Stoned Science: How Does a Bong Work & How to Use It

Bongs have been around in different shapes and forms for quite a while, as there have been accounts of water bongs being used in Thailand, Laos, Africa and a couple other places around the globe for a few centuries now.

However, today we’ll be talking about how the bongs that we know today, so stay tuned to find out how does a bong work and how to use a bong, the proper way.

If you had a chance to use a bong then you probably know the basics: pour some water, pack the bowl and light up – not much to it, right? Wrong.

There is a whole science behind the whats and hows of smoking cannabis using a bong as much as any other smoking utensil, and luckily for you we are here to let you in on all the secrets!

Different types of bongs

In today’s world, we really only recognize 2 distinct types of bongs:

  1. Standard bongs – can be made from glass, wood, plastic, acryl, and several other types of material. These are the ones you will instantly think of once someone mentions the word bong, long neck, water in the bottom and smoke clustering and gathering in the neck of it.
  2. Gravity bongs – these are usually handmade and crafted from whatever you can find in your house at the moment.

It is important to keep this in mind as we will be talking mostly about the standard bongs over the course of this article.

Do bongs get you higher?

In short – YES. Bongs do get you higher than several other similar means of smoking such as smoking through a pipe, smoking a joint, or even a blunt.

Here’s why:

  • Bongs allow you to get a huge hit due to the chamber they have – the neck of the bong, even though you can theoretically get more THC from a glass pipe.
  • Inhaling a bigger hit “straight to the head” is really one of the easiest way to get an instant high – bongs will get you high after just 1-2 hits while a joint will take a while to kick in.
  • Smoking cannabis with no additives such as tobacco in a joint will also get you there a bit quicker.
  • Water cools the THC molecules which makes them easier to process once they are inside your lungs.

So, as you can see, there are quite a few things that give bongs an edge over other styles of consumption.

But, what does this have to do with physics?

Heating up THC and then rapidly cooling it down changes the molecular structure and influences the way the molecules are “read” by your receptors.

That, as well as smoking it without a tobacco mix will give you a much cleaner high that should take over your body in no time.

How to use a water bottle bong

Water bongs use a system in which the majority of work is done with some simple suction. As you may know, a bong is composed of usually 3-5 parts:

  • mouthpiece – this is where your lips are pressed onto the bongs
  • chamber – the place where all the smoke goes once the weed has been burned
  • bowl – a place for holding your weed and lighting it
  • carb and a downstem – some bongs with sliders don’t have this

Bong details

So, the way you use a water bong is this:

  1. Pour water in the bong. There should be enough water so that the downstem is completely submerged.
  2. Pack the bowl with about a half gram of freshly ground buds.
  3. Place your mouth on the mouthpiece, light the bowl and slowly inhale.
  4. Once the chamber is full of milky-white smoke, release the carb (or pull the slider) and inhale the remainder of smoke from the chamber, exhale and return the slider.

How does a bong work

Bongs work on several basic principles of physics, all of which are very simple to understand. First one being – the vacuum.

When you light up the bowl and weed starts getting lit, it releases smoke.

Once the weed is lit and you slowly start inhaling you create a quasi-vacuum which will suck in the smoke from the bowl intensely and the smoke will be stored in the chamber.

The bubbles that you see appearing once you start inhaling are actually the “lungs of the bong” as they create micro-vacuums that suck smoke into the chamber.

If you take your lips off the mouthpiece you will see that the smoke actually won’t leave the chamber in huge amounts as it has cooled going through the water and tends to stay inside the bong.

Once you pull the slider or remove your finger from the carb, quickly inhale the remaining smoke from the chamber. R

eleasing the carb will make it so that you can easily swoop the smoke as the smoke will be pushed out because the pressure outside of the bong is larger than that within.

Bongs are the way to go

If you are a conservative smoker, getting a bong can be a great way to drop down your consumption even more. If you want to get high instantly, not spend a lot of your weed and not have to deal with rolling and such, then we strongly recommend you get yourself one of these.

If you know more about the physics and the science behind smoking weed from a bong we would be delighted to hear from you and discuss the facts in our comment section or on any of our social media outlets.


Writing how-to’s and consumption tutorials. Experienced cannabis user that is also in great love with Amsterdam. Ancient meme overlord.

6 thoughts on “Stoned Science: How Does a Bong Work & How to Use It

  1. Wow this is way more science than expected. Didn’t realize such a simple contraption could be so sophisticated. Awesome read. Thx. Keep up the good work Alex 🙂

  2. Love the article… Really solid stuff, and the “science” behind it is quite well described. I would add, however, that most glass water pipes in the classic “bong” form do not use a carb, but instead achieve the same effect with the slide (or lifting the bowl, obviously).

    One tip I would add is newer smokers may want to “test” their chamber to determine just how much smoke they are comfortable with! This may include adjusting water levels or simply NOT filling the chamber up completely.

    Go slow, new smokers, and your lungs will thank you for it!

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