There are some debates that will never be settled. Chicken or the egg. Who shot first in the Star Wars cantina scene. Beatles or the Stones (*it’s the Beatles*). One debate that especially interests me is which is the superior smoking method; joints vs bongs? I have met people in my life that smoke joints all day but refuse to go near a bong. I have also met people on the opposite side of the spectrum.
Both methods work great, of course. It really comes down to personal preference, however that won’t stop people from giving you their opinions on which one is better. Ultimately you will have to decide for yourself. If you’re new to either and want to try, then knowing their pros and cons can help you decide which to choose.
How do you use joints?
Rolling joints requires a bit of skill. You have to grind the weed finely, so you can spread it evenly along the paper, but not too finely, or else the flower will get congested with resin making it hard for air to flow. Confusing, I know. Place the filter tip on one end of the joint before rolling it. Alternatively, some people prefer adding it after. There is no right or wrong way. You then have to pack the weed down since you want an even burn. Once done, roll the non-glue side under the other and, honestly, hope for the best. With practice, you will get the feel for it so that it rolls smoothly. Continue rolling the joint until you have your desired final shape. You now have a joint that’s ready to be smoked. Obviously it’s easier said than done, but practice makes perfect.
I know people who have been smoking weed for decades that won’t roll joints because they don’t know-how. You’ll never learn if you don’t try! Some people find success using the pen method. Where you wrap the rolling paper around the pen, lick the end and seal it, as if you were going to smoke the pen. Then just pull it out, put in a filter, and stuff with cannabis. You can also purchase pre-made cones that you just need to pack with flower. There are some people who physically are unable to roll joints because of medical conditions. In these cases, I recommend pre-rolls as they come ready to smoke.
How Do You Use a Bong?
Bongs can seem intimidating to some people and that’s probably because they are. Or can be. After all, you have to try to inhale the smoke all in one go. At least in theory. Don’t push yourself. To use a bong, fill it up with water, making sure that it will cover the downstem but not so much that it will splashback in your mouth. There are not a lot of grosser feelings than a mouth full of bongwater. I promise you this.
Next, you gotta pack the bowl with your ground weed. Take a deep breath or two, place your mouth over the mouthpiece, and light your weed up. You have to inhale slowly as you light the bowl to draw the smoke into the chamber and into your lungs. Once most of the flower is burnt, pull the bowl out or release the choke (depending on the bong). Inhale all of the smoke. Some people find it easier to exhale and take another breath before inhaling after releasing the choke. If that is more comfortable than by all means do that.
Be sure not to leave bong smoke lingering in the chamber once you are done. The smoke will become stale and affect the taste of future hits. It is also quite harsh for the next person who accidentally inhales the stale smoke. Stale smoke left in a bong is referred to by some as A Stinky Casper.
Just like a joint, you don’t want to grind the weed too fine or pack it too tight into the bowl. You want air to be able to pass through it. Some people find adding ice to their bong water helps further cool the smoke, though the ice will eventually melt and if you’re not careful than you will end up with water in your mouth, which as previously discussed, is pretty much the worst way to smoke a bowl.
What Are Some Benefits of Joints?
Many will tell you that joints are the right and only true way of smoking weed. Tell them to smoke a bowl and relax. There is no true or right way. That said, there are many people that prefer smoking joints.
There’s something so relaxing and ritualistic about the classic method. Preparing your weed, grinding it to perfection, spreading it evenly along the paper, and rolling the joint – these steps are necessary for a smooth hit. Once you put the joint to your lips and take a deep breath, the first inhalation becomes a sort of reward after the whole process of preparing and rolling your joint. Once you become more accustomed to rolling, you can start experimenting with different rolling methods, types of joints and adding concentrates to make your joint even more beautiful/ potent.
This method is preferred by many since they can easily control their hits. You can either take a long pull or multiple small hits. This, in a way, also allows you to control your dosage.
Joints, compared to bongs, are very convenient to use. All you need are a rolling paper and, of course, the filter tip. You can easily keep these items in your pocket, unlike bongs which are pretty bulky. Finding a place outside of the house to roll on a flat surface without the wind or rain getting to it can provide a bit of a challenge sometimes but it certainly beats carrying a bong around all day.
Another advantage that joints have over bongs is that joints are more discreet. You can even smoke a joint while on the go and, should you need to, dispose of them quickly. Bongs can’t give you the same luxury. Unless you want to smash your glass bong, but if that’s the case, you never deserved such a beautiful thing in the first place.
The taste of weed from joints is also different. Some say that weed tastes and smells fuller when smoked in a joint. This effect may have something to do with the fact that with joints it’s more like sipping weed, rather than gulping down a huge hit which happens with bongs. That said, when smoking a joint, you are also tasting paper. There are many high-quality rolling papers available on the market that try and minimize their taste as much as possible, but the taste of the flower will always be slightly altered by the burning paper. If you ever had to roll a joint with one of those waterproof rolling papers, you’ll know the taste I’m talking about. It’s like smoking a rug with weed crumbs on it.
What Are Some Benefits of Bongs?
Many will also tell you that to truly and fully enjoy weed, you have to smoke it with a bong. They are also being gatekeepers in their own way and should spend more time with the ‘joint only’ crew. Their dedication to their cause would probably be better spent elsewhere than on enforcing the best way to consume weed.
Some say that bongs don’t offer the same opportunity for ritual that joints provide but I disagree. You have to fill it to the exact level of water that you prefer, with the ideal temperature. You grind your cannabis in the same way you would for a joint and you pack the bowl. It may not be the same as joints but there is still a process required to begin smoking.
Although bongs won’t give you the exact ritualistic experience of rolling your own joint, it will give you more potent hits. Joints are always lit and keep burning, allowing all those precious cannabinoids to escape. This isn’t the case with bongs though. The glass traps the smoke and prevents the cannabinoids from escaping. Because you have to try and inhale all the smoke at once (depending on the size of the bong, of course), you get a higher concentration of cannabinoids in your lungs. With bongs, you also get to save some weed since you only need to light a small amount compared to joints.
Think about it this way. If you were to roll a joint from the weed in your bowl, it would be a pretty small and pathetic joint. But imagine lighting and smoking all of that joint in one breath. That is what bongs do.
The smoke produced by bongs is a lot smoother and less harsh than the smoke produced by a joint. This gives you a cleaner taste and allows you to take bigger inhales. The reason why bongs give users cooler and smoother hits is that the water acts as a sort of filter. It cools the smoke and filters out some of the tar caused by combustion. With joints, you are inhaling more of the ugly byproducts caused by the combustion of paper and weed.
Unlike joints, you have so many different types of bongs to choose from. You have bongs made from glass, ceramic, and plastic, and you also have bongs made from wood and even metal. These also come in many shapes, sizes, and forms. Some bongs even have water percolators. Called bubblers, the percolator basically enhances the filtration process of the water. It also makes the smoke smoother, cleaner, and creamier, and give you the purest taste of cannabis, as no paper is burning. There is butane if you use a lighter, however, many people use hemp wicks to light their bowls.
The Downside of Either Method
Joints and bongs both have their good points. But they also have their own unique disadvantages that you have to be aware of.
When paper and weed combust, they produce harmful byproducts that go with the smoke you inhale. These byproducts are often deposited in your lungs, causing scarring and small damages to the linings and blood vessels of your lungs. This doesn’t necessarily mean though that bongs are healthier than joints. With bongs, you’ll still be inhaling smoke, along with the byproducts of weed’s combustion, but some of these are filtered out by the water.
Bongs, in addition to it being cumbersome, also need regular maintenance. You will need to clean your bong regularly to prevent tar buildup inside the glass chamber. Since the water is acting as a filter, it will also start to accumulate tar and smell bad. Dirty bong water can make your weed taste and smell funny, which will ruin your experience. To avoid this, you need to change the bong’s water regularly.
If you’re not that experienced in using bongs, the high could hit you pretty fast and hard, especially since you have to try to inhale the smoke in one breath. This could get you too stoned, increasing your risk of developing adverse cannabis side effects. There is a legend in the cannabis community known as the ‘bong ghost’. No one can really predict when a bong ghost will appear or what summons it, but when it does, the smoke in the bong turns almost yellow. On the exhale, the bong ghost takes the users breath along with their will to live.
Basically, bongs can make people green-out, if you are not used to them. This does not mean don’t ever use them. The trick is putting the right amount in the bowl before you light it. It sounds simple, but that one mistake has meant a visit from the bong ghost for many people over the years.
So, which is it? Joints or bongs?
There’s no right answer, really. Both have their own set of pros and cons, and one is not better or more superior to the other. It will always come down to the user’s preference and experience.