THE DO’S AND DON’T FOR FIRST-TIME BONG SMOKERS
The first time I smoked from a bong, I made two critical errors. First, I was completely naive to the mechanics and how a bong functioned, which made my first attempt at getting any smoke into my body completely unsuccessful. Second, after my first error was pointed out, I was instructed to “inhale deeply”, a piece of advice that resulted in a mouthful of smoke and bongwater. I was instantly stoned and very repulsed. My goal for this blog is to be your bong smoking guide so you can avoid any mistakes of my past and never ever get a gulp of the weedy brown liquid.
Today, I’ve grown to love bongs, they are in fact my favorite way to consume cannabis. Thanks to the addition of water which eliminates the dry heat you’d get from a joint or a pipe, bongs provide a truly smoother smoking experience and a cloud of rich and milky smoke.
LET ME SEE THAT BONG BO-ONG, BONG, BONG: ANATOMY 101
First, let me explain the anatomy of a bong. Not all bongs are created the same, but many have the following traits:
Bowl: like other paraphernalia you may be more familiar with, a bowl of a bong is where you want to put your herb
Down Stem: This is typically a long shaft that goes into the chamber of the bong. It has diffusion slits (which look like gills in my opinion), at the base which is what creates that classic bubbling sound when you smoke.
Chamber: this is the belly or body of the bong. This is where the smoke will gather when in use.
Carburetor: be aware, not all bongs have carburetors.
- If it does NOT have a carburetor = means that you’ll want to lift the bowl away from the bong when you’re ready to clear the smoke and inhale.
- If it does have a carburetor = means that the bowl of the bong might not detach, and you’ll use the carburetor to clear the smoke from the bong.
Uptake: is like the neck of the bong. The longer the uptake of the bong, likely the higher you’ll get. I’ll explain why below.
Mouthpiece: you’ll want the mouthpiece to fit snugly around the outside of your mouth to create a nice and tight seal. What you don’t want to do is put your mouth around the outside of the mouthpiece. That would be less effective and kinda silly looking.
STEP 1: MEET YOUR BONG
It’s important to give your bong a once-over before jumping in to know how to hold it and how to smoke it. Here’s what to look for:
Does it have water? Trust me, you do not want to smoke out of a waterless bong. Water is what makes a bong hit so smooth and alluring. It cools down the smoke and allows you to get more robust smoke clouds.
How long is the uptake? As I mentioned above, the longer the neck can correlate the higher you’ll get. That’s because you’ll need to take a deeper breath to move the smoke into your lungs. The longer the neck, the deeper the breath. So when you meet a 3-foot bong, chances are high that that hit will go straight to your oxygen-deprived head and the amount of smoke consumed is greater than a pipe for example.
Does it have a carburetor hole? As I mentioned above, the carb hole means that the bong does not have a removable bowl. In order to move the smoke quickly into your body, oxygen is needed to push the smoke out of the bong. Either the carburetor or removable bowl is what supplies the oxygen for this moment. You’ll want to know which one you’re using before you light the bowl.
Is there an ice catcher? An ice catcher typically looks like indents in the uptake of the bong. They are great for cooling down the smoke and creating in my opinion, a smoother and more desirable bong smoking experience. If you see one, don’t be shy in asking for an ice cube or popping one in yourself!
STEP 2: THE IGNITE AND INHALE STEP
After your bowl is loaded, and you’re familiar with the type of bong it is (carb or no carb), you’re ready to ignite and inhale. If you are smoking from a bong with a carb, be sure it’s covered with your thumb during this step. With a lighter or hemp wick, light your bowl and begin to slowly inhale. Ideally, you’ll be able to see the smoke begin to build within the bong. Just know that whatever smoke you see in the bong will be entering your lungs. If you’re smoking from a bong that you can’t see the smoke, I like to use a counting system to measure my inhales. Start with 3 seconds of inhaling, and go from there!
*PRO TIP: I recommend not scorching the whole bowl when you hold the flame over it. Putting a flame over the whole bowl will burn just the top layer of green. Holding the flame in one spot allows the heat to penetrate down, and burn the green weed that lays below the surface level. Also, it’s not uncommon to share a bong with others, and this allows more in your circle to have some “fresh greens”.
STEP 3: INHALE AND ENJOY
When you’re ready to inhale the smoke you’ve accumulated, either remove the bowl from the stem, or finger from the carb and inhale. As I learned in college, to avoid a mouthful of bongwater, one must inhale slowly…it’s not a straw. Slow and steady is the key here. Bong smoke can get a bit stale the longer it sits in the bong, so the goal is to clear the bong with one inhale, but it’s ok if it takes more than one. Don’t feel peer pressured to inhale all the smoke at once. You want to have an enjoyable high. If it’s too much for one inhale at once, just cover the mouthpiece with the palm of your hand or anything that covers the surface while you catch your breath. Just know that the longer the smoke stays in the bong, it can get a bit sour tasting and an ever so slightly harsher experience.
*BONG ETIQUETTE: If you are sharing a bong with others, it’s a courtesy to clear the bong of all your smoke before passing it to them. You make it, you smoke it kind of vibe.
SAVOR THE SMOKE
Exhale, and enjoy the dense and dramatic plumes of smoke as they cascade around you. I love smoking from a bong for many reasons, and enjoying the majestic dances of thick and creamy smoke as it swirls and spirals around me is at the top of my list. With a bong, you’re able to get a significant amount of smoke thanks to the percolation (bubbling) process. Just be warned that with a smoother throat experience, you might end up consuming a bigger hit than you would with the same amount of weed as a traditional pipe or joint.
And that’s all folx! If you’ve followed those steps, then you’ve successfully smoked from a bong. I’ve linked a few of my favorites below.