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Bong Terminology: A Head Shop Reference Guide

If you are a beginner, trying to purchase your first bong, pipe, bubbler, or dab rig, figuring out all the lingo can get confusing. Here is a list of every term you might run across during your purchasing process. We will break it up into sections for easier digestion.

Parts and accessories of bongs:

45 degree joint: This is the angle to downstem protrudes from the piece.

90 degree joint: This usually only pertains to stemless joints where the stem is attached to the piece instead of being removable.

Ash catcher/precooler: This is an attachment that goes on the end of your stem giving you extra percolation and keeping your bong clean from all the ash.

Carb hole: A hole in the side of the piece you place your finger on to help regulate air flow.

Carbon Filter: is a filtration system that goes between the bowl and the downstem. It helps reduce or remove and tar or carcinogens.

Dabber/wand: A long tool used to hold concentrate as you place it onto a heated surface to smoke.

Dome: A bowl shaped piece that is placed over the heated nail to contain the smoke.

Domeless nail: A nail that has its own way of capturing smoke with the use of holes.

Down stem: This is the removable piece that is inserted into the side of the bong with slits at one end to diffuse the smoke into the water of the bong.

Dish: A piece used to hold you concentrates for safe keeping.

Fixed stem: This does the same function as the down stem but it is attached to the piece instead of being removable.

Glass on Glass (gong): The slide and the down stem are both glass instead of having rubber grommets like they used to have.

Nail: Use to smoke concentrates, you heat this element up with a torch and place you concentrates on it to vaporize into a smoke. These can be made from titanium, glass, and quartz.

Percolator: The method of diffusing the smoke through many holes/slits into water making the smoke easier to inhale. There are many different types of percolators, if you would like to learn more about them check our percolator blog.

Slide/bowl: The part of the pipe that holds what you are smoking. This is also removed to inhale the smoke that is held in the chamber instead of using a carb hole.

Splash guard: This part is near the top of the piece that does exactly as it sounds. It stops water from splashing into your mouth.

Smoking Lingo

Drag: The resistance you get from smoking through the tube. The more drag the hard to smoke which correlates with too many percolators.

Worked glass: This refers to glass that has colored worked into the piece.

China Glass: Inferior glass made in china. These pieces are usually made with cheap materials and thin glass make them prone to break.

Slyme: Usually green or pink colored glass the looks like slime.

Here is a list of every term you might run across during your purchasing process. We will break it up into sections for easier digestion.

Head shop lingo

It’s no secret the pipes and smoking paraphernalia sold in tobacco shops aren’t exclusive to tobacco use, but are commonly used for smoking marijuana. So, how is it these shops get away with selling marijuana smoking devices? It’s all in keeping a secret.

As soon as the word “marijuana” or any illegal drug use is mentioned inside a shop, the sale of the smoking item becomes illegal. This means customers must play by the rule, don’t ask, don’t tell.

At the Electric Fetus head shop located downtown, pipes are labeled “Smoking Accessories” so as not to intend illegal drug use. Duluth’s city ordinance on the language used in tobacco shops was adopted directly from the Fetus’ policy.

Carrie Brown has been an employee at the Electric Fetus for 12 years and has a lot of experience with the laws surrounding the sale of smoking items.

“These items are only for tobacco,” Brown stated,pointing out the store’s pipes. “We assume all of our customers will use it for tobacco.”

If it’s not for tobacco, Electric Fetus doesn’t sell it – and sometimes this decision all depends upon the name of the product.

For example, it’s totally OK to walk in to a tobacco shop in Duluth and purchase a water pipe, but it’s illegal to buy a bong. Even though water pipes and bongs are the same product, the word “bong” implies it will be used for marijuana.

When talking about pipes, it’s completely legal to speak about them in terms of how they were made, details of the design and other physical aspects of the piece. However, it’s illegal to talk about smoking marijuana or any other illicit substance out of the piece.

When customers ask about the specifics of the pieces, Brown has to be cautious of the language she uses.

“I’ve gotten used to using the correct terminology, and so have most of our customers,” she said. “Most of the people who we have to decline sales to are tourists because they don’t know how to talk about pipes.”

Upon selling the smoking item, it’s not necessary to ask customers what their intended use is for the item; but if an illegal use is stated, the sale cannot be made.

Brown explained the process of selling a tobacco accessory: “First thing we have to do is check I.D.s. If everything checks out, we can move to the sale.”

Head shops have other legal issues to stray away from besides the use of illegal language.

For a while, The Last Place On Earth was another location where tobacco accessories and other illicit products were sold.

Last Place was closed on July 17, 2013 due to owner Jim Carlson’s personal disregard for the law and the sale of many other illegal items beyond just pipes and bongs. The Last Place on Earth was deemed by the city of Duluth to be a public nuisance, contributing greatly to the amount of drug arrests downtown and the trafficking of drugs, such as illegal synthetic marijuana.

With Last Place shut down for now, downtown is a calmer and safer place for customers, shop owners, tourists and Duluth natives alike.

Now, Duluth tobacco shops can thrive so long as they and their customers abide by the laws and social taboos by using the correct and legal language, and selling solely legal products.

Head shop lingo It’s no secret the pipes and smoking paraphernalia sold in tobacco shops aren’t exclusive to tobacco use, but are commonly used for smoking marijuana. So, how is it these shops ]]>