Why you should only use water in bongs and pipes

Published May 22, 2019 12:47 p.m. ET
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Stoners are known for their creativity and have a long history of coming up with some world class ideas on how to make smoking cannabis a unique experience. Though some of those experiments work out for the best, there are still quite a few myths being spread around that contain possibly harmful suggestions that you just shouldn’t try at home. One of the most commonly heard rumors is that bong water can be switched out for other liquids. You should never put anything other than water or ice in a bong, and here we will explain just a few of the best reasons why.

1. Juice, wine, and other additives will ferment

The reason why it is such a common belief that bong water will get you high is that the water in our smoking device isn’t switched out every hour. Of course, there is the odd super stoner, but the majority of cannabis smokers will let the water sit for at least a few hours. At room temperature, it doesn’t take long for many of our favorite flavored beverages to begin to ferment, which creates the ideal breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. If you breathe or drink any of those contaminants, it can lead to food poisoning and other awful feeling and sensations that I promise you will want to avoid at all costs.

2. Bong water performs a very specific job

Bong water is meant to act as a filter of excess plant materials that might find their way into the device, and it traps them within the water before they make it to your mouth, but that’s not all that water does. It also helps to cool the super-heated smok, which provides a much cooler toke. Water can maintain a cooler temperature than any other viscous liquids that you might consider trying for added flavor. If you try to cool any other liquid by placing it back into the fridge, then it will speed up the process that breaks down the liquids, and you will again increase your chances of some type of food poisoning.

3. THC is alcohol solvent

One of the most common alternatives that you might hear recommended is to add alcoholic beverages to your bong. If you were to have wine in a bong, and then smoke cannabis through it, as the smoke travels through the wine, the THC that is floating in it would bind to the alcohol molecules. Rendering your hit much less powerful, and unfortunately, wasted.

4. Breathing in contaminants

As you heat your marijuana in a bowl, it also heats the liquid inside of the bong. Bong water is only water, so if it manages to heat enough to evaporate slightly, it isn’t hazardous to your health. However, inhaling other contaminants like alcohol into the lungs can make you feel sick, and cause some pretty serious damage to the lungs.

5. Taste doesn’t travel through the air

Ultimately, the main reason that anyone would want to use a different kind of liquid in place of the usual bong water would be to influence the flavor of the weed. Though you would be able to smell it, running marijuana smoke through a flavored liquid is not enough to add any taste. So even if you were able to avoid all of the potentially harmful side effects, the end results really wouldn’t be worth it anyway.

Is it safe to put ice in a bong?

Yes! Though it is recommended to use pieces that won’t risk breaking the stem or chamber when dropped inside. There also must be some water, even with the addition of ice, otherwise your hit will be hot and dry because ice alone is not enough to properly cool the smoke.

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