A bong is a device that is used to smoke herbs 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, types, benefits, risks, and myths of bongs.
The history of bongs
The word bong is derived from the Thai word “baung” (บ้อง), which means a bamboo tube or cylinder used for smoking. Bamboo bongs were used by the Hmong people in Laos and Thailand, as well as in Africa, for centuries.
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 cannabis and opium. Bongs were also invented independently in India, China, and Persia, where they were used to smoke tobacco and other substances.
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, and art, such as in the comedy film Up in Smoke (1978) and the song “Don’t Bogart That Joint” by Little Feat (1971). Today, bongs are widely available in head shops, online stores, and even some dispensaries.
The types of bongs
Bongs can be classified by their shape, size, material, and features. Some of the most common types of bongs are:
- Straight tube bongs: These are simple bongs that consist of a straight tube with a base, a bowl, a downstem, and a mouthpiece. The downstem is a tube that connects the bowl to the water chamber. The smoke travels from the bowl through the downstem and bubbles up through the water before reaching the mouthpiece.
- Beaker bongs: These are similar to straight tube bongs, but they have a wider base that resembles a beaker. The wider base provides more stability and water capacity.
- Bubbler bongs: These are smaller and more portable versions of bongs that usually have a built-in bowl and downstem. They are often shaped like pipes or other objects.
- Percolator bongs: These are bongs that have one or more additional chambers or devices that further filter and cool the smoke. Percolators can be located inside or outside the main chamber of the bong. They can have different designs, such as tree, showerhead, honeycomb, or inline percolators.
- Gravity bongs: These are homemade bongs that use gravity to create suction and force the smoke into a container. Gravity bongs can be made with plastic bottles, buckets, or other materials.
The benefits of bongs
Bongs are popular among herb or tobacco smokers for several reasons. Some of the benefits of bongs are:
- They provide a smoother hit: Bongs cool down the smoke by passing it through water, which reduces the harshness and irritation on the throat and lungs. Some people also find that bongs enhance the flavor and aroma of their herbs or tobacco.
- They filter out some toxins: Bongs can remove some of the tar, ash, and other harmful substances from the smoke by trapping them in the water. This may reduce some of the health risks associated with smoking.
- They conserve your herbs or tobacco: Bongs can deliver a more potent hit than joints or pipes because they allow you to inhale more smoke at once. This means you can use less material to achieve the same effect.
- They offer variety and customization: Bongs come in many different styles and colors that can suit your personal preference and mood. You can also customize your bong by adding accessories like ice catchers, ash catchers, diffusers, or splash guards.
The risks of bongs
Despite their benefits, bongs are not without drawbacks. Some of the risks of bongs are:
- They are still harmful to your lungs: Bongs do not eliminate all the toxins and carcinogens from the smoke, and they can still cause lung damage and respiratory problems. Smoking through a bong can also make you inhale more deeply and hold your breath longer, which can increase your exposure to tar and other harmful substances.
- They can be easy to overdo it: Bongs can produce more intense effects than other smoking methods, which can lead to unpleasant or dangerous consequences. You may experience coughing, nausea, dizziness, paranoia, anxiety, or even a green out (a temporary loss of consciousness) if you smoke too much or too fast.
- They can be hard to clean and maintain: Bongs can get dirty and clogged with resin and bacteria over time, which can affect their performance and hygiene. You need to regularly clean your bong with alcohol, vinegar, or other solutions to keep it in good condition.
- They can be illegal or unsafe in some places: Bongs are not legal everywhere, and they may attract unwanted attention from law enforcement or other people. You also need to be careful about where you buy your bong, as some products may contain harmful chemicals like BPA or phthalates that can leach into the smoke.
The myths of bongs
Bongs are surrounded by many myths and misconceptions that are not based on scientific evidence. Some of the myths of bongs are:
- Bongs are safer than other smoking methods: This is false. Bongs do not significantly reduce the health risks of smoking, and they may even increase them in some cases. There is no safe way to smoke herbs or tobacco.
- Bongs get you higher than other smoking methods: This is partly true. Bongs can produce stronger effects than joints or pipes because they allow you to inhale more smoke at once. However, this does not mean that bongs increase the potency of your herbs or tobacco. The amount and quality of your material are the main factors that determine how high you get.
- Bongs are only for smoking cannabis: This is false. Bongs can be used to smoke any type of herb or tobacco that is suitable for combustion. However, some herbs or tobacco may have different effects or tastes when smoked through a bong.
- Bongs are hard to use: This is false. Bongs are easy to use once you learn the basics. All you need to do is fill the base with water, pack the bowl with your material, light it up, and inhale through the mouthpiece. You may need to cover or uncover a hole called a carburetor or carb to control the airflow.
Bongs are devices that are used to smoke herbs or tobacco by filtering and cooling the smoke through water. They have a long history and a wide variety of types, benefits, risks, and myths. Bongs can provide a smoother and more enjoyable smoking experience, but they are not safer or healthier than other smoking methods. If you decide to use a bong, make sure you do it responsibly and legally.
- Bong – Wikipedia
- How Does a Bong Work? Benefits, Risks, and Myths – Healthline
- Gold bongs found in ancient Scythian tombs – The Guardian
- What Is a Bong? Weed Bong Definition | Weedmaps
- What Is a Bong? | Leafly