Why You Really Don’t Want to Drink Your Bong Water

Transparent bong containing clean bong water on hardcover book beside cannabis nugget and candle

The forbidden fruit: bong water. That which resides inside your favorite heady glass and mocks you.

It’s tempting when you’re high, we’ve got to say. You’d be lying to yourself if you said you’ve never thought about drinking it.

Or maybe you’re bold enough to have actually tried it! And honestly, how did that work out for you?

Bong water can hold a disgusting amount of pathogens if you don’t keep up with replacing it and cleaning your bong. And there’s nothing more shameful than having a gross bong lying around.

Do yourself a favor and read our Northglenn smoke shop team’s advice on all-things-bong-water – so that the next time temptation hits, you’ll remember the lessons you’ve learned.

What is bong water anyway?

Bong water is the secret ingredient that makes bongs unique from other heady glass. You probably already know this, but let’s break down how bongs work for those who are new to the trade:

  1. You light your weed.
  2. The bong water percolates.
  3. The smoke passes through the water before reaching your lungs.

Bong water cools down the smoke and soaks up some of the carcinogens created from burning weed. This creates a much smoother hit than, say, a joint.

But if you talk to any of our Denver or Northglenn head shop employees, they’ll all tell you that bong water only absorbs a fraction of smoke’s gunk. So sadly, smoking out of a bong isn’t the solution if you want to consume weed more safely.

Some of us- okay, most of us- are guilty of reusing old bong water or letting it sit until the next session. We’ll go over why not to do that in a little bit, but first: can bong water get you high?

Is it true that bong water can get me high?

The good old urban legend: drink enough bong water and you’ll get high.

There are many ways this myth could have originated:

  • Maybe someone was really high, drank some bong water, and had a placebo that they got even higher.
  • Maybe it was some incentive for a dare.
  • Or maybe, for those of us who spend all of our money on weed and at head shops, it’s just wishful thinking.

Unfortunately, THC isn’t water-soluble. THC is a primarily nonpolar molecule, while water is incredibly polar. These mix as well as playing a game of chess while stoned (they don’t). No THC in the water, no high.

If only the powers that be had been so generous. But no, bong water will not get you high.

Will I get sick if I drink bong water?

Although you won’t get high from drinking bong water, you’ll probably get sick.

Dirty bong water is a breeding ground for everything you don’t want to consume: fungi, mold, microorganisms, oh my! And it doesn’t even take long for your water to go bad- mold can grow on a moist surface within a day.

If you wait long enough, something called a biofilm will develop on the top of your water. If you see a shiny top layer on your bong water, it could be holding on to anything from common mold to E. coli.

Drinking moldy water can give you skin rashes, headaches, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Not a good look!

If you’re friends with enough stoners, you know at least one person who got really high and thought drinking their bong water was a good idea- only to subsequently get very ill. Maybe he tells the tale, or maybe it’s an embarrassing secret.

But the takeaway is: you don’t want to be that person.

Why is it important to clean my bong?

Do you remember the day that you got home from your head shop with the holy grail of all heady glass: your bong?

Think back to how shiny it was. How captivating. How alluring.

…and what does it look like now?

Let’s have an honest talk about why you need to clean your bong.

For starters, if there’s mold and mildew in your bong water, your smoke is passing through that before it reaches your lungs. You don’t even have to drink it to consume the ick.

And do you really want to be that friend who brings a disgusting bong to a smoke session?

Another lesson learned the hard way: the longer you wait to clean your bong, the harder it gets to clean. A simple daily rinse will turn into an extreme deep clean if you don’t keep up with it.

To clean your bong:

  1. Take out all the removable pieces.
  2. Pour isopropyl alcohol and coarse salt into the bong.
  3. Shake it and rinse with soap and water.
  4. It’s that simple. And fun to do when you’re high! But if you slack for too long, the residue will get extremely hard to remove and you’ll have to repeat the process multiple times in one sitting.

    Final thoughts

    Bong water is that gross, elusive juice that stoners neglect, and sometimes, consider drinking.

    It does you a big favor by cooling down your smoke and giving you a smoother hit. And the bubbling noise is oh-so-satisfying. Thanks to bong water, you can take bigger hits at a time without scorching your lungs.

    But no matter how tempting, don’t drink it! Despite how high you are, despite how many friends are pressuring you, and despite what the urban legend says- you won’t get higher, you’ll just get sick.

    And if your bong water has gotten to the point of developing a nasty biofilm, it’s time to reevaluate your life.

    But now you know better, and you won’t drink your bong water, and you’ll clean your bong after each use.


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