Typically, bongs are filled with cold tap water, which filters the smoke, cools it down considerably and provides strong, yet smooth hits. Many people like to make their bong water as cold as possible, by adding ice cubes to it. There’s also the popular ‘ice catcher’ – a compartment filled with ice, which the smoke goes through right after it is filtered by the water, cooling it down even further in the process.
So, the colder the water in a bong is, the better, right? Well, not necessarily!
Browse a few forum discussions on the perfect water temperature and you’ll be surprised to see a lot of people mentioning the benefits of warm or even very hot water.
Why Is Hot Water In A Bong Better?
As it turns out, using hot water is often praised for the smooth and non-harsh hits it delivers. People also claim that it produces hits that are very easy on the throat and lungs, presumably because of the higher water vapor content of the smoke. And a few even claim that a bong filled with hot water will make you higher and will waste less THC.
The opinion that hot water produces a more smooth and less harsh hit seems almost universal across people who’ve tried it. Whether or not it will get you higher and waste less THC is very debatable and there is still no definite answer. Another controversial question is whether or not hot water leads to more ‘gunk’ accumulating in the bong – some people claim that a bong that has been used with hot water is more difficult to clean, while others report exactly the opposite.
Obviously, there is only one way to find out if you like your bong water hot or cold – give it a try and see which one you prefer! But in case you are wondering what you can expect, we’ll try to give you some predictions and expand on how the temperature of the water in a bong might influence the quality of the smoke.
Why Is Smoke Filtered By Hot Water Different?
At first glance, it may seem like the only difference between hot and cold water is how much it cools down the smoke as it bubbles through. However, the physical processes which occur in a bong are much more complex than a simple heat exchange.
Here are some of the possible variables, influenced by the temperature of the water, which may ultimately affect the quality of the smoke:
The warmer the water is, the less viscous, or more ‘liquid’ it is. The lower the viscosity, the smaller the bubbles that form during smoking will be. This means that warmer water will produce a higher number of smaller bubbles, while cold water will produce a lower number of larger bubbles.
Ultimately, this means that warmer water will expose the smoke to a larger area of water, filtering it more. This partly explains the increased ‘smoothness’ of the hit. The molecules of warmer water move faster, ‘scraping’ more of the smoke away in the process, which further increases the filtration rate.
Obviously, warmer water makes the smoke more humid. This affects the resulting particle size of the smoke – in physics, this is a complex process known as gas-particle partitioning. This may somehow influence how the smoke feels in your throat and lungs and may also explain why it is less harsh when having gone through hot, rather than cold water. Of course, more humid smoke will also not dry out your throat as much.
Crystallization of THC
People sometimes claim that the cold water in a bong crystallizes the THC while using hot water keeps the THC in a liquid droplet form. This is a complex issue to explore, but indeed, according to at least one source, 9-THC has a melting point of 147 (64 ), which is an easily achievable water temperature for a bong.
It’s possible that the solidification of THC after the smoke has left the water, rather than in it, may alter the quality of the smoke and decrease the amount of THC being trapped, and ultimately – wasted in the water. It’s also possible that the exact opposite will be the case – the higher filtration rate of warmer water may actually reduce the THC content of the smoke.
Keep in mind that it’s not clear how those variables influence the actual smoking experience or THC delivery – as far as we are aware, there currently isn’t any reliable scientific data to confirm whether or not the temperature of bong water influences the THC content or that of the other smoke constituents that may be responsible for the different harshness or feel of the smoke.
But it’s worth experimenting with different water temperatures and seeing what you enjoy most. Keep in mind that hot water should only be used with glass or ceramic bongs – acrylic or plastic bongs should only be filled with cold water.