Bongs have been around for hundreds of years. Perhaps even cavemen partook – hunt, gather, inhale.  The legacy of cannabis is just that lengthy and that rich.

But, it’s hard to talk about pot without speaking of the things used to smoke it. So, here we go: a song for the bong.

The word itself is believed to come from “baung” a Thai word which refers to a round tube of bamboo. Some historians trace the bong back to the Ming Dynasty, a reign that ruled China in the 14th century and beyond. Others believe it has African roots, as tribes built earthen bongs into the ground. Some people even link ancient bongs made of pure gold to a race of nomads who roamed what is modern-day Russia. No one can be sure where the bong originated: maybe all those places and probably many more.

The Bongs of the Present

The bongs in today’s world come in many types and sizes. They are most often made of hand-blown glass, created by people who are doing more than water pipe production. They see themselves as artists and the finished products back their beliefs. Simply, many bongs are beautiful. And, yes, so are the people who use them.

Not all bongs are translucent works of art, however. They’re also available in wood, acrylic, ceramic, and plastic – giving you a different type of Tupperware party. They take on a variety of colors and sizes, providing many choices for the pot peruser. You might care merely about functionality, or you might want something that looks nice up against your Prayer Plant.

The Parts of a Bong

Before choosing a bong, it’s important to know what you’re buying. The anatomy involves five parts: the bowl (which holds the cannabis); the carburetor (a small hole that enables you to clear the smoke from the chamber of the bong); the downstem (the tube where the smoke travels from the bowl to the base and into the water); the base (the water chamber and the thing that keeps your bong from tipping over and smashing into a million pieces on the floor); the tube (the chamber that fills with smoke after it’s filtered through water); and satisfaction (what you feel during use).

Making the Choice

Like everything else in life, any given bong has both advantages and disadvantages. But, to help make your decision easier, consider the following questions before swiping your MasterCard:

Are you going to keep it to yourself or share with your friends?

Bong loaded with cannabis A bong you keep to yourself has less of a chance of being ruined merely for the fact that we take care of our own things better than we take care of another’s material items. If you tend to take the advice of your kindergarten teacher and, being a bud, share, consider something cheaper: you won’t be as upset when someone drops it on your kitchen tile.

If you’re keeping it for yourself, and you plan to take care of it, you might opt for a more technical purchase. The more technical a bong, the higher the price, but the higher the high as well. These bongs offer clean hits and maximum THC absorption. But they do require more effort – they come with attachments, to start: diffusers, ice catchers, and splash guards (just to name a few).

A technical bong also requires much more care than something less involved and cheaper.

Thus, if you plan to clean your bong regularly, a more complicated contraption might be worth a shot.

If you plan to clean your bong as often as you change your bedsheets, maybe stick to something plastic.

What size best suits you?

Some bongs are quite large in size, around eighteen inches high. You can even find ones that are taller. A bong this size takes up a good amount of room, whether it’s in a cabinet or on your dresser. It’s also harder to hide from people like your parents.

Bigger bongs break easier than smaller ones. Some of this is because of their mass – the impact is greater when they
plummet to the ground.

And some of it is because of clumsiness: the bigger an object, the easier it is to run into. This might or might not make a difference; if you keep it in a closet, it’s likely fine. If you keep it in the bedroom you regularly use to practice your secret jazzercise routine, less may be more.

When choosing a size, you should also consider whether you have the lung capacity of a whale or one of a snail. A bong that is too tall is a difficult smoke for people who aren’t well endowed, lung-wise. The smoke won’t clear and you’ll remain displeased.

Are you going to smoke once a month or once a day?

For people who smoke very rarely, on special occasions like their birthday or a few other times a year, it makes little sense to spend a lot of money on a bong: you won’t use it enough. But for people who smoke often, on special occasions like Tuesday, shelling out a little more cash for kush is prudent.

A better bong gives you a better smoke. If you smoke a lot, you’re going to want that.

Will you leave it at your house or take it into the local pot shop from show and tell?

Anyone who takes their bong with them outside the house runs the risk of it breaking. Bong bowl with Marijuana This doesn’t mean you must buy something in wood or plastic, but a tall, ornately designed apparatus thinly made of glass isn’t likely the best option.  Besides, your mom will probably get mad when you make her sit in the backseat because Ol’ Wheezy called shotgun.

Even so, a glass bong isn’t out of the question entirely. Those made of soft glass are generally thick and sturdy and likely to withstand some wear and tear.

The Advantages to Bong smoking

With the exception of a vaporizer, bong smoking offers a benefit over other types of smoking because it cools and filters the smoke through water. The result is a smoother draw and less irritation to your throat and lungs. The natural benefits of THC and other cannabinoids undoubtedly provide some protection, but a bong provides a little more. Some people also believe using one gets them higher, others aren’t so sure. This is something you’ll decide for yourself. Then there’s the idea of aesthetics.

A bong is simply cool looking and decorative even on days you’re not lighting up. It’s pretty, lavish, and now you have somewhere to hang your hat.

Jenn Keeler

About the author: Jenn Keeler is a freelance writer and illustrator specializing in humorous lifestyle articles. She is one of the few people on earth actually using an English degree. Her heart belongs to the Denver Broncos and her husband. In that order.