Ask a Stoner

Ask a Stoner: Is it okay to puff but not pass?

Dear Stoner: I enjoy smoking herb at concerts, but I'm a germophobe and hate sharing bowls with strangers nearby who ask for a hit. Is it totally un-stoner to puff and not pass?

Rolling Stoned

Dear RS: While classic stoner etiquette would tell you otherwise, I think it's totally fine to bogart your stash at a concert within reason — and not getting sick from some shirtless Wookiee at Red Rocks is certainly reasonable. When they ask for a hit, you can try the "Oh, the bowl just kicked" method. It usually works. The downside to that approach is when they say, "That's okay, man, I'll pack it up. I just need a piece." Then you have to deal with their germs and them likely packing pocket bowls complete with lint balls.

Option one is to go stealth mode: Take one-hits by yourself when nobody is looking, and don't pass to anyone. But if you don't want to seem like an unsocial asshole, roll up a few joints before you go in and smoke the first half before passing it off for good. Your immediate concert neighbors will love you, you'll stay well, and everyone will get to enjoy whatever aging rock group you're seeing that much more.

Dear Stoner: My husband read your response to IM regarding metal versus glass pipes. He makes handcrafted wood pipes, and wondered what health risks, if any, they pose.

Woodshop Widow

Dear Widow: According to the pipe forums we consulted, the major, obvious danger is releasing carcinogens through burning the wood. We also read some rumors about fast-growing trees like mahogany containing a lot of silica in their cells, which could possibly lead to silicosis or grinder's asthma — with little bits of crystal getting lodged in your lungs, scarring them up. We're not sure of the validity of that, but it sounds scary enough. In any case, you want to avoid any harmful chemical wood sealant or varnish.

But from what we read in a whopping five minutes of research, if pipe wood is selected properly — briarroot and maple are good choices — and if tokers are careful to season the pipe and not char the wood with a flame, they should be okay. Your biggest problem? Lip splinters. Wooden pipes are the number-one cause of lip splinters in the United States, with thousands of mildly irritating cases reported to emergency rooms each month — and no doubt millions of lawsuits contemplated each year.