The anatomy of a bong - How does a bong work?

Published Jan 29, 2019 02:06 p.m. ET

 The bong is the most widely used and sold smoking device used for ingesting marijuana. If your new to marijuana use or curious about bongs follow along this guide and you’ll be able to answer the question, “how does a bong work”? Bongs can come in all different shapes and sizes and are usually made out of a heavy-duty plastic material or glass. When using a bong, the device acts as a sort of filtration system removing some of the impurities from the smoke before making it accessible to the user. It functions similarly to a hookah with the difference generally being that bongs are a smaller more portable size. Bongs require the user to use water to fill a chamber that will cool the smoke as it filters through it, very similar to a bubbler, only it has a removable bowl that a bubbler does. Making it easier to replace just one piece rather than having to buy a whole new set-up.

How to use a bong

Using a water bong requires only a few steps done in a specific order to use. They are easy to get the hang of and after using one once, you likely won’t need any further instruction.

Step 1 - Fill the center chamber with water. The exact amount you need will depend on the size and design of your bong, but usually somewhere between halfway and ¾ full is sufficient. You can check the draw on a bong as you fill it to help you decide whether to add or remove some. When trying a dry run to test the draw make sure that the bowl is in place. Once you are confident in the water content of your bong, you can move to step two.

Step 2 - Grind your dried marijuana and pack the bowl with your preferred amount. A bowl should not be overflowing and will work no matter how little you place inside of it, so start with a small amount to gauge your lungs ability to handle a hit.

Step 3 - Press your mouth to the mouthpiece and use a heating element to burn the dried herb. One the bowl is lit you should be able to put the lighter down and take a large inhale. You will hear the bubbles and feel the smoke enter your lungs. Before you have had enough, you will want to pull out the bowl and stem. This will release all the smoke contained in the chamber of the bong, leaving it clean and fresh for the next user.

Anatomy of a bong

  1. Mouthpiece - The mouthpiece is where the user will place their mouth to inhale the smoke. It is usually permanently affixed to the base of a bong. A mouthpiece is where the smoke collects and should never contain water.

  2. Stem - A stem on a bong is generally removable from the base and affixed to a bowl. Most frequently made from glass or metal. A stem allows unrestricted airflow from the bowl down into the water which allows the smoke to be filtered through the water chamber.

  3. Bowl - The bowl on a bong is permanently attached to the stem and sometimes sports a handle to prevent the user from getting burned when touching an already lit smoldering bowl.

  4. Water/Bubbles - Once of the most important components when using a bong is its water content. Water will cool smoke making it smoother for the users. It also helps to remove impurities and ashes that manage to make it down the stem. When a bong is working correctly, you should see plenty of bubbles produced in the water chamber when inhaling.

  5. Smoke - This is where the smoke collects and sits until the stem is removed. It is essential to leave enough space when adding water for the smoke to linger there.

While it is possible to use most bongs without water, bongs are not created to work that way efficiently. They will give a harsher taste and a rougher draw and will quickly collect resin where the water should be. Bongs seem to be sold just about everywhere with many vendors before legalization claiming they were for tobacco use. Bongs can be found at your local variety store, head shop or online and range in price from twenty dollars to upwards of hundreds of dollars. Some even go so far as to use gold to decorate and design a bong creating collector’s pieces that are almost impossible to put a price on. No matter which one you choose they will all function on the same principals and will use water and fancy designs to enhance a smoker’s experience.



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