No longer relegated to smoky head shops or college dorm rooms, bongs are on the rise as a socially accepted cannabis tool. Also known as water pipes, bongs have been a preferred method of smoking flower for millenia, due to the unique way that they filter and cool the smoke with water. In turn, the user gets “hit” by a powerful high, while the bong filters the smoke enough to really taste the cannabis product

So, have you always wanted to try a bong but you’re not sure how? We’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll dive into the wonders of the bong and provide a step-by-step guide of how to use one. 

A Very Long Bong Time 

The word “bong” actually originates from Thailand, which refers to a cylindrical bamboo tube that Thai people and their hilltribes have been using for hundreds, if not thousands, of years to smoke. Bongs were popularized in the United States in the 1960s and 70s with soldiers returning from Vietnam, which neighbours Thailand and has also used bongs for eons. 

Until recently, it was believed that bongs originated in Africa in the 1100s, to later be carried into Asia and along the Silk Road. But our understanding of just how far back bongs go was updated in 2013, when an ancient Russian burial mound was found to hold two golden bongs dating back to 400 BC! And amazingly, the bongs had traces of weed and opium residue on them, confirming just how long humans have used bongs to get high. 

Why Bongs Rule

When you toke up with a bong, the unwanted side effects of hot smoke, particulate matter and tars are removed. The bong performs like a gas washing bottle or a laboratory wet scrubber by providing one of the cleanest, smoothest, and healthiest ways to smoke, besides vaporizing. 

How Bongs Work

The negative pressure as you inhale forces the smoke to bubble through the water from a lit “bowl” that holds the burning cannabis. A small hole, known as the “choke,” is then uncovered to clear the smoke from the bong once the cannabis is finished burning. This invites a rush of clean air to help push out the smoke, as the user inhales the large plume of filtered bong smoke. 

The parts of the cannabis we enjoy, like cannabinoids and terpenes are not water-soluble, and pass through the bong in the cooled smoke as vapours for the lungs to absorb. What remains in the water are undesirable ash, fine unburnt organic matter and some tars, which create that infamous “dirty bong water” smell if not regularly cleaned and replaced with fresh water. 

Step-by-step How to Use a Bong

At first glance, a bong may seem confusing, especially if you’ve never seen one used. Once you get the hang of it though, a bong is a one-of-a kind sensation! 

The following is a step-by-step guide for a simple single-chamber bong. If you’re planning to use a more complicated bong with multiple chambers, we recommend you speak with your local trusted budtender at your nearest legal dispensary

Step 1. 

Fill the bong with enough water to cover the bottom of the stem, which goes inside the bong and connects on the outside to hold the bowl, where the cannabis is placed and burned. The water can be any temperature you prefer. 

Step 2.

Make sure the weed bowl is fully clean and cleared. You can do this by inhaling through the mouthpiece of the bong with the bowl resting in the stem. The water should bubble. If there is no air, it means your bowl is clogged with old cannabis or resin. It can be cleared with a pipe cleaner, a sharp object, or by blowing through it. 

Step 3.

Prepare the cannabis. Use a grinder to break up the flower, and make sure the weed is finely ground so that it burns nicely, but not so finely ground that it gets sucked into the chamber once you take a hit. Also remove any seeds or stems from the loose flower. 

Step 4.

Loosely pack the bowl with the nicely ground flower. Don’t overpack the bowl. If you don’t remove the bowl (with stem attached) from the bong to fill it, make sure you don’t knock over the whole bong at this stage. If you do remove the bowl to fill it, place it back into the downstem (which runs from outside to inside the bong and its water.)

Step 5. 

Here it comes… get ready to take a hit! Hold the bong to your mouth with your non-dominant hand. Have the lighter in your dominant hand. Important rule: until you’re a bong expert, keep the bong on the table to lessen the chances of it falling, breaking, or spilling. 

Step 6. 

With your mouth gently within the mouthpiece (do not wrap your mouth around it), a seal should be formed. Hold the sparked lighter up to the edge of the bowl, while gently inhaling from the mouthpiece. You only inhale and exhale once when you hit from the bong, so make sure it’s a steady inhalation. At this point, you aren’t ingesting the smoke yet, you are using your lungs to help the bong bubble and fill up with smoke. 

Step 7.

It’s go time! With the bud in the bowl burning and filling up the bong chamber with smoke, remove the lighter. Once the bong chamber is filled completely with smoke and the bowl is nearly empty of burning cannabis, inhale the smoke with a big, deep breath by removing the bowl or opening the choke. (Depends on the kind of bong you have.) 

For the smoke to enter your lungs, fresh air has to flow through that pushes the smoke up and into your lungs. This all happens in one fast, fluid motion. As soon as the fresh air enters the bong, take a deep, rapid breath to inhale all the smoke in the bong. 

Step 8. 

If you can’t inhale all of the smoke in the bong’s chamber at once, don’t worry! It’s normal. Take your mouth off the mouthpiece and cover it with your hand so the rest of the smoke doesn’t escape. When you’re ready to inhale the rest of the smoke, remove your hand and quickly put your mouth back on the mouthpiece.

Step 9. 

Exhale, expand, and fly! The effects of the bong happen immediately, and also wear off quicker than a joint or an edible. Relax and enjoy. 

In Sum

With bongs destigmatized and cannabis legal, bongs are an amazing option for exploring the benefits of smoking weed. Many cannabis connoisseurs agree that weed is best sampled from a bong, as the flavour is stronger as a result of the water filtration system. Don’t worry if it takes a few tries to get using the bong correctly. Once you’ve got, you’ll know it… and you’ll be soaring!

Peers Cannabis has a great selection of products and accessories to help you on your cannabis journey. Check out our products online today!