Updated: Mar 8
Our previous blog post went over the different parts of a basic bong. If you've been to a smoke shop (sometimes called a 'head shop') or seen online, you've no doubt seen a bunch of different shapes, designs, sized and features on different bongs. It can be a bit overwhelming.
But don't worry - starting with a very basic bong is perfect for beginners. And most of the fancy features you see on more sophisticated bongs don't do as much for the actual smoking. You can get pretty much the same intake from any kind of bong.
Thought before you start bong smoking
When using a bong for the first time, just remember that it's a bit of an art, so you should be prepared to practice a bit and to 'start low and go slow'. Don't take too big of a hit until you're used to a bong. Bongs can hit harder than joints or pipes - much harder if you take too big of a hit. So, just take it easy in the beginning.
How to smoke from a bong
Using the above picture as our guide, here are the basic steps to actually smoking a bong.
Grind up a small amount of weed. You will hear us recommend grinders a lot on this blog. Ground up weed is the best to smoke with almost any intake method, so having a good one around will save you a lot time + they help the weed burn more evenly.
Make sure your bowl is clean; scrape out any left over smoked weed if you're not using a new bowl. You should be able to inhale air freely through the bowl and stem. If the stem is clogged, it's recommended that you clean it thoroughly or just buy a new bowl and stem.
Fill the chamber with water until the stem is about half covered. If you add ice, just be sure that doesn't raise the water level to above 1/2 up the stem. If you add too much water, it will gurgle up into the bowl and intake tube - and sometimes into your mouth! Don't worry - you'll know when you've added too much water!
Add the weed to the bowl, carefully packing it down very lightly. You want the weed to be packed only enough so it doesn't fall out. Be careful not to pack the weed in too tightly or you won't be able to draw any smoke when you actually inhale from the bong's mouthpiece.
Place your thumb over the carburetor and hold that part of the bong's neck/intake tube.
Place your mouth over the mouthpiece, then ...
Light the weed with a lighter while simultaneously inhaling.
It's also recommended that new bong smokers practice using the bong before loading any weed into the bowl. Simply set up the bong as instructed above - skipping step #4 (adding the weed) and obviously not lighting the bowl.
Take a slow but deep inhale from the mouthpiece of the bong to ensure your water level is good (no gurgling or splashing up of the water in the chamber) and your bowl and stem are clean and clear.
Tips that are very important!
Do not light up the whole bowl of weed, but rather light the top of the bowl so that you don't take too big of a hit until you are comfortable using bongs.
Inhale slowly but deeply; do not feel like you have to intake all the smoke that's in the bong. As long as you do not release the carburetor, you will not lose that smoke.
If your bong doesn't have a carburetor hole, the likely the hole that the bowl sits on is the carburetor. For those types of bongs, the bowl usually has a tiny handle that allows the smoker to lift the bowl and release the smoke that's inside the bong.
Start low and go slow. You can never start too low. But if you take too big of a hit, you may experience a higher heart rate and sudden stoned-ness. Just relax and sit back when this happens. Put on some nice music or a funny movie - nothing intense!
Smoking bongs is an art, but a fun one at that. It takes some practice and you will enviably take too big of a hit at some point. Don't worry if you do - just sit back and relax until you calm down a bit.
Stay tuned to our future post on how to calm down from being too stoned!