Is Smoking from a Bong Healthier?
If you are reading this chances are you are an avid bong smoker or a newbie thinking about smoking from a bong for the first time. A question we get asked a lot is smoking from bongs healthier? Most people assume the answer is yes, but it’s not that simple. Most people understand that lighting herbs on fire does in fact produce certain carcinogens or compounds that are potentially harmful to your body. However studies show that using water pipes (aka bongs) may actually be much better for your health.
There is much debate in the smoking community regarding the answer to this. Some people believe the water placed inside the bong can trap up to 90% of the potential harmful toxins that are produced when you burn herbs. These toxins would otherwise go right into your lungs if you were not smoking from a water bong. When the smoke passes through the water it removes substances and carcinogens that could be bad for you.
People one the other side of the debate believe you, in fact, inhale more carcinogens when using a bong than even just using a traditional pipe. It is also believe that the water maybe be filtering out the beneficial compounds from the herb such as CBD. However we can all agree the water filtration you get from a bong is extremely beneficial for cooling down the smoke. So there really is no yes or no answers here, and there are not any current scientific studies on the benefits of using a bong and water filtration. So until then let’s all just enjoy using our bongs like people have been doing for thousands of years.
So how does water filtration work?
When you light the dry herbs in your bowl piece and inhale through the mouthpiece, the smoke is pulled through the water in the bong before reaching your lungs. The smoke travels through the water it is forced into small bubbles. This is where the smoke cooling really happens, since the surface area of the smoke is increased it is cooled down quickly. That alone is a huge benefit because it makes smoking easier on your lungs. Some bongs even let you add ice cubes to further cool down the smoke. If you use a bong with a higher number of percolators you will get even better smoke cooling and filtration. Not sure what percolators are? Check out our post about the benefits of bong percolators.
The water also helps helps to filter out larger particles that you would otherwise inhale if you were smoking from a traditional glass pipe. You know what were talking about you and your friends probably called them Scooby Snacks or Happy Meals. Although funny, nobody likes the taste of burnt ash in their mouth. The water also helps to filter out the butane from the lighter and ash and tar from the smoke. Ever notice just how dirty your bong water gets? All of that nasty stuff is trapped in the water instead of going into your lungs.
Things to remember when using a bong:
- Make sure to keep your bong clean and change the water frequently. Using dirty bong water not only makes your smoke taste nasty it also doesn’t filter as well as clean water. It is also just good hygiene to ensure you keep your bong clean especially if you are smoking it with other people and friends.
- Glass bongs are much better than plastic or metals ones. Plastic or metals pipes can transmit harmful chemicals to your body when smoking. We never recommend using plastic bongs because when heated the plastic can emit harmful toxins. A lot of smokers buy plastic water pipe because they are cheap, but when dealing with smoke and your health it is not something you want to be cheap with. Get yourself a nice glass bong, we even have a ton of bongs under $100
Are vaporizers healthier than bongs?
If you are truly looking for the healthiest way to consume dry herbs using a vaporizer is without a doubt your best option. Vaporizers do not combust your herbs and instead only heat the beneficial compounds in your herbs. Vaporizers can be much more expensive than bongs but they are definitely worth it. However if you have tried both a bong and vaporizer before than you know there is nothing quite as enjoyable as a nice bong hit 🙂
A question we get asked a lot is smoking from bongs healthier? Most people assume the answer is yes, but it's not that simple.
Demystifying the Bong, One Myth at a Time
Bongs, which you may also know by slang terms like bubbler, binger, or billy, are water pipes used to smoke cannabis.
They’ve been around for centuries. The word bong is said to have come from the Thai word “baung” for a bamboo tube used for smoking weed.
Today’s bongs look a lot more complicated than a simple bamboo tube, but they all come down to the same basic process.
Read on to learn more about how bongs work and why, contrary to lore, they aren’t actually any better for your lungs than other smoking methods.
Bongs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are very basic with just a bowl and chamber. Others are colorful, mouth-blown works of art.
At the end of the day, they all do basically the same thing: filter and cool the smoke that comes from the burning marijuana.
Bongs generally feature a small bowl that holds dried weed. When you light the weed it combusts. Meanwhile, as you inhale, the water in the bottom of the bong bubbles (or percolates, if you want to get technical). The smoke rises up through the water and then the chamber before entering your mouth and lungs.
If you’re looking for a smoother toke, a bong will give you just that compared to smoking weed rolled in paper.
As expected, the water in a bong eliminates the dry heat you get from a joint. The effect is often described as being cooler, creamy, and smooth rather than harsh.
This effect can be deceiving, though.
While the smoother smoke might feel better on your lungs, you’re still smoking. And that smoke is still filling up your lungs (we’ll spare the lecture on why this is all-around bad news for your health).
Sure, a small amount of the bad stuff might get filtered out. But it’s not enough to make much of a difference.
Yes, this means all those stories about bongs being the “safer” way to smoke are largely based on junk science.
So far, bong safety has been pretty low on the list of priorities when it comes to medical research. But as cannabis becomes legal in more areas, this could change.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health organizations, smoke is harmful to lung health regardless of what you’re smoking because of the carcinogens released from the combustion of materials.
Smoking marijuana, whether via doobie or bong, can harm lung tissues and cause scarring and damage to your small blood vessels.
The tendency to inhale deeply and hold your breath when smoking pot means you’re often exposed to more tar per breath. Plus, bongs are basically a way to get more smoke into your lungs while also making that smoke more pleasant to inhale.
All of these aspects make it easy to overdo it when using a bong.
One other risk to keep in mind is related to the use of plastic bongs. Plastics that contain chemicals like BPA and phthalates have been linked to adverse health effects, including cancer.
Bong health risks aside, depending on where you live and local laws, having a bong with marijuana in it or even just some residue could get you in legal hot water.
Research also shows that marijuana-only smokers have more healthcare visits related to respiratory conditions than nonsmokers, regardless of the method used to inhale the smoke.
How do those fancy bongs, with all their bells and whistles, actually work? Plus, find out whether they're actually easier on your lungs than a joint.