Getting to Know H20

Last time, we divulged why it’s so important to have good joints. They keep you flexible and supple, and in terms of bongs, they make the piece airtight and give creative and ambitious potheads the chance to produce some truly outrageous and elaborate rigs which give them a cooler and smoother hit, thanks to a cornucopia of accessories which they can add to their water pipe. Anyway! So now we know how a bong fits together, what exactly do we put in it?

To find out, today’s lesson is all about getting to know H2O.

Why is water added to a bong?

Bubbling Water

First answer, and the most obvious one, because it’s a water pipe. The bubbling water is the thing which makes bong smoking so unique and so special. Without the H2O, you might as well puff on a pipe, or take a drag on a doobie.

Secondly, the water is added because it’s the main element of filtration in a bong. When the smoke bubbles through the water, the liquid reduces the number of unwanted particles, like tar, from reaching your lungs.

Thirdly, it cools the smoke. The more water smoke has to travel through, the cooler, and smoother it’s going to be when you inhale it. It’s a great way for stoners who suffer from asthma to enjoy weed.

What temperature should the water be in my bong?

There are two ways to make sure you’re going to get the best bong rip of your life, and it’s all down to extreme temperatures. The first, which is the most common, is to use ice cold water, and, if your bong has an ice catcher, adding ice cubes just adds to the effects. If the water in your bong is ice cold, the cooler the smoke is going to be, and once you inhale it, you’ll notice how smooth it is, compared to water at room temperature, which can sometimes leave a nasty burning sensation in the back of your throat.

The other way is to go the complete opposite and use hot water. Now you may wonder why using hot water is a great idea when we’ve just finished explaining how using ice cold water is so brilliant as it helps to cool down the smoke and avoids it burning your esophagus. Well, think of it this way, when you have a cold and you can barely breathe, what do you do? You put your head over a hot bowl of water and let the vapor from the steam clear your passages. It’s the same with a water pipe. The warm vapor from the bong opens your airways and improves the circulation in your lungs, allowing more THC and CBD to be diffused directly into your blood stream after each hit.

In the end, what it comes down to, is personal preference, and circumstances. You may love it hot, you may love it cold. And you’re not likely to boil a kettle to fill a bong whilst you’re on a camping trip if you already have a bottle of cold water lying around. Likewise, you might not fancy running the cold water tap in your kitchen for eons and raiding the freezer for ice cubes when it’s minus 2 degrees out.

How much water should I put in my bong?

If your bong has a perc in it, the water should come to about half an inch higher than that. If you’re using the traditional straight tube bong, which just has a down stem, you should aim to fill the bong with water until you see the down stem become almost completely submerged.
Water Downstem

Can I use another liquid in my bong instead of water?


We’ve known fellow bong aficionados who use Gatorade, beer, and Tampico juice in their *ahem* water pipes! It has to be said, though, that as cool as this sounds, you never get a truly amazing high (unless you’re very lucky), and the bong is always a nightmare to clean up afterward. But hey, everything is worth a try, at least once, eh?!

Any drink that’s got a fruity taste will infuse the smoke with a light flavor, but don’t use anything too sugary like Coca-Cola, or anything fatty like milk, because the cannabidiols stick to the sugar particles, and get absorbed by the fat. Hence, the high you get is not as potent as it would be if the smoke had passed through water. All of the sugar and fat molecules, which are now filled with the precious THC and CBD meant for your body, get filtered out and left, unused and unappreciated, in the bottom of the bong water.

Oh, and you know how much we dislike ordinary bong water, likening it to toxic waste? Imagine what it would smell like if you forgot to clean out a bong filled with stale ale. Gross!

A bong filled with Fruit Punch? Okay, sure, why not?!

A bong filled with Fruit Punch? Okay, sure, why not?!

How do I avoid splash back in my bong?

No-one should ever have to taste bong water on their lips, it’s gross, and sometimes it can come as such a shock that you cough, splutter and lose out on what could have been a really good hit. If splash back is really getting you down, here are a few tips to avoid it in the future:
  • Reduce the amount of water in your bong
  • Take gentler hits
  • Buy a splash back guard
  • If these don’t work, your down stem might not be long enough, so if money allows invest in a longer down stem
  • If that doesn’t work and you’re really getting sick of the taste of tepid bong juice, if money allows buy yourself an angled bong
  • If you don’t like the angled bongs and prefer the straight variety, you might be needing to upscale. So if money allows, go out and get a bigger water pipe, one that’s about 14 inches tall.
Does using water really make that much of a difference?
If you’ve been paying attention, yes, it does! Using a water pipe without water, or using fruit punch instead of H2O, is like driving a Lamborghini with flat tyres. It’s just not worth it! The smoking pleasure you get when you use a water piped filled with water is honestly the best experience you’ll get around. Period.

In our next lesson, we’ll be “Mastering the Mouthpiece.” Class dismissed!