- What's the point of bong water
- How does bong water filter smoke?
- The benefits of changing bong water regularly
- How often should you change your bong water?
- How to tell if your bong water needs changing
- Can bong water make you sick?
- How to keep your bong clean
Bongs are a staple piece of equipment among cannabis lovers, and it’s not hard to see why. The water inside, and the design that allows for it, helps to make hits smooth by cooling down the smoke and filtering out tar and ash that would otherwise get in your airways.
Once in a while, though, you’ll need to get up and replace the water in your bong. Why is that? Doesn’t the water keep doing its job regardless? Well, as we’ll explain in detail later, regular replacement is key if you want to get the most out of your bong water.
What's the Point of Bong Water
Bongs come in all shapes and sizes, but regardless of what they look like (or how much they cost you), all bongs have one thing in common. That, of course, is the fact that they have at least one large chamber dedicated to water.
And, besides creating that reassuring bubbling sound that lets you know your bong’s working, the water that you use to fill the chamber(s) of your bong plays two very important roles.
First and foremost, the water in your bong works as a filter. When we combust cannabis, we actually change the chemical composition of the plant, turning THCA (a non-intoxicating acid) into THC, the cannabinoid that gets us high. However, the act of combustion also creates hundreds of secondary toxic and carcinogenic compounds that are often grouped together and simply called “tar”.
For example, studies show that cannabis smoke is qualitatively very similar to tobacco smoke, both being particularly rich in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (naturally present in coal, crude oil, and gasoline), which are infamous for their carcinogenic and mutagenic properties.
Bong water helps to trap at least some of these compounds from the smoke, as well as filter out any ash or plant material before it reaches your mouth and airways. Is it a perfect filter? No—but it does the job well enough to make it cleaner than other smoking methods in the long run.
Second, the water in your bong also cools the smoke before it hits your mouth, making for a smoother hit that’s less irritating on the lungs.
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How Does Bong Water Filter Smoke?
So, considering it just sits at the bottom of your piece, how exactly does bong water filter smoke? To figure this out, studies have explored the difference in chemical composition between regular tobacco smoke and tobacco smoked from a water pipe, and the results are very promising.
Studies dating back to the 1960s, for example, show that the water in a water pipe works as a very effective filter, trapping up to 90% of phenols (which are cardiovascular toxins, act as tumour co-promoters, and show genotoxic activity), as well as up to 50% of particulate matter and benzo(a)pyrene (a highly carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon).
Other studies have also compared the carcinogenic properties of bong water to that of water-filtered smoke. The results from this research found that the water left in a bong was far richer in carcinogens than the smoke that it filtered.
More recently, researchers from the University of Texas and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted cellular toxicity tests on both cannabis and tobacco smoke.
They found that filtering both types of smoke through water helped remove acrolein and acetaldehyde, two toxins that attack alveolar macrophages, one of the main defence cells of the lung. When exposed to unfiltered tobacco or cannabis smoke, the ability of these cells to kill bacteria was strongly impaired.
Does Bong Water Filter Out THC?
So, there’s solid research to show how bong water filters out toxins from cannabis smoke. But, the fact that water makes for such an efficient filter also raises one very important question; can the water from your bong also filter out cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) and terpenes?
The short answer is yes. Just how many cannabinoids or terpenes your bong water filters, however, is negligible compared to its ability to filter toxins and irritating particles (like ash and plant matter). That’s because most of the active cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in cannabis smoke aren’t water-soluble (which is also why, for example, dunking cannabis buds in tea won’t get you high).
Studies have shown, however, that between 20–40% of the THC in cannabis smoke can bind to the glass in your bong, with even more getting lost if your bong is plastic. To fix that problem, however, just shop around for glassware that has been silyl-treated and doesn’t contain any rubber or plastic components.
What is arguably more concerning than THC trapped in your bong water, though, is how compounds in your water might alter the smoke passing through it. If you use highly chlorinated tap water in your bong, for example, the chlorine will carry into the smoke.
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Will Drinking Bong Water Get You High?
So, since THC gets absorbed into it, could you get high by drinking bong water?
No. Please don’t let your friend (or whoever else gave you this brilliant idea) trick you into drinking bong water.
Cannabinoids, as we mentioned earlier, aren’t water-soluble. If you want to get high from eating or drinking cannabis, you need to heat and mix it with some kind of fat. If you really want to drink your own cannabis, consider mixing some cannabutter or oil with honey and use it to sweeten your warm drink of choice, or use cannabis-infused chocolate to make yourself a hot chocolate!
The Benefits of Changing Bong Water Regularly
So, to break things down clearly, these are the main benefits of changing your bong water on a regular basis:
- Better flavour: Tar, resin, and ash trapped in your bong or bong water have a massive impact on the flavour of your weed. If you want to preserve the flavours of your kush, make sure you clean your bong water regularly and fill it with natural spring water.
- Better filtration: Clean water is more effective at filtering toxins and irritating compounds (like ash and leftover plant matter) from smoke. Make sure to change your bong water regularly to enjoy the best filtration from your bong.
- Longer-lasting glassware: Bongs and glass pipes simply last longer when they’re properly cared for. Cleaning your bong regularly per the instructions below will help keep your glassware free of stains and imperfections for as long as possible.
How Often Should You Change Your Bong Water?
How often you change your bong water or clean your bong comes down to personal preference. But, ultimately, the more often you do so, the better.
At RQS, we’re keen on preserving the flavour of our weed and having the best smoking experience possible. Hence, we recommend you clean your bong before each use, and make a point to change your bong water for each session.
How To Tell if Your Bong Water Needs Changing
Here are a few tips to help you spot when your bong might be in need of a clean or fresh water:
|Foul Odour||If your bong reeks, that’s a telltale sign it’s in need of a clean and a change of water. If your bong smells off, make sure to give it a deep clean with detergent or saltwater and sterilise it with alcohol.|
|Brown Water||Brown bong water is another sign that it’s time to clean your piece. The resin and tar present in cannabis smoke will, over time, stain the water in your bong, as well as the glass. Regularly cleaning your bong can help your glassware look its best for longer.|
|Resin Buildup||No matter what people tell you, don’t get tricked into scraping resin off your bong and packing it into a bowl. If you notice brown or black resin building up around any part of your bong, it’s time to give it a clean.|
|Mould||This is pretty obvious, but if your bong has trapped mould, give it a solid clean and sterilise it before your next session. Stagnant water provides a breeding ground for fungi and bad bacteria that should be nowhere near your mouth or lungs.|
|If your bong reeks, that’s a telltale sign it’s in need of a clean and a change of water. If your bong smells off, make sure to give it a deep clean with detergent or saltwater and sterilise it with alcohol.|
|Brown bong water is another sign that it’s time to clean your piece. The resin and tar present in cannabis smoke will, over time, stain the water in your bong, as well as the glass. Regularly cleaning your bong can help your glassware look its best for longer.|
|No matter what people tell you, don’t get tricked into scraping resin off your bong and packing it into a bowl. If you notice brown or black resin building up around any part of your bong, it’s time to give it a clean.|
|This is pretty obvious, but if your bong has trapped mould, give it a solid clean and sterilise it before your next session. Stagnant water provides a breeding ground for fungi and bad bacteria that should be nowhere near your mouth or lungs.|
Can Bong Water Make You Sick?
If it gets dirty enough, can bong water make you sick? As it turns out, yes. As we saw earlier, the water in your bong serves as a filter that traps toxins, ash, and tar. Drinking it would be like eating the filter tip of a cigarette, and would likely make you very, very sick.
Is Bong Water Good for Plants?
You still may not want to waste the water, however, and may be wondering whether you could give it to your plants. Again, it helps to think of the water in your bong like the filter tip of a cigarette; just like cigarette butts have no place in your garden, nor does bong water. Unfortunately, there is no real practical use for bong water other than flushing it down the drain.
How To Keep Your Bong Clean
Cleaning and preparing your bong isn’t rocket science. For best results, simply dismantle your bong and soak all of its components in warm, soapy water for about 15 minutes. Next, use a soft brush to scrub the glassware and bowl. Finally, rinse all parts of your bong under warm water to remove any of the soap, and let them dry separately before you reassemble your piece. Fill it with water before your next session, and voilà!
- Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the Mainstream Smoke of Popular U.S. Cigaretteshttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- Comparison of the yields of several selected components in the smoke from different tobacco productshttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- UKCIA Research Libraryhttps://www.ukcia.org
- Marijuana and tobacco smoke gas-phase cytotoxins - ScienceDirecthttps://www.sciencedirect.com
Disclaimer:This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.
Better filtration: Clean water is more effective at filtering toxins and irritating compounds (like ash and leftover plant matter) from smoke. Make sure to change your bong water regularly to enjoy the best filtration from your bong.Should you change bong water after every use? ›
Set your bong or water pipe out to dry completely before putting it away until the next time. Always use fresh water each time you break out your bong or pipe. At the bare minimum, daily consumers should change their bong water every two to three days.What are the risks of not changing bong water? ›
Additionally, you should replace your bong water after every use to prevent bacteria from growing and ensure the water doesn't become too dirty. If you leave the water sitting in your bong for too long, it can start to smell bad and may even be harmful to inhale weed through.Is it important to clean bong water? ›
A dirty bong can harbor bacteria and mold, which can be dangerous to inhale. Regular cleaning will help keep your bong free from harmful contaminants and ensure high air quality when smoking. This can lead to respiratory infections and other health problems. That's why you should NEVER drink dirty bong water.How often should you clean bong water? ›
How often should you clean a bong? Most experts say you should clean your bong after a few days to a week of use. You must also replace your bong water often, ideally after every smoke session, to avoid mold. Any water that sits in a water pipe is at risk of molding.How long does it take for bacteria to form in bong water? ›
If it looks gross, it probably is, and it's time for a change. And bacteria will start to accrue in standing water within 24-48 hours, so if it's been longer than that, you definitely need to change it. From time to time, in addition to changing your bong water, you should clean your bong.Why does my bong water turn yellow? ›
As smoke gets pulled under the water and cooled, the water turns yellow, filth builds up along the sides, the mouthpiece can taste like ash, and bowls get clogged and caked in sticky resin that does not come off in hot water.Is a dirty bong unhealthy? ›
In your bong, that biofilm is mixed with all of the resin and plant matter that ends up in the water. This allows harmful pathogens like streptococcus, E. coli and black mildew to grow and flourish in your bong, which can cause respiratory issues like strep throat, pneumonia and emphysema.Can I put Sprite in my bong? ›
Putting soda in a bong is fairly common, surprisingly. Some smokers say that the carbonation feels amazing, and others say that it's harsh as hell. One soda lover said that he likes to wait until the soda is flat before using it.Can you use Gatorade as a bong water? ›
Gatorade is a perfect example of a sugary drink that can make your bong rips super tasty! The wide variety of flavor choices lends itself to all stoners' different tastes!
The amount of water in the bong matters because it will not operate effectively with too little or too much. With too much water, it will be difficult to smoke from it.Can I use my bong right after I clean it? ›
If you aren't planning on lighting up your bong right away, let it air dry to make sure all the water dries. If you want to hit the bong instantly after cleaning, make sure you properly towel dry all the pieces to ensure that no mold grows.What is the perfect water for a bong? ›
A few reasons. Distilled water is free of minerals, and won't leave deposits against your piece. It's also resistant to becoming cloudy at different temps, and that keeps your piece looking nicer too. Always start with the lowest water line you can and see how the bong hits, the add water from there.Can you reuse a water bottle bong? ›
Water bottle bongs can't easily be cleaned. They aren't very durable, and they don't hold up to heat well. You can get about a days' use out of a water bottle bong before it has to be thrown away. The best solution is to invest in a reliable glass bong that you can clean and continually reuse.