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By RQS Editorial Team


There are many, many ways to consume cannabis. Whether we smoke it, eat it, or vaporize it, there are almost endless methods within each of these categories to keep our weed intake novel. One that's been around for a while, but never fails to entertain, is the gas mask bong. Here we look into the pros and cons, and even how to make your very own at home.

The History of the Gas Mask

The gas mask was invented as a piece of military equipment to protect against inhaling poisonous gases, and later adapted to work against a wide range of pollutants and toxins, in all manner of situations. Gas masks create a seal over the whole face, protecting all vulnerable points: eyes, nose, and mouth.

The First World War was the catalyst for mass-produced gas masks, in response to the extensive use of chemical warfare. The first models used wood charcoal to absorb poisonous gases. The British Respirator, Anti-Gas, Light, was developed in 1943. It was made of plastic and rubber, reducing the weight and bulk, and creating a better fit. Since then, gas mask development has reflected the advancements in chemical warfare, protecting against ever-evolving threats.

However, as with many items in today's culture, the gas mask now has a more quirky purpose—that of a bong.

What Is a Gas Mask Bong?

A gas mask bong is a simple gas mask that you can connect to the end of a regular bong. Unlike a classic bong, where the smoke is inhaled and then exhaled into the surrounding environment, a gas mask bong traps the smoke inside and creates a hotbox.

Step 1

What Is Hotboxing?

Hotboxing is the act of smoking in a small, enclosed space such as a car or bathroom—or perhaps a gas mask bong. As it is a closed environment, the exhaled smoke remains, to be inhaled again. The main aim of hotboxing is to get even higher by ensuring none of that THC goes to waste.

While inhaling secondhand smoke can get you high, it is not as effective as a direct hit. Hotboxing also comes with some issues, such as irritating your eyes and face and reducing your oxygen intake. Moreover, it may be that most of the THC is rapidly absorbed through your lungs anyway.

Types of Gas Mask Bongs

Gas mask bongs are a bit of a novelty. You can pick them up for a reasonable price at most headshops. Due to their gimmicky nature, there are plenty of colourful designs alongside more plain, unassuming versions. The bong and the mask come in various materials, like glass, acrylic, metal, etc. Similarly to dab rig setups, it's all about personalisation.

How to Use a Gas Mask Bong

  1. First, fill the bong with water and attach it to the gas mask. Then, pack the bowl with ground cannabis flower.
  2. Put the gas mask on, with the mouthpiece in position. Tighten the straps so it's a snug fit.
  3. Slide the bowl into the bong, light it up, and clear the chamber. The gas mask will fill up with smoke. It should allow you to exhale without pushing air into the bong.
  4. Remove the mask when you've had enough. It can be pretty awkward to get off, especially if you’re now heavily stoned. It may be best to detach the bong before removing the mask, lest you risk a spill!

The Advantages of a Gas Mask Bong

Some of the advantages of a gas mask bong are:

  • More smoke and active cannabinoids are funnelled up the bong stem and directly into your lungs, as the gas mask forms an airtight connection with the bong.
  • It’s a great way to save weed and get a substantial hit.
  • If you invite friends over to smoke and chill, or go to a festival or party, the gas mask bong can be great fun.
Step 1

The Disadvantages of a Gas Mask Bong

It’s not all fun with a gas mask bong, though:

  • They can be unsuitable for lengthy smoking sessions.
  • Since one hit can be enough, those unfamiliar with bongs can have a negative experience if they go too hard.
  • The gas mask traps all of the smoke inside. This can irritate and sting the eyes. However, some designs feature a separate sealed section for your eyes to avoid this problem.
  • Passing a gas mask bong around your daily smoke squad isn't practical. These bongs are cumbersome, fiddly, and way more inconvenient than just passing a joint around.
  • It’s unclear how much extra THC you actually consume by hotboxing.
  • If you’re prone to anxiety of claustrophobia, gas mask bongs plus weed can certainly trigger it!

Are Gas Mask Bongs Dangerous?

Smoke inhalation is the point of using a gas mask bong. It can, however, also be an undesirable consequence. When you inhale, the smoke travels to your lungs, enters the bloodstream, and gets you high.

Yet, following the first exhale, the smoke can't escape the mask, and you are then just repeatedly inhaling secondhand smoke. This smoke can contain increased levels of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, both of which can impair your breathing. Carbon monoxide is created by the incomplete burning of any carbon material, including cannabis.

The reduction of oxygen can also make you feel lightheaded, dizzy, or nauseated. It can be hard to determine why you feel funny if you are getting high simultaneously. Try to limit your time with the mask on. Alternatively, have a smoking buddy with you to "spot" you while using the gas mask, in case anything goes wrong.

As a complete sensory experience, a gas mask bong can be pretty uncomfortable. Your eyes may be irritated, and it certainly won't be the best "taste" experience you've ever had. If you have claustrophobia, anxiety, stress, or panic attacks, the gas mask bong may not be for you. The immediate environment of a gas mask bong may exacerbate any symptoms. This is especially true if you get too stoned or have a low tolerance.

Does a Gas Mask Bong Get You Higher?

Some will say yes, as, with any bong, the size of the hit will be more significant. However, science tells us that gas mask bongs are not a very efficient or effective way to get high, despite their appearance.

The first inhale of smoke you take will undoubtedly be full of THC, but it’s very possible that no good will come from breathing it back in after you have exhaled. At least, that’s what the studies say[1]. You're basically engulfing your face in a cloud of almost inert smoke.

However, some people swear that gas mask bongs or hotboxing do get them higher. Yet, this myth can be busted using the same explanation that discounts the idea of "holding a hit" for a better high.

What Is Holding a Hit?

The commonly held perception is that holding smoke in the lungs longer will give the body extra time to absorb more THC. Unfortunately, this is most likely not the case.

If you hold in your hit, it may feel “stronger”, but all you are doing is depriving your brain of oxygen. The effect of this is feeling a bit lightheaded. Add carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and other toxins into the equation, and that dizzy feeling can feel more intense.

With the gas mask bong, the longer the mask is on, the higher your heart rate gets. Your blood is being pumped faster to compensate for lower oxygen levels. Your body will also naturally begin to release adrenaline as part of the flight-or-fight response, which further compounds the increased "high" sensation. Oxygen deprivation can also cause a tingling feeling on the face and body. This is another response that can be mistaken for feeling higher than usual.

How to Make a Gas Mask Bong

If you still want to give a gas mask bong a go, but don't want to pay for one, you can make your own version, which will act similarly. The following method uses a simple plastic bottle instead of a gas mask—something almost everyone will have in their kitchen.

Equipment

  • 1.5 or 2-litre plastic bottle with lid
  • Pair of scissors
  • Drill
  • Electrical tape (optional)
How to Make a Gas Mask Bong

Directions

  1. Wash out the bottle and cut the rounded bottom portion off of it.
  2. Now, starting at the bottom of what's left of the bottle, cut out a U-shaped section down one side so the bottle can fit over your face like a mask. However, where the bottle begins to curve in toward the mouthpiece and lid, end the cut. Trim the edges so they feel comfortable when you put the bottle against your face. If you want to make the edges more comfortable and secure, cover them with electrical tape.
  3. Slide the cut-open bottle, with the lid pointing down, under your chin and around the sides of your face. The lid should sit just below your chin with the sides resting snugly along your face.
  4. Drill a small hole in the middle of the bottle lid.

How to Use a DIY Gas Mask Bong

  1. Roll a joint that will fit into the hole in the lid.
  2. Light it, and take a couple of puffs to get it burning.
  3. Place it into the hole, and screw the lid onto the bottle.
  4. Place the mask against your face and take a deep inhale.
  5. Remove the mask when exhaling.

How to Clean a Gas Mask Bong

Clean your gas mask bong in the same way you would clean a glass bong. Isopropyl alcohol or hot soapy water are standard choices. If you're using an actual bong, changing the water between smoking sessions is definitely recommended. Clean the gas mask itself with an antibacterial wipe or warm soapy water and a cloth. Leave it in an airy place to dry out thoroughly.

Glass Bong vs Gas Mask Bong

There are some differences between a gas mask bong and the standard glass bong:

  • Using a gas mask bong inherently allows you to hotbox, whereas glass bongs do not.
  • A gas mask bong is very large and awkward compared to glass bongs, which are available in a range of styles and sizes.
  • Glass bongs are also available at a range of price points.
  • Glass bongs are suited to general, everyday smoking sessions. Gas mask bongs are not.
Glass Bong vs Gas Mask Bong

Should I Try a Gas Mask Bong?

The gas mask bong is an excellent smoking accessory. It can be fun to use and is a fantastic party piece. For the most part, though, we’d recommend sticking to regular bongs or dabs if you are looking for a substantial hit. Concentrates will get you higher, and they will do it without compromising taste, smell, or sociability.

The bottom line is this: gas mask bongs are basically toys that cannot fulfil the everyday function of a regular bong. So if you buy or make one, know that it will likely be a rarely used novelty piece, not a substitute for a normal bong.

External Resources:
  1. Chemistry, Metabolism, and Toxicology of Cannabis: Clinical Implications https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Disclaimer:
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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