Can I apply for a B1 visa to attend a conference 2 months after returning from J1?
There’s a two-year restriction on J1 visas which requires you to return to your home country and forbids you from applying for an immigrant visa. A B1 visa is a non-immigrant visa and so doesn’t count.
As long as you have indeed returned to your home country and that you can satisfy the inspecting officer that you are not using the B visa to circumvent the home presence rule or to try to immigrate, you should be ok. But you should be prepared to answer these concerns in your interview. Having a solid, steady job in your home country that you would return to would be a good way to assuage these concerns.