High Concept: Should butane be avoided?

Does inhaling the butane from lighters while smoking a bowl cause any harm?

Butane is a highly toxic gas to inhale, but it also burns very cleanly. You're not inhaling butane from a lighter, but the water vapor, carbon dioxide and sometimes a trace amount of carbon monoxide that result from its combustion. But it certainly tastes and feels better when using alternative lighting methods, like beeswax hemp wicks, vaporization, solar puffing (using a magnifying glass and the sun), or letting a match burn past the chemicals and down to the stick. (I wasn't able to find any scientific studies on the dangers or lack thereof of using a butane lighter, but if you find any, make sure to let me know. Seems like officially speaking, it's a non-issue.) If you're concerned about repeatedly using the lighter while smoking, you could always just stick with joints which you only have to light once (assuming you're a champ at rolling, which I know you are). I guess it all depends on how pure you want your inhaling experience to be. If you get headaches, feel nauseous or your throat feels like it's closing up when you smoke a bowl, you might want to try lighting it in a more wholesome way. If it helps, then maybe there's something to it.


Why is marijuana still considered a Schedule 1 drug?

A Schedule 1 drug is supposed to fit three criteria, as per the Controlled Substances Act of 1970: 1. The drug has a high potential for abuse. 2. The drug has no current medical use for treatment in the U.S. and 3. There is lack of accepted safety for the drug under medical supervision. As we endure our daily battles to make medical marijuana the norm nationwide, it's easy to forget that it's still federally categorized alongside heroin, STP and Ibogaine (any Hunter Thompson fans out there?) in the Schedule 1 category. "Less harmful" Schedule 2 drugs include cocaine, oxycodone and PCP (yes, PCP!). The reason this hasn't been changed yet is that we have not yet become outraged enough to prompt the change. A bi-partisan team of governors however, including our own Dannel Malloy, is calling on president Obama to make the switch. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Christine Gregoire of Washington, Peter Shumlin of Vermont and John Hickenlooper of Colorado have also signed on in support. It's important that we show our appreciation, seeing as we're the people they're representing, and this is the change we want to see happen. Changing from Schedule I to a lesser Schedule still wouldn't authorize medical marijuana dispensaries, but it's the first baby-step needed on a federal level to begin the process of greening our nation's pharmacies.


What's the most stoned you've ever been?

Probably a few years ago when I went to a Thanksgiving dinner in which every dish had pot cooked into it. The mashed potatoes and the gravy were both green, and you had no way of knowing how much THC was in each bite. Well, it turns out there was a lot. And I was hungry. I spent most of the night shaking, but came out otherwise unscathed. I can't say so much for the most drunk I ever got.


Send your weed-related questions to highconcept@newmassmedia.com