Bong vs Joint: Which one Gives More THC Per Gram

In a showdown between bong vs joint, who do you think takes it?

It can always be tricky to compare two different smoking devices, and a lot of it can just boil down to opinion.

But, today I’m going to do my best to get to the science of the matter and find out who is the true winner: Bongs or joints?

The Basic Differences: Bong vs Joint

First, let’s take a lot of the primary differences between the two.

I think the most obvious of which is the price.

To roll a joint, you just need a single paper, which will cost only a few cents.

While a bong, even on the low end is going to set you back $20-50 and a good one around a few hundred.

Next, we have size.

Joints are the smaller of the two and are easier to take with you on the go.

They’re also more discreet—which can come in handy depending on where you might be smoking.

A joint’s size also makes it the ideal method of consumption when you’re with a group of people.

I think the biggest difference between the two, that’s apparent to the naked eye, is the quality of each hit.

When ripping a joint, you’re not just inhaling marijuana.

Instead, you’re also smoking paper that can be made from different materials such as hemp or corn.

With a bong, however, you’re only smoking cannabis, and you’re also able to get a much larger hit.

Reason being how cool the smoke is.

Bong water not only aerates the smoke, but it also spreads the smoke out across a larger surface area making for a dramatically cooler smoke.

Your lungs can handle this cool smoke much better than the hot smoke of a joint.

Bigger hits = bigger highs

What Gets you Higher, Bong or Joint?

At the end of the day were all smoking to get high.

Even if we use cannabis for medicinal purposes, we all want our cannabis to perform at the maximum.

So, what can science tell us about which one gets you higher?

Well, unfortunately, there hasn’t been much research done on smoking marijuana, and most of the research that is funded is more towards making pills with THC.

Thankfully, though, there are a couple of studies that we can look at to answer some of our questions and guide us towards a winner.

The only problem, though, is they’re old as crap.

The information could very well be outdated or easily disprovable with modern technology.

Thanks to the DEA’s strict monopoly on the study of marijuana, though, things such as THC transfer rate haven’t been apart of an official study in quite some time.

That brings us to 2004, where the last study in THC transfer rate took place.

The THC transfer rate is able to show us the amount of THC that makes it from the cannabis into your body.

We've been able to learn that about 60-80% of THC is lost right off the bat.

It disappears in into the slipstream smoke, pyrolysis and adhesion to the pipe stem and bowl.

So how do bongs and joints compare?

The average THC transfer rate for a joint is 20-26% while the average THC transfer rate for bongs came in at 40%.

Winner: Bongs

Are Bongs Healthier than Joints

Bongs seem to be the favorite, coming into the “who’s healthier” challenge.

The water filters out all of the bad and none of the good, right?

Well, no actually.

A study by MAPS and California NORML show that water pipes actually filter out more of the THC than they do tar.

If that’s the case, we would have to smoke more cannabis out of a bong than a joint to acquire the same level of high.

They do go onto say that there is a chance the water might filter out harmful gasses like carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide which both naturally occur in marijuana smoke.

And when it came to comparing the cannabinoid to tar ratio between the two consumption methods, joints way outperformed the bong.

In fact, joints scored a 1 part cannabinoids to 13 parts tar ratio, and bongs trailed way behind with a 1 part cannabinoids to 17 parts tar ratio.

So, if cannabinoids do in fact cling to water, wouldn’t be better off without the water?

Anybody who has ever hit a bong will tell you no.

You should know that this study was done using NIDA marijuana with a 2.3% THC rating.

If you feel the cannabinoid to tar ratios sound high to you, that’s why.

Upgrade the cannabis to a strain with even just 12% THC (10% is an average amount), and you can reduce the tar intake by a factor of five to get the same high.

And, naturally, the higher you raise the THC level (think oil), the more you can improve the ratio.

No matter what you do, though, the base ratio will remain the same and you’ll absorb more tar from bongs vs joints.

Winner: Joint

Joints vs Bongs Efficiency

When it comes to how well they help you conserve your weed, we have to pull a few different pieces of data together.

First, we have to look at how much weed each one uses.

To roll a decent sized joint, you’re looking at .5-1 gram.

A bong, however, you’re only usually loading .2 gram bowls.

The joints cherry works against it in efficiency too.

Since it stays burning even when you’re not taking a drag, you lose a lot of weed to smoke that never gets inhaled.

And then we need to look at how much THC you’re able to receive from each one.

Well, since we know that joints transfer about 20% THC and bongs transfer 40% we can tell that if you smoke a .5 gram joint, you would only need to smoke a .25 gram bowl to intake the same amount of THC.

Winner: Bong

Pros and Cons of the Two

  • The Joint


  • Portable
  • Discreet
  • Cheap
  • Good for group sessions


  • Hotter to smoke
  • A material to burn off other than cannabis,
  • An inadequate amount of weed to high ratio,
  • Ashes
  • Easily inhale bits of weed
  • The Bong


  • Cooler
  • Bigger hits
  • Purely cannabis
  • Filtration
  • Saves Weed


  • Something to clean
  • Easily breakable
  • Costly
  • Bong water gets pretty damn disgusting


With a vote of 2-3 bongs wins the bong vs joint showdown.

We learned that bongs are potentially more of a health risk than joints, but bongs used cannabis more efficiently and will get you higher with less marijuana.

Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below!

Tony Hand

Founder & Editor-in-Chief of THCoverdose.com. If he's not smoking or watching anime, you can find him yelling at over play calling.

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