Marijuana Bongs 101: Your Guide To Using a Bong


Marijuana smokers today have a wide variety of options when it comes to bongs. Sure, those Betty Crocker brownies that you baked in college may have been way more potent, but many still prefer smoking marijuana the old-school way – through a joint or a bong. If you are in the process of buying your very first bong, or are planning on upgrading your old one, here are a few things to keep in mind.

What is a water pipe or a bong?

As you probably already know, a water pipe or a bong is a device that works by passing smoke through water. Through the process, all the toxic materials and particulate matter that you would have otherwise inhaled and ingested, are removed. In fact, there have been many studies to suggest that this filtration of water is a proven way to reduce one’s exposure to the several carcinogenic compounds in smoke. The water in the bong has several other benefits, such as it cools the smoke down before it enters the airways of the smoker, thus making it easier to inhale.


There are many different types of water pipes or bongs, available in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are also made from a variety of materials such as ceramic, bamboo, acrylic, glass, and sometimes, from more innovative items such fruit and plastic soda bottles.

Some of the more modest bongs cost as little as $10, while other elaborate models have been known to be priced at an alarming sum of over $1,000!

Advantages of water pipes

When marijuana is burnt, it results in a mixture of some harmful compounds, many of which tend to be carcinogenic in nature and likely to cause cancer. Burning marijuana produces polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), such as benzopyrene, a substance which is also found in tobacco smoke. While there haven’t been many studies on marijuana, some clinical research on tobacco suggests that almost 90% of certain toxins are trapped when water pipes are used.

Another study in 1991 revealed that substances called cytotoxins, which are said to negatively affect immune cells, were removed when marijuana smoke was passed through water, as in a water pipe or a bong, suggesting that smokers with an immunodeficiency, such as AIDS or HIV may actually benefit from this water filtration.

In addition to that, there’s the fact that bongs are relatively simple to use and maintain when compared to other more advanced devices such as vaporizers.

Disadvantages of water pipes

The pros definitely outweigh the cons where water pipes are concerned, but one main drawback here is that bongs and other such filtered devices tend to trap more THC as compared to unfiltered devices. A study conducted in 1991 revealed that the cannabinoid:tar ratio produced by the smoke from a water pipe was lower than that produced by an unfiltered joint.

More tar was not eliminated by water pipes than by joints, pointing to the suggestion that water pipes could be less efficient than other smoking methods. This means the smoker must smoke more for that desired effect.

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