In the UK herb scene bongs are iconic. Next to joints they are the most widely used way to enjoy your herb and have achieved iconic status in pop culture; even people who have never partaken in dry herb smoking know exactly what a bong is for.
However there is a lot of debate over what a bong does exactly. Does it truly filter out all of the carcinogens and toxins from your herb, or does it merely cool it, allowing for a smoother hit?
Studies have shown that other than the psychoactive ingredients tobacco smoke and herb smoke have more or less the same constituent toxins and carcinogens. Though there is some evidence that THC counters the carcinogenic effects somewhat the research is far from conclusive. So for the time being, the results obtained from studies of tobaccos smoke are assumed applicable to herb smoke.
Studies have been conducted to test the filtration effects of water bongs. First the smoke was tested and then the water in the bong the water was pulled through. The bong water was found to have several soluble and insoluble chemical compounds. When analised it was shown that the water did trap some THC but the majority of it remained in the smoke. Don’t worry this won't affect your high, as the amount of THC caught in the water is tiny!
However what WAS found in water in large quantities was the herb active ingredients responsible for catatonia and suppressing spontaneous motor activity. These are the chemicals in herb that make you feel sluggish and heavy. The smoke filtered through the water didn’t have these effects! Another thing the water filters out is the particles of ash and resin suspended in the smoke. Nearly 50% of the particles in the smoke are taken out compared to a pipe or joint. In short, analysis of bong water reveals that it is more carcinogenic than the smoke that passes through it. So don't drink it or anything.
The filtration of the water is related to the surface area of the smoke it comes into contact with. That’s why beaker bottom bongs and percolator bongs offer a smoother, more filtered hit. As they contain more water and are more effective at breaking up the bubbles of each hit.
All of this shows that bongs are a great option for those who are interested in the medicinal effects of herb. Not only does it cool the smoke, allowing you to take smoother, easier hits. It also removes the toxins and harsh particles from the smoke.
Putting The Theory Into Practice
Bongs are mainly intended to cool the smoke you inhale when you enjoy your herb. Pipes and joints can be a bit harsh on the throats of inexperienced smokers, triggering coughing fits. The cold water can also help augment the taste of your smoke, providing that you keep it clean!
If you are looking into bongs for their filtering properties make sure you get a bong with a perc. As mentioned above a perc will break up your smoke, increasing the surface area in contact with the water.
Also be sure to regularly clean your bong and change the water. The water can only absorb so much of the harmful components before it becomes over saturated!
If the health benefits are the most important factor for you when you enjoy herb your best bet is a vaporizer. A vaporizer completely eliminates the toxins released by smoking by removing combustion all together. Vapes use heating elements to boil off the active ingredients in herb to form a vapor that contains zero toxins!
To see our range of fine glass bongs, from beaker bottom to percolator bongs, check out our UK webstore. While you're there why not peruse the healthier option of our huge range of vapes?