A device used for smoking various substances, but most commonly marijuana. A bong is filled with water which cools the smoke as it passes through. The bong was invented several thousand years ago in the middle east for smoking of tobacco, but has since become a popular method of smoking marijuana and more recently, methamphetamine. A bong is the preferred method if smoking marijuana for many people because it drvies the smoke deeper into the user’s lungs faster, thus exposing more of the mucus membranes to smokes, thus getting the user much higher using less marijuana.
A bong can be made of any material which is impermeable to both air and water. Glass is often considered the best material for fabrication of bongs, because it is easy to clean, durable, and absolutely air and watertight. Plastic is also a popular, but is generally used for bongs which will not be used for a long time, as they tend to develop problems with the seals around the stem and conepiece as they are generally not made with as much care as a glass bong. Other popular materials include ceramic, wood and metal.
The most basic bong consists of a mouthpiece, chamber, stem and bowl (aka conepiece, dooey, etc). The bowl is almost always made of metal, as it must be heat resistant in order to allow the substance to b smoked to burn, although one will often find that the bong is moulded in a single piece made entirely of the same material. Bongs often have a hole on the side (called a “carb” or, in Australia, a “shotgun hole”) to allow air to bypass the stem and allow large amounts of smoke to enter the user’s lungs rapidly.
Bongs can, however, be very elegant in both functional and non-functional ways. Functional ways include addition of extra chambers (which allows further cooling of the smoke), multiple bowls (for longer, bigger hits) and multiple mouthpieces (so more than one person can smoke at once).
Various bong designs include:
Standard Bong – a simple bong made of a plastic bottle with a piece of rubber garden hose place approximately 1/3 of the way up. In this budget design, the bowl is generally made from a beverage can made into the shape of a cone. The materials can vary, but this is the basis of most bongs in existence.
Gravity Bong – Unlike its name suggests, this bong has absolutely nothing to do with gravity. This type of bong is generally made from a plastic milk bottle (because it has a nice handle) and a bucket. A hole is put in the milk bottle cap and a bowl placed in this hole and sealed there. The bottle is then cut off the bottle and placed in the water filled bucket. One places their herb of choice in the bowl, places the cap back on the bottle and pulls it out of the water while lighting. Because of the way in which this bong functions, it would more appropriately be called a suction of vacuum bong.
Hookah – A variation of the standard bong in which the smoke is not inhaled through the bottle’s mouth, but through a plastic tube. This allows the user to layback while smoking and creates a more relaxed smoking environment. Commonly, a hookah will have the stem vertical and the bowl on the top of the chamber.
Double Chamber Bong – Another variation of the standard bong in which a second chamber is added for extra cooling effects. In this design, after bubbling through the water initially, the smoke enters a tube leading to a second chamber (always below the waterline) which causes the smoke to bubble through water a second time (further cooling it). The smoke is then inhaled by the user. This design can be expanded to include as many chambers as the maker wees fit. In this design, if a carb is present, it should always be on the last chamber through which the smoke passes.
The Group Bong – This is often among the most elaborate bongs made. In this design, multiple mouthpieces are attached to a central chamber, allowing multiple users to smoke at the same time. There are an almoqt infinite number of variations to this type of bong, but they can be classified into 2 distinct groups, Individual Bowl or Group Bowl. In bongs of this type which are classified in the Individual Bowl category have 1 bowl for each of the users. In Group Bowl bongs, there is 1 large bowl for all the users. These bongs are almost always very large and often consist of multiple chambers. Many commercial bongs of this type even make use of pumps to maintain a constant vaccum in the chamber(s) which allows the users to directly inhale the smoke, because “clearing” the chamber of these bongs would often take hours, even with multiple users.
“Hey man! Check out my new glass bong!”
“If anyone wants to come for at hit, I just got a new bong that 6 people can smoke at the same time!”
Drug bong A device used for smoking various substances, but most commonly marijuana. A bong is filled with water which cools the smoke as it passes through. The bong was invented several thousand
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.