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Ask a Stoner: What do I do with my leftover stems?

Dear Stoner: I know smoking them is a headache waiting to happen, but what should I do with the crystal-covered stems left over from my buds? I hate the idea of throwing away good THC.

Scrooge McDank

Dear Scrooge: Strangely, you're not alone in your miserly ways. Up until just a few years ago, a good friend always kept a jar with him specifically to save stems to later make hash with. It was a futile effort, and I still don't know why he did it. But there is something you can make to get the most out of what most stoners toss away: edible alcohol tincture.

The process is about as old-school and simple as it gets, requiring a glass mason jar, bud (or stems, in your case) and a bottle of wicked-strong grain alcohol. The most popular option is everclear, which runs about 95 percent alcohol by volume.

Collect your stems in the jar. You'll know you've got enough when you can pack them down tightly and just barely get the lid on. Pour in alcohol up to the top, then let the mixture sit and soak for at least a week in a cool, dark place, shaking it once a day. Use a colander to strain the booze from the bud (or stems). The alcohol removes the cannabinoids left over on the stems, and after straining out the plant matter, you're left with infused alcohol tincture. Trust us: It makes a nasty shot or mixed drink, but a spoonful can really help take the edge off an afternoon.

Dear Readers: In last week's Ask a Stoner, we advocated for an end to the popular puff-puff-pass rule, and people were surprisingly supportive of our position. Take this missive from Westword blog commenter BackOffImStarving:

"Never, ever pass bud to someone you don't know! Don't share your bud with strangers, ever! Do you share sips of your $7.00 Coors Light with random passersby? Do you offer up bites of your hot dog or pretzel to anyone who might be in close proximity? NO! Aside from the obvious hygiene considerations of such practices, wouldn't it be unfortunate if some unwashed ganja parasite got in a fight, OD'd on some other substance, fell down, had a car wreck, etc., and was later somehow able to identify you as the person who supplied them with the toke(s)?

"Don't feed the wildlife. If they're too dumb, lazy, or cheap to take care of their own needs, then fuck 'em."