February 2, 2021 10:30 am ETEstimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
We’re learning more all the time about the potential health benefits of cannabis. And as more information comes out, we’re also debunking more and more ideas about the dangers of cannabis, many of which are simply misinformation spread by the voices behind the War on Drugs. That said, unsafe practices when it comes to cannabis use can result in some danger. We saw this last year during the so-called “vape crisis,” when off-market vape products were shown to contribute to health issues. The major takeaway from that fiasco was that it’s always smarter to get your cannabis legally and through a reputable source. And there are other best practices when it comes to cannabis consumption that can help to ensure that you have a safe and healthy experience. Today, we’re confronting the notorious issue of dirty bong water.
What is a Bong?
You’re probably already familiar with bong water, but because not everyone chooses to consume their cannabis the same way, we’ll offer a quick overview.
A bong is a water pipe used to smoke cannabis. Many consumers prefer their smoke to run over water because it cools the smoke and makes it less harsh to inhale. When using a bong, plant material is packed into a bowl. The consumer will hold a flame over the bowl as they slowly inhale while smoke fills the pipe chamber. Once the chamber is full or reached the preferred amount of smoke, the consumer sharply inhales from the mouth of the bong at the top. The smoke is drawn into a water-filled base, and from there up to the user’s mouth.
Because plant matter and smoke gets sucked directly into and through the water at the base of the bong, it will eventually develop a sticky residue coating that becomes dirtier over time. The question is, is that dirty water harmful to our health?
Apply For Your Medical Marijuana Card Today
Veriheal has satisfied hundreds of thousands of patients nationwide
Get approved or your money back
Appointments available on-demand
Customer support available 24/7
The Effects of Dirty Bong Water
The short answer is yes—dirty bong water can make you sick. The longer answer, though, is that this isn’t really a cannabis issue so much as it’s a dirty water issue. You wouldn’t drink dirty water. You wouldn’t take a bath in dirty water. Dirty water is a haven for bacterial growth and bong water is no different. Left unchecked, it can become a breeding ground for microbes. Such pathogens as E. Coli and Hepatitis A can be found in stagnant water, and you definitely don’t want to inhale that stuff. And if you have ever been dared to drink dirty bong water, it’d be in your best interest if you didn’t.
But in addition to regular pathogens, there are things that do come from cannabis passing through your bong water. For example, Aspergillus, a fungus that grows on the cannabis plant, breaks down into mycotoxins when it’s burned. Inhaling mycotoxins can cause lung disease. Even though it might be tempting to put off cleaning and grab that dirty bong to light up, it’s important to clean it out before you use it.
How Often Should You Change Your Bong Water?
You really can’t change your bong water too often, so if you’re not sure, just change the water. Some people like to have fresh water for every new smoking session, and that’s a good idea. You wouldn’t eat off dirty dishes, so why consume cannabis out of a dirty piece? Another good rule of thumb is to simply look at the 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. You can do this by soaking the pieces in isopropyl alcohol and then rinsing them thoroughly. Some people add kosher salt to the alcohol, pour it inside the bong, and vigorously shake it around to help scrub the resin off unreachable parts inside. If you don’t want to use alcohol, there are several different 420 cleaning brands that you can buy or you can also submerge your bong in water that has been boiled and sterilized. Just make sure the water has simmered and isn’t still at a boil or you could risk cracking the glass. Keeping things clean, when you use a bong or any water pipe, will help you stay healthy—and it’s worth the little bit of extra effort!
Kat Helgeson comes from a ten year career in social media marketing and content creation. She takes pride in her ability to communicate the culture and values of an organization via the written word. Kat is also the author of numerous books for young adults. Her titles have received the Junior Library Guild Award, the Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year Distinction, and been featured on the Illinois Reads selection list. Her work has been translated into Dutch and German.
Have you ever become so involved with an activity that you forget about about everything else? Did this leave you feeling like you were completely present or “in the zone”? In positive psychology, such experiences characterize a state known as “flow.” Flow is a cognitive state where a person is completely immersed in an activity,…
Navigating the laws on traveling with medical marijuana (MMJ) is incredibly confusing with the current global stance on cannabis. In the U.S., some states are okay with you bringing your medicine with you as long as you can prove your patient status, while other states are staunchly against it altogether, leaving MMJ patients in a…
Cannabis edibles are a preferred method of consuming cannabis by both retail consumers and medical cannabis patients alike. But just how long do they last? Let’s explore the shelf life of edibles, how to store them, and what to do if they go bad. What Are Edibles? Common Types of Edibles How Long Do Edibles…
People have been smoking joints for a long time. The first rolling papers surfaced around the early 1500s in Alcoy, Spain. These weren’t like the rolling papers we know today though. To start, these papers were intended for tobacco, not cannabis. They were made of hemp along with other textiles and lacked an adhesive gum…
Just in time for the holidays, the Jet Lag strain brings a smoking experience completely different than what the name suggests. Jet Lag is an energizing sativa that settles into a creative, silly high. And for an anxious flower-lover like me, this strain was the first step in my journey to finding the perfect cannabis…
The statements made regarding cannabis products on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Cannabis is not an FDA-approved substance and is still illegal under federal law. The information provided on this website is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered as a substitute for advice from a healthcare professional. We strongly recommend that you consult with a physician or other qualified healthcare provider before using any cannabis products. The use of any information provided on this website is solely at your own risk.