The Best Way To Smoke Cannabis: Bong vs Joint

15 March 2023
If a bong and a joint got together in the ring, who would win this fight?
15 March 2023
14 min read
The Best Way To Smoke Cannabis: Bong vs Joint

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  • 1. The getting ready: tools you need using a bong vs joint
  • 2. Preparing the smoking device
  • 3. Joint vs bong: portability and discretion
  • 4. Which one burns slower?
  • 5. Which smoking method gets you higher?
  • 6. Are joints or bongs healthier?
  • 7. Bong vs joint: who wins in terms of tradition?
  • 7. a. The first joints and bongs
  • 8. Pros and cons of joints and bongs
  • 9. The new kid on the block - dabbing
  • 10. The different types of bongs available
  • 11. In conclusion

When it comes to the ways of smoking weed, every stoner has its own method of preference. Some would much rather sit down and roll a joint than packing a bong and hitting it, and the same vice versa. But apart from the evident, physical difference between these two ways of smoking marijuana, in which way do these two methods differ? The main point of diversion resides in the type of high each of these two methods of consumption provide. Normally, the high effects you'll get from smoking a joint won't be as powerful as the ones produced when using a bong.


Understanding the differences between smoking a joint vs hitting a bong.

Understanding the differences between smoking a joint vs hitting a bong.

Let's go through the differences between smoking a joint and hitting a bong. 

1. The Getting Ready: Tools You Need Using A Bong Vs Joint

To begin with, we thought it would make sense to start with the first step of both smoking methods. Each of these two include their own set of required tools so you can get ready to have that smoke. On this aspect, what these two methods do have in common is that in the first instance, you will need to use a grinder or any other alternative tool for grinding to be able to continue with your smoking process. 

Now, the necessary tools you'll want to have in order to smoke a joint include:

  • A grinder, scissors, or any alternatives for a grinder;
  • Rolling papers;
  • Poking object;
  • Filters block or a piece of any kind of paper that’s thinner than a cereal box and thicker than normal printer paper;
  • And a lighter.

On the other hand, when you want to use a bong, you'll need to have the following in hand:

  • A grinder or grinding alternatives;
  • The bong;
  • Pipe screens;
  • Water; 
  • An object for cleaning the bowl;
  • And a lighter.

Now that you've gathered the necessary tools for either way of smoking marijuana, you're ready to move onto the next step.

2. Preparing The Smoking Device

Once that you have your tools, these two smoking methods will require two different processes to get ready to have that smoke. When it comes to joints, this is where you'll need to pull out your rolling skills. Don't worry if you don't master this art yet, practice makes perfect! Check out this step-by-step guide on how to roll a joint.

Briefly, rolling a joint involves 5 steps. First, grind your marijuana buds and build your crutch or filter. Then, pack the joint, and it's time to roll! Lastly, poke inside with your poking object, close your joint, and light it up!  Generally speaking, rolling a joint will normally take you longer than packing a bong. To pack your bong, all you'll need to do is clean the bowl, pack it with your already grinded weed buds, fill it with water, and hit it! 


Packing a bowl is much faster than rolling a joint.

Packing a bowl is much faster than rolling a joint.

Bear in mind that you'll need to make a bigger purchase and buy a bong before you're able to hit one. You could also build your own DIY bong in case you don't have one yet and aren't looking to buy one.

3. Joint Vs Bong: Portability and Discretion

One of the main differences between smoking a joint or hitting a bong resides in the portability aspect. On this aspect, it would be safe to state that joints definitely take the win since they fit in one hand. Why? Simply because no matter how small your bong might be, and they do come in mini sizes, they still make a bulge, while the tools required for rolling a joint are so small that they might even get lost inside your bag. 


When it comes to portability, joints win over bongs since they fit in one hand.

When it comes to portability, joints win over bongs since they fit in one hand.

Another important aspect lies in the matter of discretion. Since cannabis isn't yet legal all around the globe, whenever that finally happens, it's important to consider how discreet each method is. Joints still take the win over here. A marijuana cigarette will draw way less attention than a bigger smoking device such as a bong or a pipe. 

4. Which One Burns Slower?

Again, on this aspect too, the joints are the ones to take the win. When it comes to the burning speed, a joint will normally last way longer than lighting a bong will.

Extra Tip

If you want your joint to burn extra slow, use the transparent cellulose rolling papers instead of the normal bleached or organic ones. 

When you hit your bong, normally you'll be able to light it up between 2 to 4 times, depending on your bowl size, of course, before your buds are all completely roasted. A joint should normally be able to stand up a few rounds before it's completely consumed.

5. Which Smoking Method Gets You Higher?

Now let's get to what's really important, between these two smoking methods, which one gets you higher? Well, points for the bong on this one. When it comes to 'how high is high', when using a bong it's pretty high, or higher than a joint for what matters. 

The main difference is that when you use a bong, you'll need much less weed to achieve the same or higher states of highness than a joint. This is due to several reasons. Firstly, when you smoke a joint some of the smoke gets lost in the air as the cigarette is lit, while with the bong, all of the smoke is inhaled into your lungs. Besides, the way both methods are smoked also makes a breaking point. 


Smoking off a bong vs a joint will likely get you much higher.

Smoking off a bong vs a joint will likely get you much higher.

When you smoke a joint, normally you're relaxed and take slow, sparse puffs, while when using a bong, the smoke shoots up straight and deep into your lungs, as you're trying to catch all of it.  Since the smoke travels way deeper when you're using a bong, the high effects tend to be stronger as well. Basically, we could affirm that bongs save you weed and get you more baked than joints.

6. Are Joints or Bongs Healthier?

Bongs score another point when it comes to the health aspects of smoking marijuana. Why is this? Well, it's simple, when you toke a bong, all you're inhaling is the smoke produced by your burned cannabis buds. Besides, as the smoke travels into the water before reaching your lungs, the smoke is filtered, leaving aside all of the harmful chemicals involved in smoking, such as tar. Some bongs even include a second filter, to get rid of even more of these harmful substances.


Bongs filter many of the harmful chemicals found when smoking joints.

Bongs filter many of the harmful chemicals found when smoking joints.

On the other hand, when you light up a joint, you can't really escape these harmful substances. In fact, the smoke of a cannabis joint consists of 80% of non-cannabinoid content, including 115 different components, such as half a dozen known PAHs. However, if you're looking for the healthiest consumption method, then perhaps you should check out vaporizers, which are way healthier than both bongs and joints. 

7. Bong Vs Joint: Who Wins In Terms Of Tradition?

When it comes to the matter of tradition, it's quite hard to point out whether joints or bongs represent tradition the most. Since neither joints or bongs were the original forms of cannabis consumption, we'll have to check for evidence of the creation of each of these. On one hand, joints are indeed a perfect illustration of what the cannabis culture represents, but if we take a second to consider it, so do bongs.

We see stoners in movies or TV series being depicted with both smoking ways, only perhaps bongs are used to really emphasize and exaggerate these stereotypes. Tradition-wise, we should definitely take a look at history. Putting the finger on when the first joint was smoked, or when the first bong was created, and thinking about older cultures could be the clue we're looking for. 

The First Joints and Bongs

Cannabis has been used historically since way far back, in the third millennium B.C., though we can assume that neither rolling papers nor bongs were yet a possibility. Word has it that the first tools for consuming cannabis emerged in 2700 B.C. and involved pipes and hookahs, which were the closest first forms of bongs. 


2.400-year-old solid gold ancient bong used by kings to smoke marijuana.

2.400-year-old solid gold ancient bong used by kings to smoke marijuana.

The first bong as we know it today is believed to have been created was by the Scythian tribe, between the years 900 to 200 B.C, while the first records of a rolled joint seem to date back to the year 1856 in Mexico, although most likely joints were already used sometime before this. 

One last thought on which smoking method represents the cannabic tradition the most is tied to cultural contexts. Every country or even every city will identify with each one of these methods according to their cultural habits. Some may use bongs more often than joints and vice versa. 

8. Pros And Cons of Joints and Bongs

In order to properly visualize the differences between joints and bongs, let's take a look at the following chart:


Method Pros Cons
  • Cooler smoke;
  • Longer and smoother drags;
  • Filtered smoke;
  • Less weed;
  • Gets you higher.
  • Less discreet;
  • Not portable;
  • Requires regular cleaning;
  • Water spills;
  • More expensive.
  • Totally portable;
  • Small inversion; 
  •  Discreet;
  • Best for group smoking
  • Hotter smoke;
  • Harsher on the throat;
  • Inhalation of harmful components; 
  • Requires more weed for the same or lower high. 

9. The New Kid on The Block - Dabbing

These days everyone and their grandma has heard about dabbing, but this was not always the case. Oh no, up until about a decade ago the idea of using a dab rig to smoke (actually vaporize) a weird, honey-like substance would have had most stoners scratching their heads in confusion. 

It was actually all the way back in 1999 when one of the leading alternative lifestyle websites  Erowid published “Hash Honey Oil Technique”. This was the first publicly available piece of literature that described the modern-day open-blasting extraction method, and this single article started the revolution that has brought us all the amazing extracts that we have on offer today (in legal states and countries, at least).

But what exactly are dabs?

No, we aren’t referring to the slightly cringey dance move that became popular back in 2015. Dabs, also sometimes referred to as wax, shatter, budder, or honeycomb (although all of these are separate products), are THC concentrates in the Butane Hash Oil (BHO) family. The process of making dabs is quite dangerous, and shouldn’t be conducted by novice users, but the steps are actually pretty simple. By dousing weed in butane, the trichomes are stripped away from the plant material and then passed through a micron filter. The butane is then evaporated away until you are left with just the treacle-like substance that contains all of the stripped trichomes, and all the goodness they contain. Dabs can reach THC concentration levels upwards of 85%, whereas most cannabis flowers will top out at around the 25% THC mark. 

The most common way of consuming dabs is through a device known as a “dab rig”. To the uninitiated, they look the same as a regular bong, but there are some marked differences. The main difference is that the bowl of a regular bong is removed and replaced with a “nail”. This nail is then heated until it is red hot, either with a blow torch or with an internal heating element, and the dab is then… dabbed (hence the name) onto the nail which instantly vaporizes the concentrate.

Dabs should be treated with a certain level of respect, as they are super strong and can cause some interesting side effects for novice smokers. If you are just starting your cannabis journey then dabs are not the place to start, not at all. While it is essentially impossible to OD on cannabis, highly concentrated products like dabs can cause rapid heart rates, short-term memory issues, indigestion pain, and feelings of anxiety or paranoia so be careful when ingesting concentrates for the first time.

But, when it comes to the biggest bang for your buck, dabs are pretty hard to pass up. One single dab will offer the same amount of THC as up to 3 full bowls, or one huge blunt. And while we have pushed the heavy use of caution, for seasoned stoners a dab can be an amazing experience. There are reports of long-term smokers having similar experiences to their first time blazing up, full of hearty belly giggles and huge appetites to match. And while mostly smoked through a dab rig, they can just as easily be added to a joint, or consumed through a vape pen which can help reduce the heavy and rapid onset of the psychoactive effect and make the whole process a whole lot easier. 

So, should you go out and grab some dabs today? Well, that’s really a question only you can answer. If you are a seasoned and experienced cannabis consumer then there’s a good chance that you will love your first dab, but always start slow and see how they hit.

10. The Different Types of Bongs Available

Bongs come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny pocket-sized models to giant showpieces that require a dedicated space. While there is an almost infinite variety of bongs you can choose from, the most popular types are glass, ceramic, and acrylic.

Glass Bongs

Glass bongs provide a smooth smoking experience and allow for more intricate designs than other materials. They tend to be on the pricier side of the scale than acrylic or ceramic options, but as with most things in life - you get what you pay for... Glass bongs are also generally easier to clean than other materials, as the glass does not absorb any of the smoke. However, they can break more easily if not carefully handled. So, when going out to buy a glass bong, there are a few key things you should look for before you hand over that hard-earned cash of yours -


  • Super strong glass - The thicker the glass, the more it can withstand accidental drops or falls. Gorilla Glass is a great option, as is thick borosilicate glass.
  • Smooth Glass - No matter how strong the glass is, rough edges can create a lot of drag. That’s why expertly crafted glass bongs have smooth edges to ensure even airflow and an easy draw every time. Jagged edges can cause cuts (especially to the clumsy stoner among us), and they create weak points which makes breaking them much more common.
  • Heavy-duty Percolators - A percolator is a device within the bong designed to cool and filter smoke before it reaches your lungs. Look for thick glass percolators that are well-built but not too intricate as this makes cleaning more difficult.
  • Ice Catcher - An ice catcher is an extra piece of glass attached to the neck of a bong where you can put cubes or crushed ice. This ensures even cooler smoke that is easier on the lungs. As an added bonus, if you like to add a bit of flavor to your smoke, ice catchers can add that. Just flavor the water before you freeze it. Some popular ice flavors are mango, mint, and rosemary.

Ceramic Bongs

Ceramic bongs provide a slightly rougher smoking experience, but many find this to be part of the charm. Ceramic is also more durable than glass, making it ideal for clumsy smokers who need a shatterproof bong. Ceramic is also great for adding unique and intricate designs to your bong. Many ceramic pieces feature beautiful glazes (the coloring on the outside, kinda like paint but baked onto the bong itself), making them a nice addition to any collection.


Glass bongs provide a smooth smoking experience and allow for more intricate designs than other materials

Ceramic bongs are more durable than glass, a great choice for clumsy smokers.

The downside to ceramic bongs is that they can be harder to clean, as the porous material absorbs some of the smoke and can lead to build-up. Additionally, they are more expensive than acrylic options and they take longer to cool down once you’ve finished smoking - not a huge deal, but something to be aware of. In truth, these are our least favorite option of the three, as cleaning them is just a pain in the butthole. You cannot see inside of them, so knowing which part of the bong needs a major cleaning is difficult. Some options will feature an ice-catcher, so if you are hunting for a good ceramic bong look out for one with this addition.

Acrylic Bongs

Finally, we have acrylic, or plastic, bongs. The cheapest option by far, as they can be easily and cheaply mass-produced. These are our second favorite option after glass bongs, as the smoke tends to be harsher and they don’t always last a lifetime (or anywhere close to it). The plastic can and will degrade after a few years, but this isn't the biggest issue as they are super cheap to replace. You do want to keep it in mind though, as there are some health concerns from smoking through an acrylic piece that has begun the degradation process.

Acrylic bongs are extremely easy to clean, as you can simply drop them into a sink full of soap and hot water and let them soak for a few minutes. They don’t absorb any of the smoke, making them ideal for those who might not want to smoke from something that is contaminated. They’re also incredibly durable, so if you’re looking for a bong that will never smash when dropped then this could be the option for you.

Homemade Bongs

The list of ways to make a homemade bong is almost limitless, but the most common way is to use a Gatorade bottle. All that you need to do is cut a hole near the bottom, and then attach a pipe stem to it. The stem can be made from any piping, but it's best to invest in a metal option to reduce the chances of inhaling anything harmful. Make sure the seal around the stem is nice and airtight, otherwise, the smoking experience will be less than enjoyable. The same goes for the bowl. Sure, you can use aluminum foil to make a bowl, but creating an airtight seal is a bitch, to say the least. If you’re gonna go with a homemade bong, invest in some metal bowls or glass pieces to ensure the best smoking experience.


So, which one should you choose? If you can afford a glass option (and there are some awesome glass products on the market for decent prices) then we definitely suggest going with one of these. The smoking experience is just so much smoother.

However, if you’re on a budget and just want something that works, then an acrylic or ceramic bong could be a great option for you. As long as you clean it regularly and keep an eye on it for any signs of degradation, either of these would make a great addition to your smoking arsenal.

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11. In Conclusion

There are several differences between smoking a joint and hitting a bong and choosing which method is better is completely subjective. Each method comes with its own good and bad sides so it's up to each of the users' personal tastes to decide which one they'll choose to love and cherish most. However, since what most stoners expect when smoking weed is to get high, and since bongs get you higher, we could say it's bongs who win this battle.