Did you know that bongs (officially called ‘water pipes’) date back to the days of Emperor Akbar? For thousands of years, civilizations smoked things like opium and tobacco through clay, bamboo, and animal horn bongs. Even our ancestors enjoyed smoother hits of the herb.
With such a long history behind them, it should come as no surprise that smoking from bongs has been studied and surveyed quite extensively. Scientifically speaking, we know a great deal about what happens when you pack weed into a bong and light it up.
So let's talk about the pros and cons of the practice. The more that you understand, the more you can apply the knowledge to your own smoking routines, increasing both the enjoyment and the efficacy of your cannabis.
The Benefits of Using a Bong for Smoking
There are many reasons why loyalists insist that smoking weed from a bong is the best.
For starters, it has a notable impact on the quality of the smoke you inhale. Since the smoke runs through water (or snow/ice) before reaching your lips, it feels cooler, smoother, and fresher. Smoke that's filtered through a water pipe can also cut out some of the nasty aftertastes of tar and ash, giving you the impression of a "fuller" hit.
The water filtration process can also make bongs a somewhat healthier choice compared to other smoking methods. Studies have shown that water pipes are particularly effective at reducing particulate matter from organic materials being burned. Bongs can trap carcinogenic agents and other pollutants within their H2O. However, as with all cannabis smoking devices, it’s important to routinely clean your bong to limit buildup of ‘resin’ or residue. Your ‘hits from the bong’ will not only taste better, but they will be cleaner and more pure when smoking from a clean bong with fresh water or snow.
Another great thing about bongs is that they're easy to use. You might need a diagram the first time, but once you have the hang of it, it's much easier than rolling a joint or spliff. You don't need to purchase any special accessories, either, outside of the bong itself, which is reusable. This will be cheaper than buying rolling papers regularly.
Last but not least, bongs can be a lot of fun, especially when you’re smoking weed with friends. You can buy them in various colors, in a variety of materials such as glass, and sizes that complement your personal aesthetic. You can pass them around with friends and have a good time together.
The Downsides of Smoking From a Bong
There are two sides to every story, so let's talk about the cons of smoking weed from a bong.
The biggest drawback is that it can take longer to get high from a bong. This is because water absorbs THC at faster rates than other cannabis-related tools, resulting in less of a hit with each inhalation. You can cancel out this effect by sucking in larger lungfuls of smoke, but in terms of raw potency, you'll need to smoke longer to receive the same high from a bong as a joint or blunt. If your goal is to blaze quickly, you'll be better off smoking one of those, especially an unfiltered one.
Another potential side effect of smoking from a bong is ingesting harmful chemicals from less-than-stellar bong materials. Some plastic bongs may have BPA, phthalates, and other plastic byproducts that you will inhale after lighting up. The effect is immediate, too: Even a single smoke session from a "bottle bong" can put those pollutants into your lungs. If you're relighting the same plastic over and over, the risk becomes even greater. For a safer smoke, switch to a bong made from borosilicate glass, or if you prefer plastic, make sure it’s not harmful. Overall, glass is cleanest and doesn't produce hazardous chemicals.
Is smoking weed out of a bong bad? Like all things in life, there are both benefits and drawbacks, so it's important to do your research before drawing your own conclusions.
Weighing the Pros and Cons of Bong Smoking
Is bong smoking for you? It depends on what you're hoping to get out of the experience. If you want a smoother, slightly healthier hit, a bong can be a nice choice for filtrating some of the more harmful elements in smoke. On the flip side, if you're looking to get rip-roaringly high, smoking out of a bong may take longer since you're getting less THC in every hit.
No one else can decide for you if you'll like smoking from a bong. You'll just have to light one up and try it out.