The main reason bongs and other types of water pipes are so highly lauded is that the water cools and filters the smoke for a smoother hit, while also packing a little punch.
The bong (or bubbler) has an essential place in any serious pot smoker’s collection. Taking measured bong hits is a way of life for many cannabis imbibers and some people swear by them. There’s many solid reasons why a glass water pipe is a great choice for smoking, but is it the right choice for you?
The main reason bongs and other types of water pipes are so highly lauded is that the water, particularly cold water, cools and filters the smoke for a smoother hit, while also packing a little punch when the hit snaps through. Unless we’re talking about those comically high bongs, they are easy to pass and easy to measure to ensure everyone is getting an equal hit.
Glass pipes and bongs have also come a long way from the plastic bongs and metal pipes dwindling into niche markets, but mostly into the past. You can literally own a functioning work of one-of-a-kind, handmade art when you purchase a higher-end piece of glass, and though handled more tenderly, they make for great conversation pieces amongst high minded groups.
So what’s the disadvantage? They’re a pain in the arse to clean most of the time and if they aren’t clean, they aren’t doing their jobs; they taste nasty and become counter intuitive. A clean piece of glass, whether made for water or not, is essential to a smoother, healthier smoking experience.
There are ways to keep your glass clean though, of course, and the simplest way is to clean it daily. If it’s a more standard bong, with a wider round base and straight tube leading up, simply emptying the contents and rinsing the inside with hot water on the daily keeps it much more simple. The thorough cleanings can happen more infrequently.
The stem of a bong can be boiled at home, just beware of the scent of resin infiltrating your kitchen. There are also solutions on the market — found at almost any head shop — specifically for cleaning glass. You can place the stem and enough solution to cover it in a plastic baggie and work it around to get it all the way through the glass. Just be gentle and then let the liquid work its magic for as long as stated on the bottle, rinse and voilà! You’re back to smooth hitting.