The bong is one of the most common pieces of marijuana paraphernalia, used throughout history, all over the world. But what is a bong, exactly? If you’re new to the world of weed and smoking, you might have questions about different types of bongs, how to use a bong, or what are bongs used for. This guide will provide all the answers you need.
What Is a Bong
Let’s begin with the simplest question of all: what is a bong? A bong is a type of water pipe that is most commonly used for the smoking of cannabis. It consists of several key components (which we’ll describe in detail below), and there are multiple sizes and types of bongs, as well as different materials, like glass bongs and plastic bongs.
They can look very different from one another, but all generally have the same parts and work in the same way, with cannabis being heated in a bowl, allowing smoke to filter through water before passing up towards a mouthpiece, where the user inhales or “takes a hit”.
The actual word “bong” comes from a Thai word, which is transliterated as “baung”. This word is used to refer to a long cylinder of wood (usually bamboo) which is used for smoking. Some historians also believe that bongs originated in Thailand, although other reports suggest they may have been used in China or Africa even earlier.
In any case, bongs have been used throughout history, going back hundreds or even thousands of years, and they’re still popular today. You can visit your local Torrance cannabis dispensary and find an array of bongs ready to buy and use, for example.
Components of a Bong
In order to better understand a bong, it’s important to highlight the key components and their functions:
- Bowl – The bowl is where you put your weed and light it. The cannabis flower sits in the bowl, allowing for easy lighting, and smoke then passes from the bowl through into the downstem.
- Downstem – The downstem is the little tube that flows from the bowl down towards the water chamber. This is where the smoke travels, on its way to be filtered, before later being inhaled by the user.
- Water chamber – The water chamber, as the name suggests, is the part of the bong that contains water. It forms the base or body of the bong, and the smoke travels through the water to be filtered before flowing upward, through the neck.
- Mouthpiece – At the end of the long neck on top of most bongs, you’ll find the mouthpiece. This is where the user can place their mouth to inhale the filtered smoke from the bong.
Types of Bongs
We know what are bongs used for and how they work, but it’s also important to note that there are lots of different types of bongs. They can differ in terms of their shape and the smoking experiences they provide, so there are many different ways to consume cannabis with bongs, depending on the model you choose.
- Traditional bongs – When we talk about traditional bongs, this refers to the most simple and classic varieties, containing nothing but the main components listed above. The most traditional type of bong is the straight-tube bong. As the name suggests, this bong consists of one long, straight tube running from the water chamber up towards the mouthpiece, with the downstem and bowl jutting out at the side.
- Percolator bongs – A percolator bong, also known as bubbler bong, is one that may have various shapes, like straight-tube or beaker-shape. However, the key difference is that it contains an extra component, called a percolator, which helps to dissipate the smoke prior to filtration. This helps the smoke cool down quicker, which can make these bongs more comfortable to use.
- Gravity bongs – Next, we have gravity bongs. Once again, the name tells you a lot about this type of bong. Simply put, gravity bongs involve the formation of a vacuum in a central chamber which helps to draw the smoke up and out.
- Multi-chamber bongs – Finally, we have multi-chamber or multiple chamber bongs. Also sometimes called recycler bongs, these models have multiple inner chambers for the smoke to pass through, allowing for additional stages of filtration, resulting in cleaner and cooler hits for the end user.
How to Use A Bong
So, how do you actually use a bong? Here are the simple step-by-step instructions you need to know:
- First, fill up the water chamber with water. You can pour it straight into the mouthpiece. Add enough so that the downstem is just an inch underwater.
- Next, prepare your weed. Pack it into the bowl and use a grinder if necessary to break down big chunks. Make sure to leave some gaps for air to pass through.
- Light the bowl and then place your mouth over the mouthpiece.
- Inhale slowly to draw the smoke up.
- Repeat the process as needed.
Benefits of Using a Bong
There’s a reason why bongs are so popular: they have many benefits when compared to other forms of consuming cannabis, including:
- Smooth smoking experience – Many people find that inhaling from a bong is much smoother and more pleasant than smoking a joint.
- Effective filtration – The water inside the bong works to filter the smoke, clearing away any impurities.
- Enhancing flavor – Without rolling paper to worry about or any other impurities mixed in with your smoke, you can enjoy a much purer, richer flavor.
Water Filtration and its Benefits
The key element of bongs that separates them from other smoking devices and systems is the presence of water, which offers a range of additional advantages:
- Cooling smoke – First, the water helps to cool down the smoke, so it’s not as harsh on your throat.
- Filtering out impurities – As explained above, water also works to filter out any unwanted impurities that could be mixed in with your weed.
- Smoother hits – Finally, the usage of water helps to provide smoother and cleaner hits, with less chance of coughing or irritation, helping you avoid adverse health effects.
How to Clean a Bong
Unfortunately, one of the downsides of bongs is that they can get dirty over time. You can clean them up pretty easily, and it’s recommended to clean after each use. Here’s how to clean a bong:
- Pour out the water and get rid of any leftover weed from the bowl.
- Pour isopropyl alcohol and salt into the chamber.
- Plug all the holes and then shake the mixture around inside.
- Empty it, then rinse with warm water.
- Leave the bong to dry before using again.
Should You Use a Bong?
Bongs are just one of the many ways of consuming cannabis. But are they right for you? Here are some factors to help you decide:
- Personal preferences and smoking habits – It’s wise to try a few different cannabis consumption methods, like smoking, vaping, and bongs, to find your favorite.
- Health considerations – If you have any respiratory problems that could be aggravated by smoking joints, bongs are a little safer and kinder to your lungs.
- Legal and social factors – It’s also important to remember the legal side of using bongs, as they’re not legal everywhere. They’re also seen as quite a social or communal option for consuming weed, and it’s common to share bongs around, which may appeal to you.
Overall, bongs have been around for such a long time and will surely continue to be popular far into the future. They represent one of the purest and simplest ways of consuming weed, and there are lots of advantages to choosing bongs over other options. Contact us to learn more about weed consumption options, or if you have any further questions about using bongs.