Bongs, joints and vaporisers – are they bad for you?

Are bongs bad for you? Or are bongs better for you than a joint? Is a vaporiser healthy?

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The most common way to use weed is to smoke it. With so many websites that talk about one way of using being ‘healthier’ and ‘safer’ than others, it can be easy to get confused, follow the wrong information and make bad decisions.

What’s a joint? 

A joint is a hand-rolled cigarette that is used to smoke marijuana. Like a bong, the smoke produced and inhaled from a joint contains chemicals such as noxious tars, carbon monoxide, toluene, benzene, naphthalene, acetaldehyde, phenol and hydrogen cyanide – basically a whole lot of unhealthy! These chemicals put a user a risk of developing respiratory symptoms and illnesses.

What’s a bong?

A bong is a pipe that uses water to cool the smoke before it’s inhaled. Marijuana is placed in the bowl of the bong and lit while the user inhales the smoke from the mouthpiece. But are bongs bad for you? It’s the cooling process that makes a lot of people think that a hit from a bong is safer than a joint, but in fact that’s not the case, as when people use bongs they tend to hold the smoke in their lungs more deeply and for longer, because it’s cooler, which may do harm to their respiratory system. Regardless of what instrument is used, smoking cannabis can increase the risk of respiratory illnesses from asthma to emphysema, and also cancer.

What’s a vaporiser?

Unlike bongs and joints, vaporisers heat cannabis using a hot plate or hot air gun, to a point just hot enough that it doesn’t actually burn. Once it’s hot, the vapour (air) is funnelled through the instrument so the user can inhale it. People who use vaporisers do so usually because they believe it is healthier as they are not breathing in smoke. Studies have shown that vapour doesn’t contain as many chemicals, or as much carbon monoxide or tar as cannabis smoke, however it does contain ammonia which can cause irritation and serious effects on the central nervous system.

So what it comes down to is that all ways of smoking weed have their downsides when you’re thinking about your health. Do you really want to take the risk?

For more details about vaporisers, check out our Factsheet.

If you’d like some more info on how cannabis can affect you, check out our other Marijuana Facts, our YouTube channel, follow us on Facebook, or take part in one of our competitions (with some good cash prizes up for grabs). If you think you or a friend might have a problem with cannabis and need help, check out our Get Help page or call the helpline on 1800 30 40 50. You can also get some more in-depth answers to all your cannabis questions on our factsheets page.

*Please note that the terms ‘marijuana’, ‘cannabis’, ‘weed’ and ‘pot’ are used interchangeably in these fast facts, and all refer to the illegal drug, cannabis, unless otherwise specified.