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  • J. L. Campbell

Bongs for Beginners

Medical marijuana has only been legal in the state of Missouri since 2018, and the state’s first dispensaries didn’t open their doors until 2020. Although legal cannabis is still fairly new in the Show-Me State, nearly 150,000 residents already have their Missouri medical marijuana card. This means that if you feel a little behind when it comes to cannabis terminology, you’re in good company.

Many cannabis patients are learning, not only about the benefits of marijuana and how it can help with hundreds of medical conditions, but also about the many different ways cannabis can be consumed. Using a bong can be one of the most effective methods of enjoying medical marijuana, but the idea of using a bong for the first time can be intimidating.

When most people think of bongs, they often think of stereotypical stoner movies and all the negative stereotypes that have persisted in society’s portrayal of the cannabis user as a dazed and confused layabout. Of course, the truth is that medical marijuana can actually increase your motivation. For many cannabis users, bongs are the preferred method to take their medicine.

What Exactly Is a Bong?!

A bong, simply put, is a water pipe designed for smoking dried and cured marijuana. Most bongs are made of glass and have a traditional shape that looks kind-of like one of those pipes that Super Mario would slide down. There are all sorts of variations out there that are different from the standard bong, but for this article, we’re going to stick to the basics.

A bong is a little more complicated than your standard pipe because it has a base that contains water. As you smoke through the bong’s mouthpiece, marijuana smoke is filtered through the water before you inhale it, giving you a smoother smoking experience than most other methods.

The basic bong has four basic components:

  • The Bowl -The bowl, simply put, is the part of the bong where you pack your marijuana

  • The Base - The base of the bong is the part of the pipe that holds the water

  • The Tube - The tube connects the base to the mouthpiece, which is where you inhale from

  • The Downstem - The downstem is a smaller tube that connects the bowl to the base of the bong This piece is how the smoke goes from the bowl into the water

Some bongs have additional pieces such as a percolator, ash catcher, and carb hole, but these components should give you enough information to get started on your journey as a bonafide bong user.

Why Should I Consider Using a Bong?

There are numerous benefits to using a bong to consume your medical marijuana. Bongs, simply put, produce a smoother smoking experience. When you smoke with a standard pipe or from a joint or blunt, the hot, dry smoke directly enters your lungs. With a bong, that smoke is cooled down and filtered by the water, providing you with a smoother, cleaner smoking experience.

Another benefit of using a bong is that it can be a more efficient way to get the most out of your cannabis. You can take in a bigger hit of cannabis smoke with a bong than you would with other methods. If you are someone looking to get a more robust psychoactive experience with your cannabis, a bong may get you where you want to go while using less of your stash.

How Do I Use a Bong?

If you’ve got a bong and are ready to go, we’ve got you covered with some step-by-step instructions. Remember, these are for basic bongs, so if you are considering something fancier or more complicated, make sure you get detailed instructions at the time of purchase.

Step One - Clean Your Bong

If it’s a new bong, you’ll want to make sure it’s clean. Just wash it like you would a dish, but be careful - you don’t want to break it. If it’s not a new bong, you’ll want to make sure the bowl is cleared of ash. If it’s not your first time smoking, you may have already done this.

Step Two - Just Add Water

Pour water into the chamber of your bong. In most devices, you can pour the water directly through the mouthpiece into the base. You’ll want to make sure you pour enough so that the water is above the level of the downstem. If the downstem isn’t fully submerged, the smoke won’t be able to go through the water. Once you get to that level, stop pouring.

Step Three - Stay On Your Grind

Grinding your cannabis will help with easy heating and extraction. Don’t skip this step. If you don’t have a grinder, get one.

Step Four - Get Packin’

It’s time to pack the bowl. Take a pinch of marijuana and place it into the bowl. Gently pack the cannabis down into the bowl, but don’t pack it too tightly or you’ll risk not being able to pull any smoke through it. Once your bowl is filled to the top, slide it into the downstem.

Step Five - Light it Up!

First, place your mouth over the mouthpiece. To be clear, your lips should be INSIDE the mouthpiece, not around the edges. Don’t make the same mistake that gave me a very unfortunate nickname during my freshman year of college.

Then, using a lighter or another safe, flame-creating device, light the cannabis in the bowl. Then, with the bowl lit, start to bring air into your lungs. Do this smoothly - there is no need to huff and puff. Slow and steady wins this race. You should start to see smoke traveling from the downstem into the base, and start bubbling up through the water, filling the bong’s chamber with smoke.

Step 6 - All Clear

Once the chamber is full of smoke, it’s time to clear it. To do this, slide the bowl out of the downstem and inhale at the same time. This will let outside air in, and the work your lungs are doing will allow you to breathe in the smoke that has filled the chamber. Congrats! You did it!

Don’t Forget to Clean Your Bong

Now that you know how to use a bong, it’s important to take care of it. One of the most important steps of proper bong maintenance is regularly cleaning it. We’ve got you covered with our handy Bong Cleaning Guide.

Have a Backup for Times When a Bong Isn’t Ideal

There may be times when you want to get relief, but a bong simply isn’t practical. Bongs can be cumbersome and aren’t exactly the most discreet way to get your medicine. If you are going to be traveling or are somewhere that you can’t break out the bong, you may want to have a backup plan.

For the times that a bong isn’t ideal, you may want to consider using a medical marijuana tincture, which will allow you to add an infusion of THC to your food or beverages. You’ll be able to get relief without calling attention to yourself. Tinctures are rapidly becoming one of the most popular methods of consuming medical marijuana. You may be able to find some at your local Missouri dispensary, or you could consider making your own cannabis infusions.

Relief? That’s Our Specialty

If you’re ready to join the nearly 160,000 Missourians who are enjoying the natural relief that cannabis provides, you’ll need your Missouri medical marijuana card. If you don’t have your card yet, we’re here to help.

Our medical team is standing by to take you through a quick and easy evaluation to see if you qualify. Schedule an appointment with a marijuana doctor online by CLICKING HERE, or give us a call at (877) 303-3117 to talk to a patient support representative.


Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.

At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Missouri Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Missouri!

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