Dangers of Dirty Bong Water

There is no doubt that bongs and glassware are an excellent method of cannabis consumption. They allow for a smoother inhale as the smoke percolates through the water, enabling you to take bigger tokes while conserving your cannabis supply.

Bongs are definitely a thing of beauty, that is if you take care of them properly. Due to their convenience, it is understandable that the cleaning and maintenance of your bong can sometimes be forgotten. While understandable, it is never acceptable to allow your bong to sit and collect bacteria that you will later inhale. 


Hidden Risks 

There are many hidden dangers of smoking with dirty bong water you may not be aware of. Dirty bong water is a haven for all kinds of bacteria, yeast, fungi and other microbes, all of which form a slime called biofilm. Microbes excrete substances that allow them to easily latch onto surfaces such as the glass and resin found inside your bong. 

When these substances are secreted, the biofilm begins to grow. It serves as protection for the microbes, which is why infections caused by these microbes are so difficult to treat and pose serious health risks. Biofilm is completely resistant to antibiotics, because they aren’t strong enough to penetrate it.

A biofilm can form in any leftover water that has been used to filter cannabis smoke, and any pathogens that grow there can remain in the water when you refill your bong, giving them more chances to enter your throat and lungs.


Common Bacteria 

Here are a few different bacterias that thrive in dirty bong water. 


  • E. Coli: There are various strains of e. coli, and while some of them might not be of harm, these little bacterias are in their prime when swimming around dirty bong water. If exposed, this can lead to severe respiratory issues.


  • Aspergillus: While aspergillus is a natural bacteria that grows on cannabis plants, it transforms into mycotoxins when ignited and burned. These mycotoxins can sit in your bong water and multiply, resulting in intense chest pain and harsh coughs.


  • Flavobacterium: This is another bacteria found in water with no movement, which can increase your risk of serious respiratory infections.


  • Streptococcus: This is perhaps the scariest of them all. Streptococcus is a genus of bacteria that can lead to a diagnosis like strep throat, scarlet fever and pneumonia.


  • Pseudomonas Aeruginosa: This is the most common germ responsible for bacteria-caused illnesses. It can breed in damp and wet areas like hot tubs, swimming pools, and, you guessed it, bong water, which can cause symptoms like fever, shortness of breath, chest pain, exhaustion and confusion.


Compromised Taste

Not only does dirty bong water pose serious health risks, it compromises the taste of your flower. Whether you’re a seasoned stoner or new to smoking, no one wants to be left with a bitter taste in their mouth after a sesh. 

We all know each cannabis strain holds its own unique aroma, taste and effects. It goes without saying that if you pack some great weed, like Girl Scout Cookies, into a bong with caked on resin, dirty bong water and condensation, none of those flavours will come through. In the end, all you’re tasting is resin and stagnant water.


Importance of a Clean Bong 

Cleaning your bong and keeping the water fresh are both necessary tasks and are essential to maintaining a healthy smoke session. If you’re pressed for time or are so couch locked that any effort would be too much, you should at minimum pour out the bong water, leave your piece tipped upside down to dry, and then refill it with fresh water. 

Be sure to fill it with cold, preferably filtered water before you partake. It’s best to clean out your bong at least once a week. This will prevent any pathogens from growing in it that might head into your lungs and make you sick. Besides, who really wants to smoke out of a dirty bong? You’re taking the time to choose the best bud, why ruin the taste? Your lungs and your friends will thank you for it.