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Bong Science - How They Work And Why You Should Consider Picking One Up

03/07/21

The bong is the quintessential smoking accessory for cannabis enthusiasts.  And regardless of what kind of smoker you are, you have, at some point, probably come into contact with one.

But what actually goes on in that bong of yours?  And what is it about them that makes them unique and different from a joint or a dry pipe?

For those of you who have ever been curious, let’s break it down - the following is a quick and dirty lesson on the science of the bong (and why you should consider picking one up).

The Anatomy Of A Bong

In order to understand the ins and outs of how a bong works, it’s important to understand the different components that make it up.

Here’s your basic Anatomy 101 lesson:

Mouthpiece: Pretty self-explanatory - this is the part of the bong that you actually inhale and take a hit from.

Bowl: This is the part of your bong where the cannabis flower is held and lit.  These can either come firmly attached to the unit, or as a removable glass bowl that can be swapped in and out.

Carb: Also known as the carburetor, this basically allows for the emptying of smoke as the user takes a hit, either in the form of a small hole or as a removable bowl which performs the function of a carb.

Downstem: This is the part that connects and shuttles smoke from the bowl to the chamber.

Chamber & Base: The bottom portion of the bong - the chamber holds the water and the base is the end point that holds the whole unit upright.

Tube:  The tube is the portion of the bong that connects the mouthpiece to the base, and comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs.

Percolator: While not strictly speaking required, a bong with a percolator is now commonplace in the cannabis world.  It refers to the attachment which helps diffuse the smoke and cool it down, resulting in better filtration and smoother hits.

How Do Bongs Work?

At it’s very core, a bong is simply a pipe with the additional element of water (hence why it’s commonly called a “water pipe”).   The presence of water helps to both cool and filter the smoke. 

If you’ve never smoked from a bong before, here’s a real basic primer on how it works - the cannabis is packed into the bowl and then lit.  As it’s being lit, the user slowly inhales from the mouthpiece.  This creates a vacuum, which moves the water and pulls smoke from the bowl into the bong.

When the users is ready to take a hit, they either pull their finger off the carburetor or pull the bowl.  This sudden rush of air flushes the smoke up through the tube and into the lungs.

Why Should You Smoke From A Bong?

While it ultimately comes down to personal preference, bongs come with a few major advantages over a lot of the other options out there.

The first (and probably most cited) reason you should go with a bong is smoother hits.  Remember, the water is there to help cool the smoke.  This results is a much smoother experience than burning dry cannabis. 

The fact that the smoke is filtered and cooled also means that you have the option of taking bigger hits as well (something that’s quite difficult with a dry pipe).

Last but not least, bongs are beautiful.  Just from an aesthetic perspective, it’s easy to see why so many smokers have them - there’s nothing quite like breaking out a gorgeous glass piece at a smoke sesh.

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