Does Bong Water Filter Out THC?
According to some research, it could. THC is not water-soluble, meaning it doesn’t dissolve into, or bond with water. However, analysis of both cannabis smoke before and after being passed through water shows that the process lowers the amount of THC present in the smoke.
The research in question, conducted in a joint effort between the School of Medicine, University of Athens and Laboratory of Organic Chemistry, State University, Utrecht, found that the water managed to trap both soluble and insoluble particles within it, including THC and other cannabinoids. However, the great majority of the THC was able to pass through the smoke unimpeded.
It was also found that some of the compounds filtered out were responsible for catatonia in mice, as well as suppressed spontaneous motor activity. Water filtered smoke failed to induce these states. It suggests that water filtering cannabis smoke removes some behaviour affecting components.
The bottom line is that yes, your bong does remove and trap a small amount of THC, but the amount is so negligible that it is not going to make a noticeable difference to your high.
When you factor in that using a bong creates a much smoother, cooler smoke, the idea of losing a small margin of THC probably isn’t going to seem that bad – a pretty fair trade-off, if you will. But what about everything else? Does the water help remove harmful aspects of cannabis smoke? Well, research from the University of Texas and from Harvard’s Public School of health suggest that the water within a bong is effective at removing acrolein and acetaldehyde from cannabis smoke, both of which are toxic to the main defence cells of the lungs.
However, there is also research to suggest that bong water is more effective at filtering out cannabinoids than it is the harmful components of tar, increasing the tar to THC ratio of the water-filtered smoke. Fortunately, this doesn’t actually have many practical implications, as the level of tar is not actually increased, you still get the same amount - there is just more of it compared to THC, as the amount of THC is lowered. However, as we covered, the reduction in THC is so minimal, that it is not going to make a difference to your high. The more you know!