If you partake in puff and pass sessions, you’ve probably had a guy who left so much spit in the blunt that it got you all "eww, that's definitely gonna make me sick". While public health officials are not exactly concerned about saliva being an agent of contagion - chainsmokers still have reasons to be concerned, mainly because in an ordinary session, they may imbibe ounces of saliva from multiple people.
The fact that you don't often hear, or see stories of people catching random diseases from sharing pipes and drinking straws doesn’t mean it can't happen to you. Jake Miller, a cannabis expert at Canadian Cannabis Clinics, compares sharing a pipe with "deep kissing a random stranger at the mall". If that gives you icky vibes, you probably shouldn't be sharing your pipes.
Saliva and Germs
As much as it's not commonly touted as a germ and disease transmission agent, licking another person's saliva can put you at risk of some awful infections, including herpes and the flu. You may also get infected with mononucleosis, also known as kissing disease. While it's not a deadly condition per se, it could make your life a bit of hell for a couple of weeks, as it typically leads to fatigue, painful rashes, and swollen glands.
In essence, sharing a pipe, or joint with a couple of your pals on the weekends is not particularly harmful, but you need to be a bit more cautious sharing with strangers, or even friends who leave excess spit on the pipe. Alternatively, you can avoid sharing altogether, and carry your own stuff whenever you're going for a smoking session.
Dealing With Other People's Spit on Pipes and Bongs
During a concert or a random hangout with your pals, it may be impractical to have a pipe to yourself. In such situations, you can simply swipe the mouthpiece on your shirt or a piece of tissue to remove the excess saliva before taking a puff. Obviously, this won't kill all the bacteria, but it will definitely reduce the amount that gets into your mouth.
If you have some bucks to spare, you can buy alcohol prep pads, which are significantly more effective than your shirt. They contain isopropyl alcohol, which is a highly effective germ killer and, are easily available in your local drug store. You can also look for smoker-friendly wipes on your favorite cannabis store for a better effect.
What About Joints?
Wiping spit off a plastic surface is different (and much easier) than wiping off a paper surface. Even if you use cannabis-specific wipes, they will smoosh off a little bit of the saliva, while the rest seeps into the area around the mouthpiece. Using an alcohol swab is also not tenable, as it could ignite a fire on your hand when you get down to the roach. If joints are your thing, you might want to get a couple of joint tips from any online cannabis store.
Even as you safeguard your health, you also need to consider etiquette, and your fellow smokers' perception. For one, most people will consider you a snob, or make fun of you for wiping their pipe after they're done taking a hit. The jokes will be even worse when you pull out wipes in the circle. Nonetheless, it's all up to you, and you can always skip out on sessions if you feel out of place.