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A water pipe typically used to smoke cannabis. The bowl is the part of the bong where cannabis buds are contained and heated. The smoke filters through water by traveling through the downstem, a cylinder glass piece with holes that connects the bowl to the bong. The smoke travels through the neck and up to the mouthpiece where users inhale.
Whether manufactured or homemade, the device as we know it stays essentially true to this definition of a bong. It's central identifying shape — the cylindrical neck — mirrors the robust cylinder of a bamboo stalk. The bong's neck, vessel, or tube connects to the base where the water resides. Bongs are frequently custom-made or homemade, and come in a vast amount of shapes, sizes, and modifications, such as neck pinches or gravity chambers.
Some bongs are just a single straight tube that connects to the mouthpiece. Others have a wide base usually beaker-shaped or spherical that connects to the tube. The only other essential parts of a bong are the bowl and downstem. Though most professionally crafted bongs are glass, homemade bongs can be constructed from any vessel that is both airtight and watertight by adding a stem, bowl and carb apparatus. A major reason for the bong's popularity is that it's easy to use.
The best bongs offer the simplicity and immediacy of a dry flower pipe while facilitating a smoother hit by eliminating harsh dry smoke through water filtration. Bongs offer particularly cool hits when ice is added to the water. It's generally easier to learn how to use a bong than it is some other popular smoking devices. Bongs require less prep work than a t and typically offer a stronger hit than a dry flower vaporizer. Small bowls still provide a fresh hit, and, unlike smoking a t, don't start to taste bad from tar buildup.
Studies on tobacco and cannabis have shown that water pipes can filter out carcinogens and other toxicants produced by burning cannabisespecially if they are equipped with a diffuser or percolator. Passing either marijuana or tobacco smoke through water has been shown to remove the presence of cytotoxins acrolein and acetaldehyde.
These cytotoxins are present in both marijuana and tobacco, and are harmful to major lung defense cells. A bong's central purpose is to cool and filter smoke through water filtration. While it in a smoother smoke, however, it can also filter out some THC and other psychoactive compounds. In fact, water pipes filter out more cannabinoids than tar.
And filtering out cannabinoids means the user has to smoke more to get the desired effect. Many of the best bongs also require higher upfront cost than a blunt or t. When you know how to use it, a well-made, well-maintained bong can last a lifetime, but it may also put you back a pretty penny upon initial purchase.
And while bongs may require less prep work than a t, bongs do require a lot more maintenance and upkeep. If you don't keep changing the water, a bong can become increasingly difficult to clean. New bong users should also be aware: Bong water smells foul. The scent of bong water isn't necessarily a disadvantage that affects its function, but the odor is generally unpalatable to cannabis users. The exact origin and evolution of the bong remains somewhat cloudy. Because cannabis originated in central Asia, archaeologists have assumed that the bong shares this origin point, and descended from the hookah.
However, archaeological findings over the course of several decades present the greater likelihood that the bong originated in Africa. Archaeologist J. Dombrowski excavated the earliest known water pipes in Ethiopia indating them between and BCE. InArthur Dunhill noted in a study on water pipes of Africa that the absence of smoking apparatus in Europe is a clear indicator of its origin. According to Dunhill, the San people of Southern Africa created a tube pipe with a bowl on top and round water chamber at the bottom, connected by a curved tube.
Dunhill's theory that this was the birth of the water bong is in relative competition with Dombrowski's findings, but both still provide further evidence of the bong's African origins. African pipes were long thought to be used exclusively for tobacco smoking, which also contributed to the dominant Asia origin story. But traces of cannabis residue reveal that Dombrowski's early African water bongs were definitely used to smoke cannabis.
Several origin theories for the bong, as well as how it spread throughout the world, remain in competition, so a settled place and time for the first bong continues to be cloudy. However, the most current and plausible research suggests that these early African water bongs are the world's first.
Bongs may not have originated in Central Asia, but they certainly gained popularity in 16th century China during the late Ming dynasty. Popular theory suggests that these water pipes spread throughout Europe, the Middle East, and east Asia along the Silk Road.
As cannabis gained popularity across the globe, so did water bongs and other smoking accessories. Time shaped the evolution of the bong as manufacturers began experimenting with different materials, shapes, and sizes. The glass industry flourished in the United States during the 19th century, which eventually gave way to the 20th century bong boom in the s and s. Bob Snodgrass, called the godfather of the bong renaissance, deed glass bongs across the United States while traveling on tour with the Grateful Dead.
Snodgrass eventually settled in Eugene, Oregon, and began teaching others the craft of homemade bong-making. From there, his students multiplied, at the same time head shops were popping up in every major metropolitan area of the U. Today, the best bongs serve as more than a smoking device. In the tradition of Snodgrass, glass blowers have created an art surrounding the craft of bong-making.
Thanks to the craftiness of the cannabis community, water bongs are now a highly functional, interactive art piece. Unless considered smoking devices meant for legal substances like tobacco and not exclusively for smoking federally illegal substances such as cannabis, a bong is considered illegal drug paraphernalia under the Controlled Substances Act. Operation Pipe Dreams was a federal sting operation by the U. Soon, this underground movement of glass pipe-making would permeate the growing post-legalization cannabis culture.
Trying out a new or unfamiliar method of smoking can be overwhelming and confusing for new users. Bongs may be easy to use, but newcomers may still find them daunting. If you don't know how to use a bong, or you're worried about smoking from a bong for the first timeremember the following steps until you've had enough practice to perfect your routine:.
A bong's large chamber and water filtration system allows you to get a bigger hit of cooler smoke in a greater quantity than a pipe or t. It can be difficult at first to know how to use a bong without over-inhaling and coughing. It's best to start out by taking slow, conservative hits, then adjust your inhalation once you get the hang of the process. A bong's form follows its function. A minimal set of simple, functional, and indispensable components make the bong instantly identifiable, no matter how minimal or elaborate the ornamental details.
The essential components found in almost every water bong include:. Tube: Also known as the vessel or neck, the tube is the cylinder that conducts the smoke and air into the user's mouth. There are generally three different tube types; straightangledand custom. Base: The chamber that fills with water. The base is the lower portion of the bong and usually the largest and widest.
Bongs are often categorized by their base type; usually straightbeakeror round base. The straight-tube bong is the classic de, consisting of a single cylinder as the main body. Beaker bongs have a conic or beaker-shaped base. Round bases have a spherical base and flat bottom. Beyond possible changes in airflow, there isn't much difference between the smoking mechanics of the three types. Downstem: A connective piece of glass that is inserted through the base and into the water.
This is the part that initiates the filtration. The two most popular downstems are classic and diffused. A classic downstem is a solid cylinder while a diffused downstem has extra holes or slits that diffuse and cool the smoke while providing a smoother pull.
The downstem, like the bowl, can be male or female. If the downstem is male, the bowl is considered female, and vice versa. Bowl: The bowl is what holds the herb atop the downstem. Bowls most commonly come in one of three sizes, 10 mm small14 mm medium19 mm large. Downstems also have these sizes. For male bowls, the size is the outer circumference of the fitting end. For females, it's the inner circumference.What is bongs
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Demystifying the Bong, One Myth at a Time