mist, icy waterfalls and expensive coats. More realistically, this is the season of cold, colorless tedium, malaise and so much mud.
This final stretch before the arrival of spring is arguably the least enjoyable time of the year. But between curbside daffodils, soft amethyst crocus, sprouting tulip shoots—and the right strain of weed—we can take the edge off of the crusty remains of frost season.
Each of these euphoric strains has been field-tested in the swampy mudscape of Portland midwinter, and each may very well bring us the rose-tinted relief we need to emerge from yet another crusty-ass, crunchy-ass, soupy-ass mud season fresh as newborn bear cubs.
As the name indicates, there is a soft sweetness to this strain that recalls energetic summer frivolity. I hotboxed my car with this cultivar after an emotional therapy session, hoping it would lift my mood enough to pick up Chipotle before going home to weep while streaming The Good Place. Instead, I beelined to the gym and worked out for an hour. The high is an effervescent cocktail of calm, quiet attitude adjustment and bright, fizzy, elastic energy—a really great way to pivot out of a bad mood.
Best way to consume: Lady Jays pre-rolls, hotboxed in a glass case of emotion
Where to find it: Electric Lettuce, multiple locations
Alaska Thunder Fuck
Alaska has a notorious mood-killer of an endless winter, so it stands to reason any strain named after the state prioritizes sunny euphoria over psychotropic video game fodder. The first hit of ATF delivers a burst of pure sativa energy, but the more complex brain-soothing that rounds out the high is said to originate from an ancestral crossbreeding of pure, cultivated sativa with wild, low-THC, high-CBD cannabis ruderalis. Regardless of genetic lore, the resulting flower is a straight-up panacea.
Best way to consume: Ice water bong hits with an herbal tea chaser
Where to find it: Nectar, 5918 SE 89th Ave.
Platinum Purple Kush
A dark morning TriMet commute can be made brighter—existentially speaking, at least—with a Platinum Purple Kush wake-and-bake sesh. This high is more of a slow burn, the onset arriving with a swoon that evens out into a smoldering core of contentment that glows long after the rest of the high is smothered in breakroom doughnuts and Costco coffee.
Best way to consume: In one of those novelty wake-and-bake pipes shaped like a coffee mug
Where to find it: Trees Waterfront, 3607 SW Corbett Ave.
Mt Hood Magic
If there's one strain that evokes peak Portland summer, it's Mt Hood Magic. This hybrid has a cannabinoid balance that's equal parts carefree and introspective. Its cultivar is a calculated crossbreed of anti-anxiety Durban Poison and Northern Lights #5, prized for its classic "indica" cannabinoid profile. It might not be a yurt on the coast, but Mt Hood Magic can make cabin fever feel significantly less claustrophobic.
Best way to consume: A single doink smoked in one inhale
Where to find it: The Canna Shoppe, 6316 NE Halsey St.
Sunshine's genetics remain a proprietary secret, but despite a mysterious lineage, this strain seems to concentrate the favorite mood-elevating properties of a Diesel, the streamlined cerebral expansion of a Tangie and the delicate tropical aroma of Pineapple Express. The sativa is strong with this one—expect a frenetic burst of energy that mushrooms into a euphoria that is manageable, mollifying and transformative all at once.
Best way to consume: As a DabTab—or two, if that's how you roll
Where to find it: Cannabliss & Co., 8701 SE Powell Blvd.
Bonus Mood Lifters for Non-Smokers
1:1 MCT Oil by Siskiyou Sungrown
This easy-to-use, alcohol-free sublingual oil offers an ephemeral mood boost alongside minor relief from cold weather aches and pains. One dropperful under the tongue absorbs and activates super quickly, leaving behind the bonus of a delicately minty exhale.
Where to find it: Home Grown Apothecary, 1937 NE Pacific St.
Their diminutive serving size makes these classic sour candies easy for low-tolerance users to enjoy—though the blissful high is remarkably potent despite a serving containing only 5 mg of THC. Higher-tolerance peeps, go easy: A little Botz go a long way.
Where to find it: Doctor's Orders, 3424 NE 82nd Ave.