Also referred to as a water pipe, a bong is commonly used for smoking tobacco, cannabis, and other dry herbal substances. It has been used in Thailand, Laos, and Africa for centuries. The construction is similar to a hookah but is usually smaller in size and meant for 1 user at a time.
Although it can be made from any air and watertight material by adding a stem apparatus and bowl, some of the best bongs on the market are those made from glass.
Besides being easy to use and clean, one of the benefits of glass bongs is that it gives smoother and cleaner hits. Those smoother hits make it more gentle on your throat and lungs, making them the perfect option if you are sensitive to rolled joints and bowls hits.
The water in the bong filters the smoke and traps the different particles, tar, and other chemical products that would have made their way into your mouth and lungs.
To use the glass bong, you need to carefully add water to it, making sure to adequately cover the bottom of the stem that filters the smoke from the stem.
Then you can either remove the glass bong bowl or load it in place with cannabis, tobacco, CBD Flower, or other preferred products. If your herbs have been ground, measure ¼ teaspoon, but if not ground, remove the larger pieces, separating the stems out, and break the remaining so that they can get in the bowl and burn.
If the bong contains an ice catcher, put a few ice cubes to get the best hit.
Many people use the term glass bongs as game changers, and chances are, once you start using them, you will never look back.
What kind of glass are bongs made of?
Most bongs on the market are made from borosilicate glass. This is glass that contains silica and boron trioxide. It is known to have low coefficients of thermal expansion, making the bongs resistant to thermal shock…and hopefully, if you are lucky drops from low enough heights.
The bongs are made by specialist glassblowers, known as lathe workers.
The process of making the bongs begins with a specialist glassblower heating a piece of glass and then putting on a hollow pipe from which to blow air into the glass. The specialist then constantly spins the glass while blowing air into it.
The spinning creates a centripetal force that keeps the bong uniformly shaped, while the lathe keeps the glass constantly and uniformly spinning.
At various stages, the artist uses specialized tools to create different features that they want on the bong. The artist may even add additional colored borosilicate rods to give the final bong its color and other glass ornaments to decorate the outside of the bong.
Many bongs require multiple pieces
For the bong to be complete and functional, it needs several pieces that are often blown separately and then joined by heating localized glass areas or connected with rubber grommets.
The most common pieces that need joining are the neck, water chamber, bowl, mouthpiece, and down stem. Most bowls and female down stems are made separately and connected with the rubber grommets. These specific pieces can break easily, but replacements can be found at your local smoke shop.
The expert professionally joins all the major parts, ending up with a fully functional bong for your enjoyment and satisfaction.
Is it possible to make your own bong?
If you are a DIY enthusiast, you must be wondering whether you can make your bong if you do not have the funds to buy one, right? Well, you could, if you have the skills.
You see, glass blowing requires skill, experience, and specialized tools, and plenty of things can go wrong if you do not know what you are doing.
For example, failing to heat the glass properly can cause it to get too thick in one area and too thin in another, resulting in lopsidedness that lenders the bong unusable.
There is also the risk of inhaling toxic fumes that can cause internal burns.
Even if you get the different pieces already made, you might lack the skills and equipment to join them firmly.
There is also the risk of creating cracks as you bring the pieces together.
Unless you have the skills, and necessary tools, avoid blowing your glass.
But if you need a substitute a good carved apple and metal pipe combined in the right way is always a crowd pleaser, if you know what we are talking about.
Are glass bongs illegal?
In the United States, drugs such as cocaine and cannabis are forbidden. Under federal law, objects used to consume illegal drugs are termed as drug paraphernalia, and you can be on the wrong side of the law for possessing them in the wrong state.
So, are glass bongs illegal?
Technically, a bong, vaporizer, or any other smoking contraption cannot be deemed drug paraphernalia until you use it with an illegal substance.
Most states refer to glass bongs as part of the drug paraphernalia, so selling, exporting, and importing a bong is illegal under federal law. Luckily, possessing one is not a federal crime.
When it comes to individual state law, the regulations surrounding drug paraphernalia vary and differ from federal law.
For example, Washington State has precise characterizations of the illegal items, including bongs, and even lists the balances and scales meant to weigh the controlled substances.
The consequences of possessing and selling bongs and other drug paraphernalia are also a mixed bag.
In Ohio, drug paraphernalia possession is a fourth-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days of jail time and a fine. In the same state, dealing in paraphernalia is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail plus a larger fine.
While most states treat paraphernalia distribution as a misdemeanor, some states treat it as a felony, especially if it involves selling the items to minors.
To stay on the safe side, familiarize yourself with your state’s regulations. It is also wise to avoid carrying your bong in public or always conceal it. This way, in the event you are in trouble, your attorney can argue in court that the bong was a water pipe.
You should note that bongs are not forbidden in states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use.
Is buying bongs online legal?
Now that you have learned that it might be illegal to possess a bong in some states, you must be wondering whether it is legal to buy one online, right?
Well, it is legal to buy your bongs online. Most online stores sell the bongs for tobacco or medical use, so they are legally doing so. This is regardless of whether cannabis use is legal in the area.
As long as you are of age (21 years old or older), you can safely buy your glass bong online without worrying about getting on the wrong side of the law.
Reputable bong selling stores will protect your privacy and ship and deliver your item discreetly.
While this is the case, some stores will not give you the privacy you are craving.
Take your time and find a reputable store to buy from to be safe.
You might be tempted to buy a cheap bong, but do not do it as the cheap bong might be low quality and fail to give you the smooth hit you are looking for.
Are glass bongs better than silicone?
If you have been looking for alternatives to glass bongs, you must have come across silicone bongs. These are made from medical-grade silicone that does not affect the flavor of your smoke, and it is easy to clean and extremely durable.
Glass bongs are the most popular smoking devices on the market, and it is for a reason: They do not impart flavors or undesirable chemicals to your smoke, they are easy to clean and give you a smooth hit.
The main drawback with glass bongs is they are fragile, and although most of them are made from borosilicate glass which is shatter resistant and durable, it is breakable and not as tough as silicone.
So, are glass bongs better than silicone bongs?
Well, it is hard to give a definitive answer to this question as it depends on your needs. If you are looking for a highly versatile bong that will provide you with a great hit and with plenty of accessories to try out, go for glass bongs.
On the other hand, silicone bongs are the way to go if you are looking for cheap, simple, and monstrously durable bongs that you can use anywhere without worrying about damaging them.
If you want to enjoy both worlds, there is no harm in buying both bongs. After all, silicone bongs won’t dent much of your pocket.
Can glass bongs go in the dishwasher?
Yes, they can. This is because most modern glass bongs are made from high-quality borosilicate glass, whose chances of getting shattered in the dishwasher are low.
For the best outcome when cleaning your bong in the dishwasher, follow these tips:
- Ensure that it is the only piece of glass in the appliance. This means that you should not clean it with other kitchenware.
- Begin with removing the bong’s bowl, dumping out all the bong water, and placing it and other accessories in the silverware section, ensuring that they are secure.
- Place the bong upside down like a cup, then add your desired cleaning solution.
- Power on your dishwasher and allow it to run. Once the cycle completes, confirm that the bong is fully clean. If not, clean it by hand.
- Before putting your bong in the dishwasher, confirm that it is made from high-quality glass that can withstand the high dishwasher pressure and temperature.
- As you consider cleaning your bong in the dishwasher, remember that simple bongs with basic designs clean better than those with elaborate designs.
- If your bong has an elaborate design, you can clean it in the dishwasher but invest in a cleaning solution with large amounts of alcohol and other cleaning agents to break down the stubborn terpenes on the glass.
- It is also wise to have a few cleaning brushes at hand to clear out any trapped particles in your bong’s small and awkward corners.
How to clean glass bongs
Experts recommend you clean your bong at least once a week. You can do it sooner if the bong forms a ring around the waterline or you see a little floater of weed, residues, or resin in your device when you pour purified water into it.
To give your bong a clean look you are looking for, clean it properly. The cool thing is that you do not need fancy cleaning solutions or follow an intricate cleaning process.
To prevent sticky residues on your fingers, put on a pair of gloves, then follow this cleaning procedure:
- Begin with removing the bong’s bowl and stem to make cleaning easy.
- If there is old water in the bong, pour it out. Bong water is usually sticky and resinous, so you should avoid pouring it down the drain. One of the best places to pour it is in the trash bag or a sealed container, then dispose of the container.
You can also dispose of the water outside, but do not water the plants with it as the bacteria in the water can harm the plants.
- After pouring out bong water, place the bong in a zip-top bag, then add isopropyl alcohol. Experts recommend using about sixteen ounces or enough alcohol to fill the bong halfway. If you do not have or do not want isopropyl alcohol, use white vinegar and baking soda, then let the bong soak for a little longer. Also, it is recommended using 90% isopropyl alcohol for the best results.
- Add salt to the bong. The purpose of the salt is to scrub the insides of the bong and remove any resins that might be present. For the salt to scrub, off as many resins as possible, use a healthy amount of salt.
- Shake the alcohol and salt mixture by closing the bag and sealing it. If you have a percolator bong, ensure that the mixture enters all the chambers. Sometimes you may have to tip the bong upside down for the mixture to reach all the areas.
- Let the alcohol-salt mixture sit with the bong for at least 30 minutes to improve the efficacy of the alcohol in the cleaning process.
- After 30 minutes, remove the bong and dispose of the bag. To avoid the resin mess in the sink, seal the bag full of the bong water and throw it away.
- Rinse the bong with warm water and soap to remove all the alcohol and salt from the bong.
- Finally, use a pipe cleaner to scrub any stuck resin from the stem, then rinse it with hot water. Let the bong dry out completely before loading it for use.