How to Use a Water Pipe (Bong): Tips and an In-Depth Guide
Water pipes offer a cleaner and smoother smoking experience compared to regular tobacco or marijuana smoking. Nonetheless, many smokers are slow to try it out. We understand why. Many people don't know how to use a water pipe properly or think it's too complicated.
In reality, learning how to smoke a bong is anything but difficult. Moreover, there’s nothing hard about cleaning a water pipe. There really isn’t much but upsides to water pipe smoking.
For example, you don't have to worry about additives damaging your body or about getting a sore throat. The water chamber in a bong will filter the smoke. As a result, the device pulls out harmful particulates from the smoke and makes it cooler.
Sounds intriguing? This exhaustive guide will tell you how to smoke out of a bong to get the most pleasant experience. So, let's get going!
What is a Water Pipe?
A water pipe (commonly known simply as a glass bong) is a tabletop device capable of delivering a smoother smoking experience. Bongs have a water chamber that filters the smoke, making it cleaner and cooler. As a result, you get a healthier and more refreshing hit.
Most smokers use water pipes for dry herbs and marijuana. However, nothing stops you from packing the bong with regular tobacco blends.
You should know the difference between a bong and similar smoking accessories like pipes, dab rigs, and bubblers. Pipes are compact and convenient devices that don’t take long to “pack” with herbs. Bubblers work in the same way but have a water chamber that filters the smoke, making it smoother.
Dab rigs, on the other hand, are more similar to water pipes. You can smoke a dab rig just how you would smoke a bong. But there’s one exception – dab rigs are designed for cannabis extracts.
Components of a Bong
So, how does a bong work? An average water pipe consists of the following parts:
Bowl. A part of the device that stores the “fuel.” The more the diameter of the bowl – the more dry herbs or marijuana it can hold.
Downstem. After you light the herbs in the bowl, the downstem allows the smoke to reach the water chamber.
Water Chamber. As a name suggests, it’s a part of the bong you need to fill with water. The water filters the smoke, making it chiller, cleaner, and much softer.
Stem (Ice Catcher). You can add ice to the stem to make the smoke even cooler to inhale. We should note that not all water pipes feature an ice catcher.
Carb. A small hole that allows you to control the airflow in the pipe. In addition to that, you can use it to clean the stem or the water chamber.
Smoke Chamber. A prolonged section that connects the water chamber, stem, and mouthpiece.
Mouthpiece. The smoke travels all the way from the bowl to your lungs from the mouthpiece.
Now you should have an idea of how a water pipe works. But how to smoke a bong to get the most enjoyment out of it? Keep reading to find out.
Preparing the Bong
Firstly, you need to prepare the following:
- A clean device (we will tell you how to clean a water pipe later)
- Ice (if your bong has an ice catcher)
- A pack of a tobacco blend, dry herbs, or marijuana
- Cleaning solutions (isopropyl alcohol and baking soda)
Step 1: Fill the water chamber
Remove the downstem to get access to the chamber and fill it with clean water. We recommend using cold water if you want more of a refreshing taste.
How much water to put in a bong? The more water you pour, the harder it will be to pull the smoke when you inhale. Ideally, you should pour the chamber with enough water so that it fills the bottom of the downstem. Afterward, we recommend taking a few deep breaths through the mouthpiece. If the water doesn't reach your lips – then you are all set.
Step 2 (Optional): Add ice to the stem (ice catcher)
Ice can make the smoke even smoother and more comfortable to inhale. Just place the ice in the stem section (make sure to do it carefully not to break the glass). If your bong doesn’t have an ice catcher section, you can still add ice directly in the water chamber.
Packing the Bowl
Before you can smoke from the bong, you need to pack the herbs into the bowl. Here's how to do it:
Step 1: Grind the herbs
Breaking up the herbs or cannabis is an integral part of the smoking process. Everyone has a preferred technique to do this. For example, you can do it with your fingers or with a pair of scissors. Likewise, you can use a grinder to break the nug into small, evenly sized chunks. Don’t forget to remove seeds and the stem to get the best smoking experience.
Step 2: Pick the herbs and put them into the bowl
Firstly, take larger pieces of herbs and pack them into the bowl. Then, fill the bowl with smaller pieces of herbs. This will prevent tiny pieces from getting through the bowl as you inhale.
Don’t overdo it! A half-full bowl should be enough if you are preparing the water pipe only for yourself. If you are putting up a bong for a party, you still shouldn’t overpack the bowl. If you pack it too tightly, the air won’t pass through it properly. As a result, the smoking experience won’t be as pleasant.
Step 3: Place the bowl into the water pipe
Put the filled bowl into the bong’s downstem section. And please, bear in mind that the glass can break if you don’t do it carefully.
How to Smoke Out of a Bong
It’s time for the main event! Here's what you need for an excellent hit.
Step 1: Place everything properly
Place the bong on an even surface that doesn't have any flammable objects nearby. You can put it near an open window if you don’t want to fill the room with smoke. Then, sit near the bong in a comfortable position.
You should be able to grasp the bong firmly around the smoke chamber with your non-dominant hand. Alternatively, you can hold the water pipe from the bottom. Just make sure that you are comfortable.
Step 2: Put your mouth on the mouthpiece
Put your lips inside the mouthpiece and seal any openings. If you are smoking with friends, they will greatly appreciate it if you'd wipe your mouth beforehand. Also, it's considered poor etiquette to wrap lips outside of the mouthpiece.
We recommend taking a couple of deep breaths before igniting the herbs. It will fill your lungs with oxygen and make the smoking feel much smoother.
Step 3: Light the herbs
Tilt the lighter horizontally and position the flame at the edge of the bowl. Don't hold the light too close to the bowl if you want your herbs (or cannabis) to last longer.
By the way, you can make the cannabis last even longer by using a hemp wick instead of a regular lighter.
Step 4: Slowly inhale the smoke while holding the lighter close to the bowl
The smoke shouldn’t fall into your lungs at this point. Inhale gradually while continuing lighting the bowl. As a result, you will fill the chamber with smoke.
Don't overwhelm yourself if you are a beginner. Amateurs should fill the smoke chamber only halfway.
Step 5: Put the flame away and keep inhaling
You will notice that the herbs are glowing, and the bowl is filled with smoke. When it happens – remove the lighter. But don't take away your mouth from the mouthpiece yet or it will dissipate.
Step 6: Breathe in the smoke and hold it in your lungs
Remove your finger from the carb and take a deep breath. You need to get the smoke into your lungs and let it linger there for a couple of seconds. Then, exhale. Repeat this process if there's any more smoke left.
By the way, you shouldn't breathe in the entirety of the smoke in one go. Just cover the mouthpiece with your hand to seal the smoke inside the bong.
How to Clean a Glass Bong
You are probably wondering: "how to clean my bong after I'm done?" There's nothing complicated about it. Just follow our instructions:
Step 1: Empty all of the bong’s elements
Get the bowl out of the downstem and get rid of the remaining ash. Then, carefully pour the water from the chamber down the drain.
Step 2: Clean the bowl and the downstem
Put the bowl in a water jar (for instance, into a soup bowl). Fill it with warm water and apply isopropyl alcohol. Then, gently scrape the bowl with your hands to clean it from resin and other dirt. Alternatively, you can put the bowl in a Ziplock plastic bag, fill it with a cleaning solution, and give it a good shake.
Next, take the downstem out from the water pipe and repeat the whole process.
Step 3: Clean the water chamber
Pour hot water into the chamber and add two tablespoons of large grain salt. Then, apply a small cup of isopropyl alcohol and shake the device for a few seconds. Let the bong sit idle for a couple of minutes before pouring the water into the sink.
Afterward, fill the chamber with hot water and pour it down again.
Step 4: Take care of the rest of the water pipe
Use Q-tips or pipe cleaners to scrub away the residue in hard-to-reach places. Besides, make it a rule to rinse the whole bong with hot water at least once a month.
Now you can proudly state that you know how to use a water pipe. Give it a couple of tries, and you'll be packing and smoking a bong like a pro!
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- Anant Derhgawen