Blunts vs. Bongs – What’s Better to Use?
Let’s be blunt about it, there are lots of ways to consume legal herbs and concentrates. Nowadays you can eat it, drink it, vape it, and even take a bath in it – but most of us start out by smoking the green stuff. Smoking is the most common way to consume herb, but there are so many different ways to go about it. The most prevalent methods include rolling up a blunt and packing a bong. To some there is a clear first choice, but for others they are incomparable – each having their own place.
Like most great debates in the counterculture community, it all comes down to personal preference and which one is best for the users individual needs. However, there are some key characteristics that might help influence your choice. Let’s talk about them.
First, let’s break down the bong. The name supposedly comes from an adaption of the Thai word “baung” which refers to a bamboo pipe used for smoking. In present-day, most bongs are made of borosilicate glass and are similar to a hookah in function. They use water percolation to not only cool down the hot smoke as it travels through the piece, but filter out some small bits of tar and other combusted material before it gets into your airways.
This means you’ll get a cleaner hit, one where you can really taste your herb. The percolator works in this way by breaking up the smoke into small bits that then interact with the surface of the water in the chamber. The more bubbles there are, the more surface area there is that can be cooled by the water. Add ice and you’re in for an even cooler hit.
While users will have to clean a bong every so often to ensure that clean hit, the amount of bud that’s saved by using a bong exclusively can be considerable. You’re only smoking what you pack and it’s combusted completely. That being said, bongs are most often used in smaller groups or for a solo sesh. They aren’t portable and being stopped with one could get you slapped with a paraphernalia charge in some states. The more the piece is passed around, the higher chances of it being dropped or broken. This is a big deal if you have put a lot of money into purchasing a heady piece of glass complete with personalized bong attachments. Unless you have one of these silicon foldable bongs, best to keep the daily driver at home.
Now let’s discuss what a blunt is. A blunt is the name given to a cigar that has been hollowed out and the tobacco replaced with legal herbs. It originated in New York City by shortening the name of a popular cigar brand named Phillies Blunts, but it’s now a common term for any cigarillo or wrap. Inexpensive and available in most gas stations and corner markets across the United States, these wraps come in a slew of flavors such as standard grape to flavors like chicken and waffles. This makes it so you can personalize your smoking experience with your favorite flavor.
Blunts are most often used in a social setting as they last long and can be thrown out after finished – no paraphernalia. Smokers will need to know how to roll which can take some finesse, but once you get the hang of it you’ll understand why everyone loves a good blunt. It’s sometimes almost therapeutic.
They do require quite a bit more herb than a bong, and if you’re not a fan of roaches or filters, it can be slightly wasteful. The smoke produced also tends to be harsher due to containing tobacco. Tobacco smoke yields a stronger odor than that of just flower that tends to linger longer. If you prefer to steer clear of tobacco, there are now several organic hemp wraps
But What’s Better?
It’s important to remember that ultimately b oth will affect respiratory health. Combusting, or burning, material is a chemical reaction that creates carcinogens that you are then inhaling. If you choose to smoke blunts made from tobacco, not only are you inhaling the flower’s carcinogens, but also those created from the wrap. T obacco contains nicotine and other, more diverse, kinds of carcinogenic properties known to cause cancer.
Some studies have claimed the compounds in herb kill numerous cancer types, but the fact is smoke, of any kind, still causes cellular damage. Water in a bong does not filter out these carcinogens completely, but if you want to go the more health conscious route they’re the way to go. That’s not to say you can’t roll up from time to time.
No matter which one you choose, remember to always consume responsibly and in moderation.
Let’s be blunt about it, there are lots of ways to consume legal herbs. Nowadays you can eat it, drink it, vape it, & even take a bath in it – but most of us start out by smoking. Specifically, either smoking a blunt or hitting a bong, but which is the better choice? Keep reading as we discuss the pros and cons of each
Blunts or bongs
Most tokers usually have a preferred method for smoking weed. Some folks like to take their time sharing a joint, while more hardcore smokers may prefer choking on a massive bong rip.
But why do these different methods lead to varying qualities of highs?
Believe it or not, science hasn’t quite reached a consensus here, despite more than half of American adults saying they’ve tried pot at least once. That said, it may have something to do with water filters found in water pipes and bongs. Let’s explore.
Kyle Boyar, the vice chair of the American Chemical Society’s cannabis division, told MERRY JANE he was unaware of any ongoing studies into why pipes, bongs, and the like cause different kinds of buzzes. He did, however, point to one 1996 MAPS study that could provide some clues.
In the study, researchers measured how much THC came out of the business ends of various smoking devices. Surprisingly, unfiltered joints provided more THC than water pipes, as the water filters trapped some THC while allowing cannabis tar to pass through.
“Counterintuitive results, for sure,” Boyar said. “The chemist in me wonders how do cannabinoid components that are insoluble in water end up getting trapped in the water more than the tar,” which is also insoluble.
The MAPS study, unfortunately, didn’t evaluate how high people got from different smoking methods, since there were no human subjects. It only measured how much THC could transfer from the weed to the smoker.
“The dose is certainly the key issue,” wrote Mitch Earleywine, a cannabis researcher and professor of psychology at the State University of New York-Albany, in an e-mail to MERRY JANE. “Unfortunately, funding for an experiment comparing these methods is pretty scarce.”
For blunts, Earleywine noted that tokers aren’t just inhaling cannabis. They’re inhaling nicotine, too, as blunts are wrapped with tobacco paper or leaves.
“I’ve seen a blunt or two that has more tobacco than folks might guess, so nicotine ends up adding a bit of stimulation to the mix,” he wrote. “So the blunt would end up being less sedating than the joint, even though it’s the same marijuana.”
Blunts are often much larger than joints, so they “often deliver a bigger hit,” he added.
Additionally, THC may not be the only factor. Some evidence indicates terpenes, the aromatic compounds in weed that make it smell like skunk, berries, wood, or dirt, could alter THC’s effects.
Or Could the Differences Be Due to Terpenes?
To illustrate how terpenes could play a role, Earleywine chose the terpenes linalool and limonene as examples.
“With the bong, we run the smoke through water,” he told MERRY JANE. “Linalool is water-soluble, but limonene is not. So some of the linalool is going to end up in the bong water — not in the smoke.”
Because linalool may induce sleepiness, smoking weed through a bong could contribute to more energetic highs, at least in this case.
Water also cools the smoke, allowing tokers to draw in much bigger hits through bongs than they could with joints or blunts. Even if water filtration absorbs some of the THC, the sheer amount of smoke produced by a bong could off-set any losses of cannabinoids or terpenes, Earleywine wrote.
Can We Even Reliably Test the Question?
Scientifically determining the differences among smoking methods isn’t clear-cut, either.
How much weed someone consumes at once can vary depending on the individual. For example, Sally may pack her blunt with two fat grams of weed, whereas Billy only twists a gram in his Philly wraps.
The amounts of weed loaded into a joint, blunt, or bong will obviously affect how much smoke someone inhales. One 2011 study looked at self-reports for weed use, and the researchers discovered some consistency between methods.
“Participants reported that they placed 50 percent more marijuana in blunts than in joints and placed more than twice the amount of marijuana in blunts than in pipes,” the researchers wrote.
So maybe it’s really just a matter of how much weed goes into a pipe or joint. Maybe.
It gets more complicated with bongs.
Most bongs feature a “female” stem at the base, which holds a smaller “male” stem attached to the removable bowl. Sometimes the stems form air-tight seals between both the stems and the bong’s base, but not always. If there are gaps, the toker will draw in extra air which could significantly dilute the smoke, ultimately altering her or his heady experience, reported Mic.
Even within a single method, there’s a lot of variability. Too much variability to base the research on self-reports or uncontrolled methods.
Does It Even Matter?
Just as every approach to smoking weed is different, individual consumers are different, too.
How one person feels blazing a joint may not resemble the high a buddy feels from smoking on the same joint.
And for some tokers, the question of why bongs, joints, and blunts feel different doesn’t apply.
“I don’t feel any difference” between various smoking methods, said Edgar Robles, a long-time smoker based in Colorado. “Weed is weed. It all gets me stoned the same.”
Believe it or not, science hasn’t quite figured this out.