It’s a question many of our customers ask; is smoking from bongs really healthier?
Whether you’re a regular smoker or a newbie looking for the best way to get your fix, this guide will break down everything you need to know.
Fact is, many smokers concerned about the potential health implications of smoking consider switching to a bong when enjoying their favorite sticky green herb.
If you’re looking to enjoy the effect of marijuana without exposing yourself to the many health risks of smoking, then toking up with a bong could be an option for you.
Read on to find out if making the move to a bong is right for you…
What is a Bong?
Sure, most of us know what a bong is. But for those that are new to the scene let’s not spoil it. Besides, bongs come in a virtually endless array of styles and designs, so there might be something you weren’t aware of either.
Bongs are notoriously one of the more popular ways of smoking marijuana and other herbs. And as you’ll read in this guide, with good reason.
Put simply, a bong is a water filtration device. It consists of a watertight bowl-stem, a water container, and a ‘draw tube’ or pipe. The cannabis or herb is placed at the top of the stem and the smoker puts their mouth over the pipe to inhale the smoke, which is naturally filtered through the water.
Bongs come in a wide range of different shapes, colors, sizes and materials, but the most widely-used bongs are made from hand-blown glass. The aim of many bong manufacturers is to create a piece that has as much focus on the design as it does on the function and efficiency. Smoking from a bong isn’t just about the “high”, it’s about the whole experience.
The word ‘bong; comes from the Thai word ‘baung’. A bong is also known as a water pipe. Other slang names for a bong that you might recognize are bing, binger, pipe or hookah. The bong is very much a part of cannabis culture and many people are very fond of theirs, even going so far as to it a name!
Aside from the obvious (combustion of your weed into smoke), the purpose of a bong is to filter out all the stuff you don’t want in your lungs. You know, those impurities, tar and other particulates that have no business being inhaled.
When you light your herb, it catches fire or combusts. At which point the particles of the herb break down and turn into a gaseous smoke laden with all the good stuff (THC, CBD and other cannabinoids).
When this smoke passes through the water in the bong, all the bad stuff, like ash and tar is filtered out, leaving you with all the stuff you want, and nothing that you don’t. This natural filtration process makes each pull smoother, healthier and more flavorful.
How Is Smoking From A Bong Healthier?
Ah, the million dollar question.
The majority of bong lovers believe that smoking from bongs is healthier, but the real answer isn’t that simple, and there is admittedly some debate on this subject.
First off, any form of filtration is superior to any non-filtered alternative (such as a joint, blunt, or smoking from a non-water pipe). That said, any form of combustion smoking is going to come with some risks that each individual needs to weigh for themselves. For those hyper-vigilant or adverse to any risk from smoke inhalation, there are always oils, tinctures, dry herb vaping, and edibles.
What does science have to say?
While some controversy still exists (largely due to the “any smoke is harmful” debate), the science shows that bong filtration is useful as a healthy filtration process.
There are a number of studies showing that smoking a bong is better for your health than smoking without a filter. While many individuals believe that the water in the bong can trap up to 90% of the harmful toxins and carcinogens that are created when you burn the herb, this percentage isn’t necessarily accurate.
Three Interesting Studies
That said, the data does show that water filtration is effective in reducing the number of harmful compounds and substances that would have otherwise made it into your lungs.
University of Texas
For example, a recent study conducted by Dr. Gary Huber at the University of Texas, in conjunction with colleagues from Harvard’s Schools of Public Health, looked at the toxicity of marijuana smoke. What they found was that smoke which was passed through water effectively eliminated both acrolein and acetaldehyde, both of which are highly toxic to certain cells in your lungs.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Another study conducted by Hoffman and published in theJournal of the National Cancer Institute, 31, 627-635 (1963) demonstrated that water filtration reduced both the quantity and number of toxic substances in smoke passed through it.
University of Athens Medical School
Again, in 1970 studies hailing out of the University of Athens Medical School tested marijuana smoke passed through a water pipe (i.e. bong) and found that while water filtration did leave behind a nominal amount of THC, it also captured other impurities and toxins to a higher degree.
Without Filtration, Everything Gets Inhaled: the good and the bad
Without the water there to catch these harmful substances, you’re breathing them directly into your lungs.
Whether we like it or not, burning herbs using a flame can produce dangerous toxins and carcinogens. As such, any reduction of these substances is a good thing, especially if you are a regular smoker.
Bongs don’t just filter out those unwanted toxins and offer you a cleaner hit, they have other benefits too. Most people prefer the hit that they get from a bong because it offers a higher quality smoking experience.
The water in the bong not only filter the smoke, but it also reduces the temperature of the smoke before it hits your mouth and lungs, giving you a cooler, smoother, better tasting hit.
Ways to Improve the Quality of Your Bong Hits
Opt for a glass bong, rather than a plastic or metal pipe. Plastics or metals can transmit dangerous chemicals to your lungs when you’re smoking, as the heat can cause the material to release harmful toxins. Plastic bongs may be cheaper but if you value your health it is worth investing in a higher quality glass model.
You’ll also want to keep your water clean to improve the quality of your smoking experience. Any chemicals in the water will affect the taste of your hit and some chemicals - such as chlorine - can be dangerous if inhaled. This is why you should always keep your bong clean before each use.
Other Healthy Alternatives
If you’re concerned about the health implications of smoking, you may want to try a Vaporizer, which is widely considered the healthiest way to consume dry herb. Instead of combusting the herb to create smoke, a vaporizer heats the product to release its beneficial compounds. Vaporizers can be a more expensive way to get your hit though and let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like getting a smooth, cool hit from a bong.
You might also want to consider using a hemp wick to light your bong. Hemp wick is a type of thin string that is made from beeswax and hemp (a variety of the Marijuana plant). Hemp wick is a natural product and for this reason, it has become a popular alternative to Butane lighters, due to the dangers of Butane inhalation.
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