If you are new to using a bong, these bizarre looking contraptions can come across as intimidating and confusing. But, with a bit of guidance and knowledge, bongs can transform into a useful tool for smoking dry herbs, lavender, tobacco, or CBD-rich hemp. If you are curious about what benefits can be gained from smoking a bong but don’t know where to start, read on for simple, straightforward instructions and best practices.
What Is a Bong?
Before discussing exactly how a bong is used, let us first outline exactly what a bong is. Simply, a bong, or water pipe, is a device containing at least two ports for smoke to enter and exit from, a chamber for water or ice, and a bowl to place your dry herbs. A bong acts as a filtration device for which smoke can pass through water or ice, cooling the smoke before inhalation.
If we use the picture above for guidance, we can explain the different components of a standard bong in detail:
- The Chamber – The majority of the bong is comprised of the chamber. The top of the chamber is where a user inhales from, known as the mouthpiece, and the base of the chamber is where water or ice is placed.
- The Downstem – A tube that angles into the water in the chamber that pulls smoke from the bowl, through the liquid, and up the chamber to the mouth
- The Carburetor – A hole in the side of the base that creates clear airflow by lifting the bowl off of the downstem
- Bowl – At the top of the downstem, the bowl is where the dry herb is packed, and where a filter is placed to ‘catch’ the ash and keep it from clogging the downstem
How Do Bongs Work?
Although bongs might appear at first glance confusing (and the design and features can vary a lot), the principle behind how they are used is simple, effective, and quite ancient. If you think of the hookahs of the Middle East, the principle is quite the same.
By lighting the packed herb in the bowl and inhaling through the mouthpiece, a bong user is creating a mostly continuous, airtight ‘flow’ of smoke from bowl to mouth. But as the smoke passes through the cold water or ice, it cools down before entering the lungs. Simple, effective, and genius, isn’t it?
How To Use a Bong - Instructions
So now that you have an idea of the parts of a bong and the principle behind them, it’s time to try it for yourself:
Fill bottom of chamber with water/ice - Remove the downstem and fill the chamber with water or ice until it just covers about half of the downstem, but not enough for it to spill out of the carb if there is one (usually about 1 or 2 inches)
Place your filter into your bowl - Remove the downstem from the bong. Place a disposable filter into the top of the downstem, or ‘bowl’, and push it down so it’s snug and creates a convex ‘cup’ to place your dry herbs in. You want the filter to be snug enough to not come loose, but not jammed in enough to become stuck in the bowl or downstem
Pack your bowl - Now that the chamber is filled with water and your filter is in place, you can pack your bowl. So choose some pieces of dried herbs and prune away any stems or other bits that you don’t actually want to smoke. You want relatively small pieces, and don’t want to pack the bowl too tightly, as large pieces and a tightly packed bowl will reduce airflow by causing blockages between the bowl and chamber.
Place Downstem back into bong and put mouth around mouthpiece - You are now ready to create your continuous circuit of smoke to mouth, and are ready to smoke.
Light the contents of the bowl and inhale - And with that, let there be light. By lighting the contents of your bowl you are creating the smoke that you will inhale. Inhale as you simultaneously light the bowl. As you inhale, the smoke passes from downstem into the water, and then emerges from the water and fills the chamber with smoke which is then inhaled, cool and smooth. Once the bowl contents are lit, remove the flame but continue to inhale to fill the chamber with smoke.
Lift the bowl or open the carb - Lifting the bowl or opening the carb will release the seal created to before and allow air to flow into your lungs as you inhale. The smoke left in the chamber will then be inhaled.
Rinse and repeat - When you are finished, empty the ash out of your bowl, remove your filter if you have used one, and rinse your bong in warm water and leave to dry.
What are the Benefits of Using a Bong?
As we have already touched on above, one of the many benefits of using a bong is that it cools the smoke before it enters your lungs. This means that the smoke won’t cause soreness or irritation, as the dry heat associated with smoking is quelled from the water or ice in the bong chamber. There are also a wide range of accessories that help customise the experience further.
And, hopefully, as we have demonstrated, bongs are quite easy to use and provide the immediate effects associated with smoking or vaping (especially with CBD) without being painful on the throat. Moreover, they are easy to maintain and can come in a variety of eye catching shapes and colours. So brighten your smoking experience and discover the benefits of bong use for yourself.