What’s in bong water?
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- Substances in bong water
- How often should I change bong water?
- Bong water alternatives
- Bottom line
Bongs are a quintessential part of the cannabis smoking experience. Sometimes referred to as a water pipe or bubbler, a bong is a smoking device featuring a bowl for dried weed and a chamber filled with water. Smoke bubbles up through the water, which cools and filters it. The result is a smooth cannabis smoke with only trace amounts of particulate matter such as tar and ash.
Since the filtration system cleanses the smoke, you might be wondering, what is in that water? In this article, you’ll learn exactly what could be lurking in your bong water, plus why it’s important to keep your bong clean and change the water frequently.
Substances in bong water
Although some of the substances in bong water are toxic, others are desirable, such as cannabinoids. The water filters out some of the good and some of the bad, which means that you may need to take more hits with a bong than with a joint to reap the potential benefits of the cannabinoids. Not all the weed will burn off, so there could be some residual herb in the bong water, which means lower concentrations of CBD and THC in the smoke that reaches you. Some CBD, studied for its many potential therapeutic effects, may be left behind. Some THC will also linger in the water, meaning that a bong may not get you as easily high as other types of smoke.
Stagnant bong water, just like water in a puddle, can gather all kinds of bacteria and fungi. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Stagnant bong water, just like water in a puddle, can gather all kinds of bacteria and fungi. Yeasts and other microorganisms can also fester in dirty bong water. Under no circumstances should you attempt to drink bong water. It’s not even advisable to water plants with bong water, as it can contain toxic levels of mold. If in doubt, pour the old water down the drain and start fresh.
How often should I change bong water?
Ideally, you should use clean, fresh water for every bong session. If you don’t change the water frequently enough, the bong will be challenging to clean. It’s also important to change the bong water regularly to remove any potentially carcinogenic materials that the filtration system has released.
Ideally, you should use clean, fresh water for every bong session. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
You’ll know that the water needs to be changed when it develops a top layer known as biofilm. Forming across the surface of the water, the biofilm could harbor any number of nasty pathogens, from Strep and E. coli to black mildew. When inhaled, these substances can lead to serious illness, so be vigilant about changing that bong water. One of the benefits of bongs is that they filter out harmful materials, but they can only accomplish that feat with clean water.
If you’re cleaning the bong water for the first time, be prepared for a foul odor. Replace it with the most purified water available. You can also toss in a few ice cubes or ice water for a cooler, more refreshing smoking experience.
Bong water alternatives
If you want to experiment, there are several alternatives to bong water. Unsweetened cranberry juice is one popular substitute for water. While the juice won’t dramatically change the flavor of your bong hit, it will display an appealing crimson color in the glass. Even better, cranberry juice’s natural acidity can keep your bong cleaner longer. Sugary fruit juice, however, is not recommended as a bong water alternative. The sugars can create a sticky residue and make the bong cleaning process very frustrating.
Sparkling rather than still water is another option to try that will make your marijuana smoke feel like a party. Fizzy bubbles can add lightness and texture to your bong hit, along with subtle flavor if you use sparkling water flavored with citrus or lime (again, avoid the sweet stuff).
For a slight variation, slice up some lemon peels and insert them into the chamber along with still water, sparkling water, or cranberry juice. Mint leaves may offer the ultimate chill factor for your water pipe.
Get creative with bong water alternatives but avoid any sugary substances. Also steer clear of liquor which can emit dangerous alcohol fumes (and contains sugar to boot).
Bongs can deliver a fresher, smoother cannabis smoking experience. Just be sure to keep the water and the device clean.In this article, you'll learn exactly what could be lurking in your bong water, plus why it's important to keep your bong clean and change the water frequently.
What happens when you drink bong water?
When you smoke marijuana by rolling it into a joint, there is a tiny amount that will always be left behind called a roach. It’s considered normal and often even expected that a person might want to save the remainder of their herb to enjoy later because there is still plenty of THC left behind. Those who choose bongs or weed pipes are known to scrape together scraps of cannabis residue that clings to the bowl to smoke during the hardest of times. That thick tarry substance does contain ashes and other plant materials that won’t get you high, but it is held together by a condensed layer of THC that will make you tingle. These two common practices have led many to eye up their bong water as a potential source. This makes sense to the average person since the THC laden smoke would travel through the water on its way to the mouthpiece essentially filtering out some of the cannabinoids along the way.
Is there THC in bong water?
When you smoke marijuana through a bong, the smoke travels through a water chamber before reaching the mouthpiece. All this step does in the process is cool down the smoke and remove any floating ash or plant particles that managed to make it through the screen. Now that isn’t to say that absolutely no cannabinoids will be left behind. However, what does make it into the water to stay is minimal. According to one study that measured the amount of THC in bong water after 1,2,3,4 and 5 bowls showed that a meager .5 mg of THC on average per bowl would end up in the liquid. The other problem with bong water is that it tends to be exposed to light which will also degrade cannabinoids like THC or CBD.
Will drinking bong water get you high?
The answer to this will depend on many things including how much marijuana is smoked through it, how old it is, the quality of the pot, and how much light exposure the water has gone through. Since bong water will only contain minimal amounts of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC, it might just have a felt effect for those with a low tolerance to ingesting marijuana or more specifically, the cannabinoid THC. However, the majority of regular or frequent marijuana product consumers probably wouldn’t get stoned from ingesting such a small amount of THC.
Adverse effects of drinking bong water
Though there may be some positive gain to obtain from drinking your pre-used bong water, there are plenty of possible adverse effects that you should be aware of before trying it for yourself. The most common are induced by the pungent smell and taste which includes vomiting, nausea, upset stomach, and dizziness. The second potential issue with drinking old bong water is due to how long these devices sit around. Mold can begin to form, especially once plant matter has entered the water, and it only takes a mere 24 hours for bacteria to appear and start to develop. There are a host of physical ailments that can be caused by drinking contaminated water which is similar to food poisoning in both symptoms and treatment.
Should you drink bong water?
Though we can surely understand what it is like to be without marijuana, especially when it is used as medicine there are unfortunately very few benefits to drinking bong water. The only positive is that you might be able to get a little bit of a buzz, but the cost could result in you needing other treatments like prescription pharmaceutical medicine or even hospitalization. It tastes and smells terrible, and really should be emptied after every single use to keep a sanitary and functional piece. There is no good reason to drink bong water, so we highly recommend that you dump it down the kitchen sink or into the garden instead just to be safe. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to such questionable contents.When you smoke marijuana by rolling it into a joint, there is a tiny amount that will always be left behind called a roach. ]]>