How Do Bongs Work? Benefits, Side Effects & More About Bongs..


You may have already heard of bongs. You may have seen it in use and gotten curious. They sure look cool but is it worth the money? There is a lot of information on bongs on and off the internet. However, most of it is misinformation about how the tool works. However, it is a guarantee that a bong lifts your smoking experience by far. There are many types of bongs in the market; however, they use the same basic principle to work. The good news is that you can even make your bong! 

What Is a Bong?

In your area, you might call it the bubbler, billy, or binger, but the bong elevates your smoking experience. Bongs are simply water pipes that cool the marijuana smoke, so the smoker gets a smoother hit that is not harsh to the throat. Some proponents of the bong say that it significantly elevates your smoking experience. However, critics say the bong causes lung damage like other smoking methods. Bongs are water pipes that filter and cool the smoke fumes from combusted cannabis. 

Humankind has many designs originating from different parts of the world. Bong is a Thai word for “baung,” which refers to a bamboo tube the natives used to smoke weed.  Africa also used bongs for centuries. Modern bongs are more complex and use more than just a bamboo tube. However, the basic idea applied to make bongs in the olden days is still useful today. Like every other commodity, people have modernized the bong to become more effective. 

So what is a bong? It is a water pipe used to smoke various substances such as tobacco and cannabis. People also use it to smoke other herbal substances. While bongs for commercial use are for tobacco use only, the bong is mostly useful for smoking marijuana, and the creators of the bong had that idea in mind. However, you can use the bong to smoke a variety of herbs. It is a simple apparatus that contains a bowl for holding and burning cannabis buds. It also has parts where the cannabis smoke travels downstream and mixes with fresh air, which the smoker inhales.   

Bongs can be homemade or custom-made and come in various shapes, modifications, and sizes. Bongs came in various types, such as gravity chambers or neck pinches. There are bongs for personal use and commercial uses with more aesthetics. However, every bong has two major parts, the bowl and the downstem. Many commercial manufacturers make bongs out of glass; however, these instruments can use any material that ensures airtight and watertight and has a bowl, stem, and carb apparatus. Other materials used to make commercial bongs include wood, bamboo, acrylic, soft glass, silicone, borosilicate, and plastic. 

The bong has established its place in modern cannabis culture, and it has become a must-have for many smokers across the world. The apparatus is so dear to its users that some even give them names. Some masterpieces have precious stones such as rubies and gold, making them even pricier. Bongs have been around for centuries, and they are going nowhere. The bong is the way to go if you are a long-term marijuana smoker and need a better high.

A Brief History of Bongs

We can trace the first evidence of bongs back to central Asia and Africa. There is also some evidence in Russia that dates back 2400 years ago. Interestingly, in ancient Russia, bongs were made for royalty; tribal chiefs used golden bongs to smoke. Chinese royalty were found buried with their bongs. Ancient bongs were made out of animal horns, ducts, and bottles. 

Central Asia first came up with the word bong. The people there used bongs made out of bamboo trees. The Chinese people introduced the use of water in bongs, and the practice spread throughout Asia. 

Bongs grew in popularity after tobacco became a major cash crop in America. Glass was also a major commodity in the 18th century, and that’s when bongs became popular. In the late 90s, there were many retailers of the bong. 

However, their happiness didn’t last long because America started making great efforts to ban bongs in 2003. Bong retailers were closed down. Additionally, internet sellers did not escape the wrath as they were also shut down. 

The good news is that the ban was lifted, and bongs are legal for use. Sellers seem to be outdoing each other regarding innovation and design. Reviews show that many smokers lean more towards silicone bongs because they are more durable, foldable, and can’t break. If you like dabs, waxes, and oils, there are special bongs just for that purpose. It’s also important to learn how these bongs are used

Bong Parts   

Modern bong manufacturers are more creative, so modern bong may be more complex than you think. Long are the days when bongs were just simple water pipes. There are certain parts that many commercial bongs must have to elevate your smoking experience. Bongs are ideal for smoking weed because they have one or more chambers to filter and cool smoke. 

Do not confuse bowls with bongs because they are entirely different in their operation. A bowl is much smaller, and with a bowl, you palace the weed on top and burn it with a carb hole usually placed somewhere on the side of the bowl. You place your finger on the carb to light the bowl and inhale the smoke to use the bowl.

Just like bongs, bowls have become more modernized and deliver smooth hits. Additionally, bowls are an all-in-one apparatus as opposed to a bong. As a result, a bong has several parts you should know. Let us go over the anatomy of a bong to give a better understanding of the tool and the various components that make it function. 

Bowl Piece

Using a bong starts with a bowl piece, where you place the weed or substance to smoke. The bowl is used to place the crushed weed so that you can burn and inhale it. You begin the process by crushing the weed using a grinder or any other tool to ensure it easily burns. Bowls come in different sizes and have holes at the bottom to allow the smoke to get down to the water for filtering. A bigger bowl holds more substance and enables you to take bigger hits at once. Therefore, if you are a seasoned cannabis smoker, you might consider getting bigger bowls. 

Modern bowls come with built-in glass screens rather than metal screens that get scales and need replacing. The screens prevent weed and other materials from getting through the hole into the water. You have many choices depending on the bowl screen’s style and the bowl’s size. A smaller hole screen effectively ensures that no materials get past the bowl. 

Ash Catcher

The ash catcher filters the ash that results from weed burning. It is typically a glass attachment that prevents ash from the bowl from getting into the bong or your lungs. It is built below the bowl. 

However, modern bongs have more uses for the ash catcher. For instance, the ash catchers have percolators to aid in further filtering and cooling the cannabis smoke. In addition, the component also filters tar and gunk that results from regular cannabis consumption. 

An ash catcher is regularly washed to maintain the cannabis flavors and bong function. Cleaning the ash catcher eliminates the need to clean your bong regularly. 


The joint is the part that supports the down stem. While some bongs allow you to remove the down stem, others come with a fixed stem. In cases of a fixed stem, the bowl is connected directly to the joint of the bong. 

Joints come in three sizes; 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm. It is crucial to know that bongs, bowl pieces, nails, adapters, and ash catchers all have gender. A male joint is typically one in that you have to fit tapers at the end and put accessories over it. The nails, bowl pieces, nails, and other adapters must be female for a male joint. Male joints are ideal for legal concentrates and oils. 

A female joint has a slightly wider mouth, and accessories are inserted into it and not over it like a male joint. For a female joint, its accessories have to be male. Female joints are ideal for legal herbs and tobacco smoking. 

Down Stem

The downstem is the glass pipe between the bowl and the chamber, which plays an important role. In detachable bongs, there is a hole measuring 10, 14, or 18 mm where the downstem is attached. Manufacturers have different designs for down stems as well as sizes.

Simple down stems can form a flat straw that causes bubbling in the water chamber. Sophisticated down stems are further enhanced to cool the hot smoke and protect your lungs. 

Ensure that you fully connect your down steam to the bong. You can use a plastic clip to keep it in place while you clean the bowl. You should regularly clean the bowl to ensure that the down stem does not get attached to the bowl and thus gets disconnected. A glass down stem can easily break when it is not well fixed. 

However, some simpler bongs come with the bowl and down stem attached; therefore, you can clean them together. A bowl that is attached to the down stem is called a slide. 


A percolator plays an important role in filtering the smoke after it bubbles through the water at the end of the down stem. Percolators come in different styles; you should go through several of them to get your taste. 

Percolators need to be cleaned. If you don’t clean your bong regularly, you should go for one wider hole. Tight holes get clogged up fast and can negatively change your smoking experience. 

Ice Pinch/ splash Guard

As the name suggests, the ice pinch or splash guard prevents bong bubbles from reaching your mouth. Manufacturers add this feature to bongs that have heavy filters. There are different styles for this component as well. 


The mouthpiece is where you place your mouth when taking a hit from your bong. It is usually the last stop of the bong. In the past, bongs had horizontal mouthpieces, so you would have to arch your back to take a hit. However, modern design offers convenience to the smoker, with some having angled mouthpieces. 

You should regularly clean the mouthpiece, especially if you share it with friends. 

Knowing all the components of a bong is important so that you’re sure of what you are looking for the next time you go shopping. Therefore, you should be able to pick the right component for your taste. For instance, if your throat is easily irritated, you can buy an ash catcher with a percolator to smoothen your smoking experience. Additionally, if your weed falls into the bong before it’s all burned, you can get an ash catcher or maybe a bowl with a tiny hole screen and a smaller opening.  

People are purchasing the best bongs from the market nowadays.

How Does a Bong Work?

A bong works similarly to a hookah, except hookers are much smaller and can easily carry around. A bong is airtight and watertight, ensuring the smoke passes through it and comes out through the mouthpiece. 

To make a bong work, you need to burn the weed (or any other material) on the bowl as you inhale. The smoke passes through the stem, bubbles through the water, goes through the percolator for cooling, and gets out through the mouthpiece. 

The Science Behind the Bong

A bong follows simple physics principles. When you burn the material on the bowl, it combusts. The burnt material then turns into smoke and goes into the down stem. The bong has various components to ensure it filters certain gas particles, and only certain elements of the smoke get to the mouthpiece. 

The water plays an important role in getting rid of tar and ash. However, the water does not take up important elements of the gas that the smoker is interested in. In addition, the water cools the hot smoke before reaching the mouth.

Bongs have become very popular in recent times. However, there is a lot of misinformation about bongs, so we need to clarify a few things. 

Do Bongs Provide a Better High Than Joints?

Technically, it is a yes; bongs do provide better highs than joints. Bongs offer more intoxicating highs because they allow the user to take larger hits. Bong users also say that they make the user high in a short time. You can take strong bong hits and experience the high right after. A bong enables you to take larger hits because the bong filters make the smoke smooth. Additionally, the bigger the bong, the bigger the hits and, therefore, the higher the highs!

There is not much scientific evidence to back these ideas. Sadly, scientists have slacked when it comes to research on bongs. However, a study conducted in 1996 wanted to determine whether different smoking methods make a difference. The results showed that joints provide more THC, which makes the user high compared to a water pipe. This study goes against our first suggestions. Perhaps you can experiment on your own and give us your feedback!

However, we can confidently tell that bongs offer smoother hits than other smoking methods. The water cools down the smoke making it more gentle on your throat and lungs. 

Are Bongs Better for My Lungs Than Joints?

Do not confuse smooth hits for healthier hits; the two are entirely different. Bongs might reduce the irritation from the hits; however, you still put burnt materials into your body. 

Any smoking poses a risk to your lungs regardless of whether it is tobacco, marihuana, or anything else. Smoking produces carcinogens that may result in cancer. Tobacco is more dangerous than smoking weed; however, long-term use of both substances harms your health. 

Additionally, bongs made out of plastic are very harmful to your health. Plastic exposure to heat produces harmful chemicals that can cause health problems in the long term. People prefer glass bongs because they do not get burnt. 

Other than introducing smoke into your lungs, bongs can also introduce germs. Bongs are dirty, and there is a connection between lung infection and long-term bong use. A man who had used bongs for a long term was diagnosed with necrotizing pneumonia, a disease that causes the death of lung tissue. 

If I Hold in the Smoke, Will I Get a Better High?

It is a common myth among smokers that holding in your bong hits for longer gets you higher. Many marijuana smokers can confirm that you get more intoxicated when you hold your breath. However, we are here to tell you to avoid that. The remaining smoke remains in your respiratory system. Holding your breath after a hit makes you dizzy, which you might confuse for buzz. The smoke limits the amount of oxygen in your lungs and increases your heartbeat, making you feel dizzy. Smoking should be natural; take a breath and let it out just as normal. Unfortunately, holding the smoke for too long leaves your lungs exposed for longer, causing more damage. 

Additionally, there are rumors that the bong water gets you high. However, it is all a lie because cannabinoids are not water soluble. THC is not very soluble in water; therefore, drinking the water will not get any high. Besides, you risk getting a nasty stomach upset over drinking dirty water. Additionally, it is not advisable to use any other liquid other than water in a bong. However, it is still practicable to do so. 

How Many Hits Does It Take To Get High With a Bong

People have different tolerance levels depending on how much substance they smoke. The good news is that a bong delivers the high almost immediately; therefore, you can see if you need more hits as you go. It does not matter if you have a high or low tolerance; the trick is knowing how much your body can handle per go. No matter how high your tolerance, a bong can get you almost instantly. 

You can try taking one hit and then waiting for ten minutes before proceeding. If you have a high tolerance, you can take a huge rip and cool down for a bit. 

What Materials Are the Best for Making Bongs?

Glass is the material that has been most widespread for making bongs over the centuries. Glass bongs are ideal for people who love artistry. However, plastic and silicone would do best for people looking for a bong that will last longer. When looking for a bong, we consider the intended use rather than the quality of the material used. 

Glass bongs are popular mainly because they maintain the purity of marijuana smoke and taste. A glass bong also shows when it needs cleaning and the specific parts needing cleaning. Glass bongs are the most pricey of all materials. They also easily break, so if you have clumsy friends, you might consider other options. 

If you are on a budget, you can consider getting a bamboo or wood bong. Wood bongs are very strong and won’t cost you a fortune—additionally, these last a very long time with the right care. On the downside, wood bongs will give you a hard time cleaning. 

You can also consider getting plastic bongs if you are on a budget. For their price, they last a very long time. They are light and easily shareable in a smoke circle. 

Silicone bongs are becoming more popular mostly because of their durability. Additionally, they are very easy to clean. However, silicone bongs deliver a plastic taste when you take hits, which annoys most users. 

You can also go with ceramic bongs, which are very cheap. You can easily get another if the current one breaks. However, ceramic bongs can break just like glass bongs. Although it is noteworthy that designers make many creative designs with ceramics, making these bongs ideal for aesthetics. 

How Do You Clean Bongs?

Cleaning your bong is crucial for maintaining a clear and pure flavor as you smoke. If you don’t clean your bong often, ash from the bowl might get into the water. Also, resin and bacteria can bud up in the tube and mouthpiece. 

The most straightforward method of cleaning bongs is using salt and alcohol. You can get specially formulated cleaners for cannabis tools from your local retailers. The first step of cleaning your bong is removing the bowl and the downstem if it is detachable. Add alcohol to the bong and shake it. The alcohol gets rid of any resin in the bong. If there is still resin, you can add some salt and try again. If the dirt does not come off, consider soaking the bong for 24 hours and then rinsing it with warm water. 

After cleaning it, set the bong chamber where the sun can get to it to let the alcohol work off any leftover residue. You can use cotton swabs or pipe cleaners for bongs that have non-reachable areas. Ensure you thoroughly clean every component of the bong. 

If your bong is dirty, try to soak it beforehand with warm water. You can add a little dish soap to help with the process. However, be careful with dish soap, as too much might leave a soapy aftertaste for the first few sessions.

Maintaining your bong does not require much work. First, ensure you change the water after smoking cannabis. Additionally, fill up the chamber with filtered water to avoid water spots. Also, ensure regularly emptying the ash to avoid smoking it when taking a hit. The ash can also get into the bong to form resin. Lately, if you regularly use your bong, make a habit of regularly cleaning it.   

Conclusion: How Does It Feel Smoking From A Bong?

A bong is a must-have for any marijuana smoker. They significantly elevate your smoking process so that you can enjoy it without irritating your throat or burning your lips. With a bong, you get cooler smoke and filtered smoke. However, if you smoke cannabis or tobacco, a bong does not eliminate the risk that smoking poses to your lungs. 

A bong comes with many parts that all need regular maintenance. You should clean your bong after use to ensure that you don’t introduce germs into your body and keep the smoke pure. 

There is a wide product offering when it comes to bongs in the market. If you are on a budget, you can get the wood, plastic, or ceramic bong. Alternatively, if you are looking for durability, silicone bongs will do the trick. If you want a beautiful bong, go for ceramic or glass bongs. Therefore, if you are looking for a better smoking experience, there are various choices that you can choose from.

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