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How to use a bong: The complete beginner’s guide

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Did you know that 12% of adults in the United States now smoke marijuana — that’s over 40 million people! Many newcomers to the activity are looking for new ways to experiment with the plant beside the traditional bowl smoking.

One of the most classic ways to consume cannabis is with a water bong. The filtration system on the device enhances the flavor and provides a clean hit. Unfortunately, many beginners don’t know how to use a bong.

If you fall into this category, then don’t panic! We know the device looks complicated, but once you read this article you’ll be an expert on hitting the device. Let’s get started!

What are the different parts of the bong?

Must bongs have four identifiable parts: the mouthpiece, chamber, bowl (or slide), and downstem. As the name suggests, the mouthpiece is the hole at the end of the tube where you place your mouth.

Remember that your lips go inside the mouthpiece when inhaling — don’t put them around the hole unless you want to gross people out. The chamber is the body of the bong where the smoke accumulates as you take a hit.

You fill the chamber with smoke using the bowl. The bowl holds your marijuana and attaches to the downstem. The downstem is a small tube that holds the bowl and leads to the bottom of the bong.

When you light the bowl the smoke travels through the downstem into the chamber. Then the bowl slides out of the downstem which releases the chamber smoke into the mouthpiece. This is why the bowl is also referred to as the slide.

Learn how to use a bong

Now that we know the different parts of a bong, we can move on to using it. However, before we begin you may be wondering what type of bong you should use. There are plenty of elaborately designed bong models out there with percolator systems and multi-level stems.

However, if you’re a beginner, then we recommend you go with something simple. In our opinion, you can’t go wrong with anything from Grav Labs. Once you secure a bong, it’s time to set it up.

1. Set Everything Up

First, you need to learn how to put water in a bong. Fill your piece up with water by removing the downstem and pouring through the hole.

Different sized bongs require different amounts of water, but usually, you want the level to reach one inch above the downstem.

You can test the water by taking a pull without lighting the stem. The water should bubble properly, but not splash up toward your lips. More advanced bongs may have percolator systems that require filling through the mouthpiece instead of the downstem.

We also recommend adding ice to the mouthpiece of your bong. This part is optional, but it will make your hit more smooth which is ideal if you’re new to smoking. Just make sure the device you’re using has an ice pinch or catcher — something to keep the ice from falling into the chamber.

2. Fill Up Your Bowl

Now it’s time to fill up your bowl. First, make sure the piece is cleared of all debris and ash. This will help ensure that you get a clean, milky hit. Most of the time you can blow the ash out, but a dirtier piece may require a poking tool like a pencil, paper clip, or hairpin.

Then grind up your weed. This will help ensure that it burns evenly. If you don’t have a grinder, then you can use scissors or your fingernails. Make sure to remove any large stems or seeds from the mix.

Then, loosely pack your bowl with cannabis. Don’t overpack the bowl over the edge as this will cause the weed to blow away. If you have a small little nug, try placing it at the bottom of the bowl before filling it.

This will keep the looser material from blowing through early. If you don’t have a nug, then just pack it a little more densely toward the bottom. Then, place the bowl into the downstem. Now you’re ready to smoke!

3. Take a Hit from the Bong

If it’s your first time hitting a bong, then you will want to rest the bottom part either on your lap or a flat surface. Grab the stem with your non-dominant hand. Then raise the mouthpiece and place your lips inside.

This should create a complete seal so no air can get through. If air gets through, then you won’t get a proper fit. Now it’s time to get lighter and hold it close to the bowl. Begin inhaling while holding the flame over the cannabis.

The flow of air will draw the flame down and ignite the marijuana. If all goes well you will notice the chamber turning white with smoke. At this point, no smoke should enter your lungs because of the downstem seal.

Once you get a big enough hit, remove the bowl from the down stem. However, don’t stop inhaling. This is important. Many beginners waste their entire breath on pulling and have no lung capacity left to take their hit.

Instead, ration your breath so that you have enough air for a big pull at the end. This will clear the bong smoke and lead it directly into your lungs. Exhale the smoke immediately. The cannabis compounds are absorbed instantly so there is no benefit to hold it in for a long time.

Start Smoking from Your Bong Today

We hope this article helped you learn how to use a bong the correct way. Beginners are often intimidated by bongs because they’re scared it will hit them too hard.

While coughing usually does occur with newcomers, this shouldn’t be a deterrent for trying it.

Everyone coughs the first time, and you can easily control it after a few sessions. So get out there and start smoking your bong today — remember practice makes perfect! As you perfect the craft, keep checking back here for the lifestyle content you need. 

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