What is a bong? How does a bong work?

Whether you are new to smoking or new to bongs in general, water pipes (bongs) are a great way to smoke your favorite substance. The bong dates back about 2400 years where bongs made of solid gold were used to smoke cannabis in what is now Russia. They were also used in China during the Ming Dynasty where they were used to smoke tobacco. 

 

Bongs can come in many sizes and materials. There are glass, silicone, and arylic bongs. There are a few basic shapes. There is the beaker bong, which uses a wide base to hold more water. Holding more water means there is more stability, you will be less likely to knock this piece off the table. The straight tube design uses a single straight tube and the downstem comes in somewhere around 1/3 of the way up the piece. A straight tube uses less water and is the simplest of bongs.

 

A bong uses water to filter and cool your smoke before it enters your airway. This means smoother hits even if you inhale a lot of smoke at once. If you are someone who smokes out of hand pipes, there are many advantages to moving towards a bong. If you have ever taken a big hit out of a pipe, you have realized just how hot the smoke can get. This can be harsh on the throat and lungs. By passing the smoke through water, the smoke is cooled and filtered before you inhale it. Although sometimes it is hard to beat the size of a hand pipe, which is why a bubbler is a great option. A bubbler combines the water percolation of a pipe with the ease of use and portability offered by a hand pipe.  

Although there have not been many studies, after using a bong, the water starts to discolor and there are particles found floating inside. The water helps filter the smoke, otherwise these particles might end up inside the users throat and lungs. 

 

To get a better idea of how a bong works, we have included a simple graphic breaking down the anatomy of a bong. We describe each piece below the graphic.

  • Mouthpiece – this where the user will place their mouth to form an airtight seal where they can then begin to inhale. Most mouthpieces will have a flare on the end to make it more comfortable for the user.
  • Bowl – the part of the pipe where the dry herb is placed.
  • Downstem – a glass pipe that transports your smoke from the bowl down into the water. Some can be removable or fixed into the piece.
  • Ice Pinch – this allows you to fill up the tube with ice to further cool your smoke. Also acts as a splashguard on some bongs.
These are the most common things found on a bong. There are things like percolators which we will cover in a later blog.

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