How Do Bongs Work? How to Use Bongs & Other Cannabis Glass

Where's Weed

Published on 3/11/22

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When it comes to popular ways to consume cannabis, a bong is always near the very top of the list. For some stoners, smoking a bong is the far and away the best way to get high. With an easy-to-pack bowl and a cool, smooth hit, it's no wonder why! But for many novice stoners, using a bong, bubbler, pipe, or any other form of cannabis smoking glass can be intimidating and seem overly complicated. The reality, however, is far from the truth! 

That's where we here at Where's Weed come in! This article will break down in detail exactly what is a bong, what a bong is used for, and how to use one, answer the question of how bongs work in detail, and how bong smoking compares to other methods in the bong vs. blunt battle. Let's get into it! 

What is a Bong?

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For those cannabis novices out there, we think it's important to give you a basic rundown of what exactly a bong is. While the modern-day, high-quality bong is likely made of top-notch glass, civilization has used water pipes to consume cannabis for thousands of years. In fact, the word "bong" actually comes from the Thai word "baung," which was a bamboo tube used to smoke. 

Today, you can find bongs in all shapes and sizes online, at your local head shop, or even with your local artist specializing in pottery. They're a versatile, relatively simple to use, and convenient way of consuming cannabis with no need to roll joints, blunts, or any other type of rolling paper. Simply put, the answer to what is a bong used for is smoking! 

How Does a Bong Work? 

So now that you know exactly what a bong is, let's go more in-depth about how one works. After all, it's entirely possible that you might have used a bong before without ever stopping to wonder how it actually works. Well, simply put, a bong works as a handy cooling and filtration method for smoking cannabis. 

Pretty much every single bong in existence has three basic components: a bowl attached to a downstem, a chamber for water or some other type of liquid, and a mouthpiece to inhale through. 

You'll pack the dried and preferably ground up cannabis flower of your choice into the bowl attached to the downstem. You'll want to make sure that the bowl is packed loosely enough for airflow but tight enough to get a good amount of cannabis per bowl. Once the bowl is packed, it will be ready to light. 

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The downstem is inserted into the chamber, which will hold a liquid like water. As the cannabis in the bowl is lit, the smoke will travel through the downstem, into the chamber holding the water, and then stay until inhaled via the mouthpiece. The water in that chamber, often referred to as "bong water" for the experienced stoner, filters and cools the smoke down on the inhale, so it's less harsh on the lungs. While some stoners will argue for some other bong water uses, the main ones to keep in mind here are for use while smoking. 

Once that smoke filters through the water and is stored in the chamber, the last step of the smoking process is ready. You'll put your mouth into the bong's mouthpiece, creating as airtight of a seal as you possibly can while inhaling. That inhale will pull the smoke from the main chamber up into your lungs, which will deliver the activated cannabinoids into your system! 

While every bong is slightly different in its look and feel, that's the way that pretty much every bong works! So if you're ever in the middle of a smoke session and wonder, "what does a bong do, man?" now you'll know! 

Bongs vs. Other Methods of Smoking

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So now that you know what a bong is, how it works, and how to use one, one question remains: What makes them so special compared to other smoking methods? Why do so many opt for bongs over other methods when it comes to smoking cannabis? Well, the answer lies in the bong water we mentioned before!

So unlike joints, blunts, or any other form of smoking, bongs have a built-in filtration and cooling factor. The smoke from joints and blunts tends to be hotter and harsher than the smoke that comes from a bong. That's because the water takes that harsh edge off of the smoke by filtering and cooling it off a bit, something that doesn't happen aside from the filters in a blunt or joint. 

While the claims that a bong does any serious filtering of the harmful stuff you'll find in cannabis smoke are overinflated, it does a good job of cooling the temperature. That temperature drop is helpful on the lungs, leading to less stress on the throat and lungs on inhale.  

While it's probably not accurate to call smoking from a bong "safer," it does have some clear and obvious upsides compared to the average joint or blunt. 

The Bottom Line 

At the end of the day, using a bong can be a great way to simply and easily smoke cannabis without the need to learn how to roll joints and blunts. All you need to do is be able to pack a bowl and have access to a little bit of water. As long as you have a bong, a lighter, and some cannabis, you'll be able to have a great time!  

Did you find this information helpful? Let us know how your experience goes below!