Smokers (in legal states) have access to a wide variety of products. And as legalization spreads and cannabis use becomes even more normalized, a new wave of health-conscious stoners are hitting the industry. These canna-curious consumers tend to turn to bongs, or water pipes, when smoking as a way to reduce the respiratory side effects that can come with hitting a joint or blunt.
It’s no secret that inhaling weed is the fastest way to feel the benefits: when we light up, heat releases cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes, producing a plethora of flavors, smells, and effects. However, smoke - regardless of the source - can irritate airway passages causing inflammation, increased phlegm production, and discomfort. This may be why the bong remains a classic way to smoke cannabis among health-conscious consumers. By using a bong, smokers get a strong blast of effects while also being able to filter out some of the toxins that other methods can’t.
How is Smoking From a Bong Healthier?
The secret is in the water. The water-filled chamber of a bong can trap as much as 90% of toxins (and cytotoxins) that smokers would otherwise inhale. Once the bowl is lit, smoke is pulled through the water and up a tube before moving through the mouthpiece and into the smoker's lungs. As it travels through the water, the smoke is cooled and harmful particles like ash, tar, and butane emissions are left behind. Without the water, these substances would make their way directly to the lungs.
There is still some debate in the industry over the healthiest ways to consume cannabis, but the majority of bong lovers believe that using a bong is by far the healthiest smoking method. The logic? Any form of filtration is better than a non-filtered alternative: ie. joints, blunts, normal chillums/pipes. That being said, any form of inhalation comes with some risks, and it is up to each individual consumer to weigh the options for themselves.
Choosing the Right Bong
A bong is a type of water filtration pipe that allows the smoke from cannabis flower to be filtered through water and cooled before it is inhaled. The outcome: a smoother (and cleaner) smoking experience. A bong is made up of a watertight bowl and stem, a water chamber, and a ‘draw tube’ or pipe that links the water chamber to the mouthpiece.
Bongs are available in a wide variety of shapes, colors, sizes, and materials. If you tend to lean toward a bong for a more health-conscious toke, be sure to choose a high-quality glass. Plastic bongs with rubber hoses and/or aluminum components should be avoided as they can increase the chances of inhaling unwanted toxins (like BPA) while smoking.
Things to Remember When Smoking a Bong
A bong may provide a healthier alternative to smoking a joint or blunt, but at the end of the day, a bong is only as successful as we set it up to be. Here are some aspects to consider to minimize your risks while smoking.
In addition to using a quality device, the quality of cannabis flower used in a bong has the potential to increase or decrease risk factors when smoking. For a better experience, opt for high-quality flower that is void of pesticides. The knowledgeable budtenders at our Buckley dispensary are always available to help you find quality bud that won't break the bank.
Pro Tip: Swap using a lighter with an all-natural Hemp Wick to reduce butane inhalation while smoking.
The cleanliness of your bong and bong water is as important - if not more - than the quality of products used. Leaving dirty water in a bong is less than hygienic and will reduce the filtering ability. Instead of opting for tap water that has additives like plastic particles and chlorine, fill your clean bong with distilled water. Any chemicals in the water can increase the risk factors associated with smoking while also affecting the taste of your hit. Additionally, make sure to change out the water and clean your bong regularly.
To Recap: The Choice is Yours
Smoking isn’t just about getting high: it’s about the overall experience. While all forms of cannabis inhalation come with their own risks, many smokers concerned with the potentially negative long-term effects of smoking make the switch to a bong. Bongs filter unwanted toxins and cool smoke to offer a cleaner (and smoother) smoking experience.
Ultimately, there is no 100% safe way to smoke anything, but there are plenty of other ways to consume weed. Cannabis enthusiasts with smoke sensitivities should consider looking into health-conscious alternatives like edibles, tinctures, or topicals.