How to use a bong
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- What is a bong?
- What you need to smoke a bong
- Step-by-step instructions on how to smoke a bong
What is a bong?
A bong is a marijuana pipe that uses water to cool and filter the smoke, producing an especially smooth, clean-tasting, and potentially healthier smoking experience. The physics behind a bong are fairly straightforward: smoke is pulled through a chamber filled with water, and as the smoke bubbles up through the liquid, the water simultaneously cools down the temperature of the smoke and pulls out fine particulate matter including tar and ash.
A bong is a marijuana pipe that uses water to cool and filter the smoke, producing an especially smooth, clean-tasting, and potentially healthier smoking experience. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Interestingly, there are a number of scientific studies showing the efficacy of water filtration. According to a literature review published by researcher Nicholas V. Cozzi, a study in 1963 found that “water filtration reduces both the amount of particulate matter and the number and quantity of toxic substances in the smoke that passes through it.” Similarly,a number of studies throughout the 1970s found that THC tends to pass through water while a number of other, potentially harmful substances are filtered out and stay behind in the water. Further supporting these findings, a study published in 1991 concluded that when smoke passes through water or some other wet surface, a number of toxic substances are removed.
What you need to smoke a bong
Here’s everything you need to smoke a bong:
- Your favorite strain of marijuana
- A bong. Be sure your bong has a downstem and bowl.
- A lighter or hemp wick
- A grinder
- For cleaning your bong you will need zipper-top plastic bags, plugs that fit the holes in your bong, and a cleaning solution (either one designed specifically for bongs or a combination of rubbing alcohol and coarse salt).
Step-by-step instructions on how to smoke a bong
Bongs are a staple of cannabis culture. Knowing how to use a bong is important for anyone who wants to enjoy the full range of cannabis consumption methods. Here’s a step-by-step guide for smoking a bong.
Step 1: Prep your bong
Before doing anything else, be sure your bong is ready to go. Insert the downstem while checking that your bowl slides smoothly in and is cleared of any ash.
Put enough water into the water chamber so that the bottom of the downstem is fully submerged. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Next, pour water into the water chamber. Typically, the water goes through the mouthpiece, which is the large opening at the top of the bong. Put enough water into the water chamber so that the bottom of the downstem is fully submerged—you don’t need any more than that. Finally, if you are using any additional components such as an ice catch, be sure everything is in its proper place inside the bong.
Step 2: Grind your marijuana
The best way to do this is with a grinder, as the device will give you the most uniform grind. Place a medium-sized nug into the part of the grinder that contains the grinding teeth. Replace the cap and twist it back and forth until your weed is fully ground.
Place a medium-sized nug into the grinder. Replace the cap and twist it back and forth until your weed is fully ground. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
If you do not have a grinder, you can use a sharp pair of scissors or even your fingers. Whatever method you use, the goal is to break the nug down into small chunks of more or less the same size.
Step 3: Pack the bowl
When your weed is ground, use your fingertips to pick up a pinch of marijuana. Carefully place the pinch of weed into the bowl. Then use your finger, the flat end of a lighter, or a tamping tool to gently tamp the marijuana down into the bowl. Don’t pack the bowl too tightly, though, otherwise you could have problems pulling smoke through the bowl. Add enough marijuana to fill the bowl to the top, then slide the bowl into the downstem.
Use your fingertips to pick up a pinch of marijuana and carefully place it into the bowl. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Step 4: Ignite the marijuana
At this point, you’re ready to start smoking your bong. Use a lighter or hemp wick to ignite a corner of the bowl. As you do this, put your mouth to the mouthpiece and start pulling in with your lungs. There is no need to be too aggressive with your pull; give it a smooth and steady drag. You will see the smoke travel from the bowl through the downstem, and start bubbling up through the water.
As you ignite a corner of the bowl, put your mouth to the mouthpiece and start pulling in with your lungs. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Step 5: Clear the chamber
When the chamber has filled with smoke and you’re ready to take a hit, you need to clear the chamber. To clear the chamber, slide the bowl out of the dowstem. Be sure to continue pulling in with your lungs. By removing the bowl, you open the flow of air moving through the bong, which pushes the smoke up the mouthpiece and into your lungs.
To clear the chamber, slide the bowl out of the dowstem. Be sure to continue pulling in with your lungs. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Step 6: Clean your bong
Bongs can quickly become dirty, smelly, and gunked up with resin. To keep your bong in pristine working condition, clean it after each session.
Begin by emptying out all the ash from the bowl. Then, remove the bowl and place it in a zipper-top plastic bag with some coarse salt and rubbing alcohol (or simply use a cleaning solution designed for bongs and other glass smoking pieces). Gently shake the bag and use your hands to scrub the bowl. The idea is to let the alcohol break apart the sticky resin while the salt acts as an exfoliator. Work the bowl around inside the bag until it is clean. Then remove the bowl from the bag and rinse it in clean water.
Next, repeat this step with the downstem. If the salt/alcohol solution isn’t too dirty, you can simply drop the downstem into the exact same zipper-top bag.
When the bong is clean, dump out the cleaning solution and rinse the entire thing with clean water. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Now that the downstem and bowl are clean, it’s time to focus on the bong itself. Start by pouring out the water in the water chamber. Now pour in some rubbing alcohol and coarse salt. Alternatively, you can use a cleaning solution designed specifically for bongs. Either way, once you’ve added a cleaning mixture, use rubber stoppers to plug all holes. Give your bong a good shake. As with the bowl and downstem, the alcohol will help break apart the sticky resin and the salt will exfoliate away any residue. When the bong is clean, dump out the cleaning solution and rinse the entire thing with clean water.How to use a bong Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is a bong? What you need to smoke a bong Step-by-step instructions on how to
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. ]]>