Warning! Is putting ice cubes in your bong such a good idea?
Updated: Oct 26, 2022
Bong fans, this blog post is for you! You've probably tried, or heard of, the famous trick of adding ice cubes to your bong to make your inhalations softer on your throat. Many smokeshops sell a variety of glass pieces that are made specifically to hold ice in the bong tube.
However, the most recent studies in this area question this method, indicating that it may actually be more harmful to health (1).
After reading this article, you'll be better informed about the risks of putting ice cubes in your bong and you'll even find alternative tips to ice that will give you the same soothing results while reducing the overall risk to your health.
So, are the benefits of putting ice cubes in your bong actually a myth?
first: Why put ice in your water pipe?
Smoother and more pleasant inhalations
The "ice cubes in bongs" trick is very popular. As discussed above, many bongs on the market have small notches at the bottom of the tube to hold the ice in place.
The popularity of this technique comes mainly from the fact that iced inhalations are milder and the cooled smoke releases more of the cannabis flavors.
In addition, ice cubes can prevent a major inconvenience present among water pipe enthusiasts: receiving bong water in the mouth.
The ice acts as a shield against water splashing into the bong and therefore reduces the chances of water getting to your mouth. It sounds like a miracle cure, but be careful not to let the ice melt in your bong for too long... The effect could be reversed and cause some nasty surprises (2)!
Bigger and better-filtered inhalations
Ice makes inhalations softer on the throat, so it makes sense that it allows users to take bigger hits more easily.
Furthermore, the ice can act as a filter against the larger particles and impurities that can get into the bong during use. We can therefore think that it makes the consumption of cannabis less harmful for the lungs (3).
So what are the risks associated with this practice?
Putting ice cubes in your bong can give you much better inhalations, making them a lot smoother. However, as the following lines will show you, this action is not without consequences for your bronchial tubes and lungs (4).
Sadly, links between smoking in a bong filled with ice cubes and the development of bronchitis (5) as well as other lung problems have been demonstrated. This danger is particularly acute for people who already have respiratory problems, but people without lung diseases are not immune either.
These problems would actually be caused by water vapor. This vapor is present on the ice cubes when they are taken out of the freezer and this white smoke remains for a few inhalations when the ice is placed in the bong. The vapor can be so icy that stress and tension can be created in the lungs (6).
How to reduce the risks?
On a positive note, don't worry: there are healthier alternatives that can give you the same results!
In our opinion, the easiest and most effective way to make inhalations as smooth as possible is to simply fill the bong with very cold water instead of inserting ice cubes. You can also achieve this by placing the ice cubes directly into the water of the bong (depending on the style of your water pipe). No water vapor will be created and you will still be able to enjoy all the refreshing benefits of this technique!
Another approach is to let the ice cubes melt a little in the bong tube before taking the first inhalation, by waiting a few minutes before using the bong. Or, you can sprinkle the ice cubes with warm to hot water beforehand. This will remove the water vapor before you inhale and thus reduce the risk of lung damage (7).
Now that you know the benefits as well as the dangers of putting ice cubes in your bong, you can make a more informed decision for your own use and the alternatives mentioned above may make it easier for you to decide.