The Unspoken Acceptance of Bongs

The Unspoken Acceptance of Bongs

Bongs are synonymous with smoking cannabis, hashish, and opium with their major emergence into popular culture occurring during the hippie flower-child revolution in the late 60s and early 70s. However, Bongs have been around for a lot longer than that with these water pipes appearing ever since mankind discovered the hedonistic pleasures of “getting high” on natural smoking substances in places like China, Africa, Laos, and the middle east.

Bongs made of gold and used by ancient Scythians have been found in a 2400-year-old excavation in Russia, and the word itself has its origins in Thailand around 1944 where the word bong refers to a water-pipe used to smoke “ganja”, or cannabis.

How do Bongs Function?

Bongs are essentially water pipes that filter the intake of cannabis or other intoxicating substances through a bowl filled with water that bubbles and gurgles as the smoker or stoner inhales the product through a top mouthpiece or port. These ancient items of ritual and ceremonial purposes are sometimes considered smaller and more portable versions of the centuries-old middle eastern hookah, which is also a water-pipe used by the Turkish and other Persian cultures to smoke tobacco or hashish, but larger with multiple smoking pipes for up to four people.

The bong, however, is for single use, and if made by a glassblower or factory, adheres to a standard design of glass shaft at the top for inhalation, glass bowl with water to filtrate, metal inserted side shaft where a metal cone is placed in which to ignite the cannabis or other intoxicant, and usually a small hole along the main glass shaft called a shoddy in Australia. The small hole is kept sealed with the user’s thumb and opened to capture the last remnants of the cannabis smoke upon inhalation.

Why are Bongs More Accepted by Society?

Bongs acceptance

Bongs have made their way into popular culture and therefore the mainstream consciousness ever since hippies touted free love and smoked marijuana and took LSD. These easily recognized filters go hand in hand with the illegal plant cannabis because smoking cannabis with a water-pipe is often a preferable alternative to smoking a joint, or marijuana cigarette. Bongs and cannabis were made popular in US movies and culture since the 1970s and 1980s, with a reputation that is so widespread that nearly everyone across the world knows what a bong is.

Even though keeping a bong is considered a crime of possession of drug paraphernalia in many US states, and nearly all the states of Australia, there has been a growing acceptance of the mainstay of marijuana paraphernalia mainly because there are recognized medical and stress-related benefits of smoking cannabis. Medical marijuana is now legalized with prescriptions being given to patients needing relief from pain, or mental disorders, or other ailments, and with this the bong is the tool most often used to imbibe a product that is now shedding its nefarious reputation.

What Types of Bongs are Best to Use?

Before the proliferation of professionally blown and manufactured water pipes, the humble apparatus was mainly home-made in western countries like the US and Australia. Cannabis users would use and still sometimes use, empty plastic hand-held drink bottles, a short length of hosepipe, and a sealant to make the water-pipe airtight. By means of heating or cutting the side of the drink bottle, the short hose pipe is punctured into the bottle, and the bong is made watertight with tacking or further heating.

Backyard bongs are then filled with water below the level of where the hose pipe enters the shaft, and a cone-piece filled with cannabis or hashish is placed into the opening of the hose pipe and lit with a lighter to ignite the intoxicant while the user pulls the smoke through by inhaling at the opening of the bottle.

A lot of cannabis smokers will opt for a professionally made glass water filter and these are sometimes obtained at agreeable tobacconists under the counter, or online. Keep in mind though, a famous movie star who made movies about dope smoking was charged with selling the popular apparatus on the internet.  This hasn’t stopped the production of the iconic water-pipe which has now become so acceptable that bongs are set to ride the swelling wave of the emerging legal cannabis industry long into the future.