A bong is a device that is used to smoke herb or tobacco by filtering and cooling the smoke through water. Bongs are also known by other names, such as water pipes, bubblers, bingers, or billys. Bongs have been around for centuries, and they come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. In this blog post, we will explore the history, design, and function of bongs, as well as some of the benefits and risks of using them.
The history of bongs
The word bong is derived from the Thai word “baung” (บ้อง), which means a cylindrical wooden tube or container cut from bamboo and used for smoking. Bongs were traditionally made from bamboo, but they can also be made from other materials, such as metal, glass, ceramic, or plastic.
Bongs have a long and diverse history across different cultures and regions. Some of the earliest evidence of bong use dates back to 2400 years ago, when Scythian tribal chiefs in Russia used gold vessels to smoke herb and opium. Bongs were also invented independently in India, China, Africa, and other parts of the world.
Bongs became popular in the West in the 20th century, especially during the hippie movement and the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s. Bongs were also featured in movies, music, art, and literature, such as Cheech and Chong’s comedy films, Bob Marley’s reggae songs, and Hunter S. Thompson’s novels. Today, bongs are widely available in head shops, online stores, and even some dispensaries.
The design and function of bongs
Bongs consist of four main parts: the bowl, the downstem, the chamber, and the mouthpiece. The bowl is where the herb or tobacco is placed and lit. The downstem is a tube that connects the bowl to the chamber. The chamber is where the water is stored and where the smoke bubbles through. The mouthpiece is where the user inhales the smoke from.
The basic principle of how a bong works is simple: when the user lights the herb or tobacco in the bowl and inhales from the mouthpiece, the smoke travels down the downstem and into the water in the chamber. The water acts as a filter and a cooler for the smoke, removing some of the tar and other harmful substances and making it smoother and less harsh on the throat and lungs. The user can also control the airflow by covering or uncovering a hole called a carburetor (or carb, choke, bink, rush, shotty, kick hole), which is located on the side or bottom of the bong above the water level. By opening or closing the carburetor, the user can clear the chamber of smoke or draw more smoke into it.
The benefits and risks of bongs
Bongs have some advantages over other methods of smoking herb or tobacco, such as joints, pipes, or cigarettes. Some of these benefits are:
- Bongs provide a smoother and creamier smoke than joints or pipes, which can be harsher on the throat and lungs.
- Bongs allow users to take bigger hits than joints or pipes, which can result in more intense effects.
- Bongs can be customized with different accessories, such as percolators (which add extra filtration), ice catchers (which cool down the smoke further), ash catchers (which prevent ash from entering the water), diffusers (which create smaller bubbles for smoother smoke), etc.
- Bongs can be made from various materials that have different aesthetic and functional qualities. For example, glass bongs are transparent and easy to clean; metal bongs are durable and cheap; ceramic bongs are artistic and unique; bamboo bongs are natural and traditional; etc.
However, bongs also have some drawbacks and risks that users should be aware of. Some of these are:
- Bongs are not safer than other methods of smoking herb or tobacco. Although they filter out some of the harmful substances in smoke, they do not eliminate them completely. Smoking any kind of material can damage lung tissues and cause scarring and inflammation. Smoking also exposes users to carcinogens, which can increase the risk of cancer.
- Bongs can be addictive and harmful to mental health. Smoking herb or tobacco can cause dependence, tolerance, withdrawal, and other psychological effects. Smoking can also impair memory, cognition, mood, and motivation. Smoking can also trigger or worsen mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, psychosis, etc.
- Bongs can be unsanitary and unhealthy. Bongs need to be cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria, mold, and residue in the water and the device. Dirty bongs can cause infections, illnesses, and bad odors. Bongs should also not be shared with other people, as this can spread germs and diseases.
- Bongs can be illegal and risky. Smoking herb or tobacco is not legal in all places and situations. Users should check the laws and regulations of their location before using bongs. Users should also be careful about where and how they use bongs, as they can attract unwanted attention from authorities or other people. Bongs can also be dangerous if they break or malfunction, causing injuries or fires.
Bongs are devices that are used to smoke herb or tobacco by filtering and cooling the smoke through water. Bongs have a long and diverse history across different cultures and regions. Bongs have a simple design and function that can be modified with different accessories and materials. Bongs have some benefits over other methods of smoking herb or tobacco, such as providing a smoother and bigger hit. However, bongs also have some risks and drawbacks, such as being harmful to physical and mental health, being unsanitary and unhealthy, and being illegal and risky. Users should weigh the pros and cons of bongs before using them.