How To Prepare, Smoke And Clean A Bong
For many cannabis aficionados, smoking a bong is the ultimate way to enjoy cannabis. Here’s how to smoke a bong properly.
Although there are many different ways you can consume cannabis, one of the most popular methods is still the tried and tested bong. Some cannabis enthusiasts even think that nothing beats the high that you get from a huge bong rip. Although this may be down to personal preference, smoking weed from a bong does indeed have some advantages: it can give you a cooler and smoother smoke, and you don’t have to fiddle around with papers like when making a joint.
On the other hand, not everyone may know how to properly use a bong. Well, help is on the way: In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know so you can smoke a bong like a pro. We’ll also share some helpful tips on how to clean your bong to keep it in top shape.
THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF A BONG
A bong or water pipe filters your smoke by sending it through water to make it cooler and less harsh. Bongs are typically made from durable glass like borosilicate, but you can also find ones made from acrylic, wood, and many other materials. Bongs are available in many sizes, from small and stealthy rigs to massive centrepieces that come with additional features to enhance your smoke experience even more. For this guide, we will stick with the basics to keep things simple and clear.
In order to have the best experience smoking from a bong, it pays to know the different components of the apparatus. A bong will normally consist of a bowl, a stem, the bong’s interior (the base), a smoke chamber (tube), and mouthpiece. Many bongs also have a small opening called a carb hole.
The bowl is the part on your bong that holds your bud. Unless your bowl is made entirely from glass, the bowl can also be made from metal such as steel or copper.
The bowl of the bong is attached to a tube called the stem. This tube extends into the base of the bong through a hole. Inside the bong, the stem is partially submerged in water.
The base is the large interior part of the bong at the bottom that holds the water. The base is also where the smoke builds up as it bubbles out from the water.
• Chamber (tube)
The smoke chamber (or tube) is the large cylinder that extends up from the base. This is where the smoke goes through before it reaches the mouthpiece.
The mouthpiece is the large opening at the top of the bong where you place your mouth to inhale the smoke.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR BONG BEFORE SMOKING
• Fill the bong with H₂O
Before you start ripping your bong like a champion, you need to do some minor prep work. No worries, this will be easy: The first thing you do is fill your bong with fresh water. If you have never used a bong before, what’s important here is that you add enough water so that a portion of the stem is submerged. Normally, you want about 3–7cm of the stem in the water, depending on the size of the bong. (Most bongs are transparent, so you should be able to see how much of the stem is submerged).
Tip: Some folks like to fill their bongs with other liquids besides water to enhance the taste when they smoke. If you feel like experimenting, try fruit juice, tea, and water with essential oils like peppermint. You can also spice up your bong water with orange or lemon peels!
• Pack it up
There are smokers who fill their bowl with cannabis before they put the stem into the bong, while others pack it with the stem kept in the bong the whole time. Try for yourself to see what works best for you.
To pack your bowl, use your fingers or a grinder and break your bud down into small pieces. If needed, you can put a screen into the bowl as well. Pack your ground material into the bowl. If you smoke with others, make sure that you pack enough so that everyone can enjoy some green. If you took the stem out before, you can now insert it back into the hole on the bong.
HITTING YOUR BONG, THE RIGHT WAY
How you hit your bong depends on whether your bong has a carb hole or not. The carb hole is a small opening that’s normally on the side or back of the bong. If your bong has a carb hole, close the carb hole with your thumb. This will keep the smoke inside your bong before you inhale it.
• Light your bud
Now it’s time to light the bud in your bowl! Take the bong, put the mouthpiece to your mouth and get ready to draw: Take a good lighter or a lighting wick, but don’t go all crazy scorching the entire bowl. If you’re sharing with others, it is considered polite to only light a small edge of the bowl and not to turn the entire bud into ash.
• Fill the bong with smoke
As you light up the bowl, draw in through the mouthpiece and fill the chamber with smoke. Are you still covering the carb hole? Good! Keep drawing smoke into the bong until you have collected the desired amount. Get ready to rip!
• Clear the bong
When the bong is filled with smoke, you’re ready to rip, clear the chamber, and inhale the smoke. Remove your thumb from the carb hole, or, if you have a bong without one, pull the stem out from the stem hole. Now, inhale the smoke from the chamber. If you can’t finish all the smoke that’s in the bong, no big deal since you can always draw a second time.
You don’t want your next rip to start with stale smoke left in your bong, and you sure don’t want to come across as an impolite jerk when you’re smoking with others. Because of that, you should make sure that you clear the bong of any lingering smoke left in the chamber when you’re done.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR BONG
Keeping your bong clean and properly maintained isn’t just something you should do to achieve the best flavour, biggest rips, and smoothest high; an unclean bong can also be bad for your health. It only takes about 24 hours for the stale water in your bong to turn into a breeding ground for bacteria. Likewise, sticky resin on your bong will also promote the growth of mould and bacteria. Because of that, you should regularly clean your bong after each and every use. But no worries, basic bong cleaning is pretty easy and doesn’t take long.
First off, you should always dump your bong water out after your session. Simple: If there is no bong water left, it cannot get nasty. Afterwards, rinse your bong with some warm water. With a paper towel, wipe your bong down and then allow the piece to dry. This should do for everyday use and helps keep your bong from getting too icky.
Tip: If there is sticky resin that won’t easily rub off on some spots, such as the stem or the bowl, alcohol wipes will do wonders. Likewise, make sure that you also replace your screens regularly if your bowl needs them.
If you follow these simple bong maintenance tips, you can always enjoy big rips and the best flavour from your bong. If you want more thorough information on proper bong cleaning and maintenance, check out How To Clean Your Bong, Bowl Or Pipe, where we show you further tips on you how you can clean your bong and other smoking devices.
WATER TEMPERATURE: A MATTER OF PERSONAL PREFERENCE
When it comes to setting a bong up just right, water temperature can be a big deal. Of course, room temperature bong water works fine for many smokers, and it might be fine for you too. However, using either hot or cold bong water is reported to come along with specific benefits that might enhance your smoking experience.
Using hot water in your bong may indeed offer a smoother and more pleasant hit of smoke. Using water around the same temperature as a cup of tea, so as to avoid throat irritation, is said to remove most of the harshness usually associated with hitting a bong. Not only are you inhaling the smoke from the combusted flowers, but the steam from the hot water, which is an old-school practice for soothing a sore throat and clearing the sinuses.
In contrast, using cold water in a bong cools the smoke as opposed to warming it up. This helps to produce a thick and milky hit. Cold water helps to condense the smoke, which in theory makes each hit more potent. This is why some bongs are specially made to feature ice chambers that have a similar effect. One downside of inhaling cooled smoke is that it can be harsher on the throat.
At the end of the day, the use of hot, cold, or room temperature water all comes down to personal preference. Hot water will make a hit easier to inhale, which is a huge bonus if you usually cough a lot. On the other hand, cold smoke will offer a dense hit of cannabinoids, but might leave you in a coughing fit.
In this article, you will learn key tips on how to prep, smoke, and clean your bong. Many smokers consider bongs to offer a stronger, smoother high.
Demystifying the Bong, One Myth at a Time
Bongs, which you may also know by slang terms like bubbler, binger, or billy, are water pipes used to smoke cannabis.
They’ve been around for centuries. The word bong is said to have come from the Thai word “baung” for a bamboo tube used for smoking weed.
Today’s bongs look a lot more complicated than a simple bamboo tube, but they all come down to the same basic process.
Read on to learn more about how bongs work and why, contrary to lore, they aren’t actually any better for your lungs than other smoking methods.
Bongs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are very basic with just a bowl and chamber. Others are colorful, mouth-blown works of art.
At the end of the day, they all do basically the same thing: filter and cool the smoke that comes from the burning marijuana.
Bongs generally feature a small bowl that holds dried weed. When you light the weed it combusts. Meanwhile, as you inhale, the water in the bottom of the bong bubbles (or percolates, if you want to get technical). The smoke rises up through the water and then the chamber before entering your mouth and lungs.
If you’re looking for a smoother toke, a bong will give you just that compared to smoking weed rolled in paper.
As expected, the water in a bong eliminates the dry heat you get from a joint. The effect is often described as being cooler, creamy, and smooth rather than harsh.
This effect can be deceiving, though.
While the smoother smoke might feel better on your lungs, you’re still smoking. And that smoke is still filling up your lungs (we’ll spare the lecture on why this is all-around bad news for your health).
Sure, a small amount of the bad stuff might get filtered out. But it’s not enough to make much of a difference.
Yes, this means all those stories about bongs being the “safer” way to smoke are largely based on junk science.
So far, bong safety has been pretty low on the list of priorities when it comes to medical research. But as cannabis becomes legal in more areas, this could change.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health organizations, smoke is harmful to lung health regardless of what you’re smoking because of the carcinogens released from the combustion of materials.
Smoking marijuana, whether via doobie or bong, can harm lung tissues and cause scarring and damage to your small blood vessels.
The tendency to inhale deeply and hold your breath when smoking pot means you’re often exposed to more tar per breath. Plus, bongs are basically a way to get more smoke into your lungs while also making that smoke more pleasant to inhale.
All of these aspects make it easy to overdo it when using a bong.
One other risk to keep in mind is related to the use of plastic bongs. Plastics that contain chemicals like BPA and phthalates have been linked to adverse health effects, including cancer.
Bong health risks aside, depending on where you live and local laws, having a bong with marijuana in it or even just some residue could get you in legal hot water.
Research also shows that marijuana-only smokers have more healthcare visits related to respiratory conditions than nonsmokers, regardless of the method used to inhale the smoke.
How do those fancy bongs, with all their bells and whistles, actually work? Plus, find out whether they're actually easier on your lungs than a joint.