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How to Use a Bong

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A bong is a waterpipe that has been used to smoke dry herbs, including tobacco and other dried plants for centuries. Having gained popularity within the cannabis community, we guide you through the basics of using a bong in our step-by-step guide and explain how they work and how to keep your bong clean!

The renaissance of the bong started in the 1960s in the United States by Bob Snodgrass, also known as the Godfather of Glass. He introduced hundreds of Grateful Dead fans to his mind-blowing glass-blowing techniques and created the glass-blowing subculture that can be seen across countless headshops today.

Now, it’s a common fact that almost every stoner has smoked a bong or owns one. Bongs have become popular in the cannabis subculture, and many will remember the iconic scene in Grandma’s Boy, where a glass bong was used as a flower vase. Nevertheless, many will ask, what are they made from, how do you use them, and why?

What is a bong?

A bong, often called a water pipe, is a smoking apparatus used to consume dried herbs and hash. The word bong is derived from baung, and the word’s first use in Western culture was in the McFarland Thai-English Dictionary, published in 1944. A bong was described as “a bamboo waterpipe for smoking kancha, tree, hashish, or the hemp plant.”

They are vertical, with a base for the water to sit in and a chamber for the smoke to collect in. Like a pipe, the bowl is where the cannabis is burned and connects to the base with a short tube. It pulls smoke through the water into the vertical chamber, ready to inhale.

The water in the bong provides a means of filtration, cooling the smoke before it is inhaled into the consumer’s lungs. They come in various shapes and sizes and can be made from five mediums, but more on that later!

How do bongs work?

The bong works on fundamental physics. When igniting your dry flower, it will start to combust and release smoke, which will be drawn through the downstem into the chamber. Once you begin to inhale, a vacuum inside the bong is created.

The smoke percolates through the water, which acts as a diffuser to cool the smoke before it rises into the chamber. Because the outside pressure is greater than the pressure inside the chamber, the smoke will be left inside until the carb or bowl is removed. Once the airflow is opened, the smoke will rush into the lungs.

Why do people use bongs?

Compared to other methods of consuming cannabis, the bong is, by far, one of the easiest. For example, there is no need to roll, and you can easily manage dosing requirements. They are ideal for consuming a minimal amount of cannabis, giving you a large dosage while using minimal amounts of dried flowers.

During inhalation, joints can often be harsh on the throat. Consuming cannabis through a bong lowers the temperature of the smoke through water filtration, providing a smoother hit. When smoking a joint, cannabis emits a pungent aroma which accumulates in the air, which may cause unwanted attention. Bongs limit the amount of smoke and are an excellent alternative.

What materials can bongs be made of?

Bongs can be made from five primary materials, and each has its advantages and disadvantages, so let us take a look at each:

1. Glass

Glass bongs are the most popular within the cannabis community, giving you a clean and pure taste. They come in many different styles and shapes, some extraordinarily extravagant and attractive.

Seeing the smoke rise in the chamber is incredible and is an excellent indicator of the size of the bong hit. However, be warned that if you don’t clean your bong regularly, you will see a gradual build-up of resin, and glass is a highly fragile material.

Luckily, they’re straightforward to clean using isopropyl alcohol. Putting your bong in the dishwasher is not recommended, as high temperatures can lead to cracking and a build-up of unwanted resin in the cleaning department of your washer.

2. Bamboo

Bamboo bongs are traditional throughout Asia and have been used for centuries. Handcrafted from natural bamboo, they are basic but provide an effective consumption method. Bamboo is highly durable and perfect for those social occasions if you have an incredibly clumsy group of friends.

Most bamboo bongs will have beeswax lining to avoid the build-up of tar. In terms of cleanability, they require a more intricate cleaning process compared to other materials to help preserve the delicate lining.

3. Acrylic

If you want a cost-effective option, acrylic bongs are the cheapest on the market, highly durable and long-lasting. They’re great for beginners looking for an entry-level bong.

Nevertheless, there are several drawbacks to acrylic bongs. They are rudimentary, and unlike glass or ceramic, they begin to taste harsh after the first few hits, hindering the smoking experience. Although they can be cleaned, removing the accumulation of resin is a very time-consuming process.

If you want a bong to display, steer away from acrylic bongs. But, if you’re looking for a sturdy, hardwearing bong for travelling and parties – this could be it.

4. Ceramic

Ceramic absorbs and dissipates heat faster than glass, providing a smooth, flavoursome hit. As ceramic is widely available, they are much more affordable than glass. It’s a highly versatile material and can be customised into various shapes. Perfect if you are looking for a novelty display or a piece for those special occasions. Ideal for the creative smoker and artist among us!

Most ceramic bongs have glazed interiors to avoid resin build-up within the chamber. Many prefer to clean the bong manually rather than put it in the dishwasher to prevent damaging the glaze.

5. Silicone

A newcomer to the world of cannabis paraphernalia, silicone bongs are durable, lightweight, extremely portable and ideal for travelling. It’s an incredibly versatile and flexible material that can be moulded into any shape and size. 

Like glass, the different parts of the silicone bongs can be removed, making them easier to clean. However, some preparation is required before, including a rinse with vinegar, as hot and soapy water won’t be enough to remove resin from the deepest crevices of the bong.

Inevitably, your glass bong won’t last forever, and silicone is an ideal alternative if you want a reasonably priced bong.

Male vs female bong?

Before explaining the parts of the bong, we need to discuss how you determine if the bong you are using is male or female. Most dry-flower bongs will be female, which means the bowl will fit into the joint rather than be placed over the top. Male connections can be found on dab rigs designed for consuming concentrates.

Parts of a bong

Knowing what you’re looking at is vital if you want to make the most of your bong. Let’s dig into the eight main parts and their functions.

Mouthpiece

The mouthpiece is where you will put your mouth when inhaling. The lip is smooth and level, allowing you to create a tight seal around the mouthpiece for optimal usage. Traditionally, the mouthpiece was horizontal. Over time, the mouthpiece became vertical, which is more user-friendly. With the explosion of creativity in the glass-blowing subculture, the possibilities are endless, and you’ll come across a wide variety of mouthpieces.

Chamber

This is where the bellows of smoke are collected before being inhaled through the mouthpiece. The larger the chamber, the more you will inhale!

Base

The bottom of the bong is called the base, where the water sits. The water acts as a diffuser for the combusted smoke before the chamber is filled with smoke. There are various styles, including beakers, straight tubes, and bowls.

Joint

The joint is where the downstem is placed and connects the chamber with the bowl. Some bongs with a fixed stem will not have a downstem, and the bowl will go directly into the joint. It is one of the bong’s most critical parts, as, without the joint, you cannot pull water from the bowl into the chamber.

Downstem

The hollow tube connecting the bowl and chamber is called the downstem. It provides the suction to pull smoke from the bowl, into the downstem and through the water. Most downstems have a female connection and can be found in three main sizes, 10, 14 and 18 mm.

Bowl

A bowl has space for dried herbs and a small carburetor, which goes directly into the downstem. It is vital to keep this clean, as it can dramatically affect the taste of your cannabis. The bowl should be removable with a female connection, which means it can fit directly into the joint. Bowls can come in various shapes and mediums, including glass, aluminium, and ceramic. Depending on the magnitude of the bong, they are mainly available in 10, 14, and 18 mm.

Percolator

Percolators come in many different forms, and similar to water, they help with additional filtration. While most are additional compartments in the main chamber, some can be added as attachments.

Percolators pull the smoke from the downstem through another water filtration, forcing it through tiny holes and breaking the smoke molecules into small bubbles, increasing its surface area. With a larger surface area, the temperature of the smoke will decrease, making the experience smoother.

Carburetor

A carburetor, commonly known as the carb, is a small airflow hole in the bong’s base. It allows you to control airflow and should be covered when lighting the dried flower. Once the cherry has been ignited, you can control the burn by increasing or decreasing air through the carb. Once the chamber is filled, remove your finger; the air will rush into your lungs, like removing the downstem or bowl.

How to use a bong

Now that you are familiar with the parts of the bong, here is a step-by-step guide to using a bong!

1. Prepare the bong

Firstly, check that the bong is crystal clean and that you can access high-quality cannabis flowers. Fill the bong with the correct amount of water. Begin to pour the water through the mouthpiece, ensuring the downstem is submerged correctly.

It is recommended to try pulling air through the bong before adding dry flowers. Too much water and you will be getting bong water in your mouth during inhalation. Too little water and the smoke will be very harsh, causing you to cough.

2. Pack the bowl

Grind your cannabis with a grinder before packing the bowl, as this will create optimal burnability and ensure your flowers do not block the bowl. Depending on your requirements, you can put as much cannabis in the bowl as desired. A pipe screen is also optional if you do not want any cannabis being pulled through the downstem and into the water.

Grab a small amount of ground cannabis, place it into the bowl, and tap it down. Don’t pack the cannabis too tight, as it will cause a lack of airflow and decreased burnability!

3. Light the bowl

Using a hemp wick, light the bowl centrally while continuing to breathe in on the mouthpiece. Inhaling from the mouthpiece will pull the combusted smoke into the downstem and through the water before filling the chamber. Be warned, the harder you inhale, the greater volume of smoke inside the chamber.

4. Inhale and clear the chamber

First, ensure you have filled the chamber with the required volume of smoke. Then remove the bowl, or if the bowl and downstem are attached, remove the downstem or your finger from the carb. This allows optimal airflow, pushing the smoke through the downstem, filling the chamber and directly into your lungs. Inhale and exhale.

How to clean a bong

It is always recommended to clean your bong after every session to avoid the building up of unwanted resin, which can hinder your smoking experience. Many bong cleaning products are on the market, but 99% isopropyl alcohol and coarse salt are usually the go-to method. 

  1. Take apart the components of the bong and place the downstem and bowl into a zipper-locked bag filled with an isopropyl alcohol solution with warm water.
  2. The larger chamber can be filled with the same solution, cover the mouthpiece and shake. Then leave for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Empty the remaining water from the larger chamber, and remove the minor components from the ziplocked bag. Rinse twice with soap and water, and leave to dry. 
  4. Carefully put the bong back together, refill, and enjoy!

Practice makes perfect

Like with everything, practice makes perfect. Now that you have learned about the bong parts and how to use one, you can understand how to maximise each session. Before you know it, you’ll be packing bowls for all your friends!

Many cannabis connoisseurs recommend using a glass bong to thoroughly enhance your smoking experience, as it provides both a clean and flavoursome hit. With an ever-growing glass-blowing community, there is a wide variety of unique pieces, and there is definitely a bong out there for you!

Do you have a favourite bong, or do you have some great tips on keeping your bong clean? Please let us know in the comments below.

  • Disclaimer:

    Laws and regulations regarding cannabis use differ from country to country. Sensi Seeds therefore strongly advises you to check your local laws and regulations. Do not act in conflict with the law.



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Drink Whiskey Like A Literary Legend

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Hemmingway shared “I have drunk since I was 15, and few things have given me more pleasure.”

Whiskey is one of the things which legends are made. From the Greeks to the Irish, it has developed into an elixir delighting the taste buds and occasionally the brain. There is something adult, worldweary, and strong about holding a glass of the brown water. From early times to the Wild West, it appears again and again in stories and modern myths. It is no wonder authors have been captured by its amber hue. Here is a guide so this weekend you can drink whiskey like a literary legend.

John Steinbeck

While John Steinbeck’s favorite drink was the Jack Rose, he made an impact on the imagine of whiskey with his most famous book. The liquor makes an appearance in several of Steinbeck’s books, including his magnum opus, The Grapes of Wrath. Tom Joad drains a pint in the early chapters as he makes his way back to the family homestead. His uncle John, meanwhile, has a well-known proclivity for whiskey and “jake,” an infamous Prohibition-era patent medicine that was both mostly alcohol and known to cause nerve damage.  Times may be tough, but whiskey is always there it seems.

Related Story: Breaking Down The Major Categories Of Whiskey

Ernest Hemingway

The daring hero of the Spanish Civil War, WWII and the inventor of the Great Gatsby, Ernest Hemingway was fond of many drinks. While most people probably associate him with daiquiris or absinthe (not bad choices), he was a prodigious whiskey drinker. Supposedly his real-life drink of choice was a scotch and soda. Seems reasonable since it appears more frequently in his writing than any other—notably in The Snows of Kilimanjaro. In the autobiographical A Moveable Feast, he pounds quite a few whiskeys between rounds of smack-talk about F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein.

Dorothy Parker

The American poet, writer, critic, wit, and satirist helped create a moment with the Algonquin Round Table. The gathered wit and wisdom of creative leaders in the day traded barbs, insight and stories while handling a highball. While her most quoted bon mot was about vodka, scotch was her passion.  Sipping on it though the day made her feel cheerful and loose, clever remarks spun spontaneously from her lips, until everyone was falling down with laughter and she felt appreciated and loved.  Never did Dorothy appear drunk. But she was seldom completely sober either. 

Here is the vodka bon mot:

“I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.”

Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming was a British upper crust intelligence officer who mingled with the powerful and the connected.  He went on to massive fame creating his great alter ego, Jame Bond. While Bond is know for drinking a vodka martini (shaken, not stirred), the MI6 agent has also indulged in plenty of whiskey like Fleming. Although several of the Bond films feature Talisker or Macallan, in the books, he often drank bourbon, a choice that was apparently based on Ian Fleming’s real-life preference for the American “Old Grandad” bourbon.

Related: The Perfect Ice-Cold Martini

Supposedly, Fleming switched from gin to bourbon on the advice of his doctor, who thought it might be marginally less damaging to his ailing heart.

William Faulkner

Like his contemporary, Hemingway, the southern gothic master drank constantly; unlike Hemingway, who preferred to write “cold,” Faulkner’s writing was fueled by bourbon, corn whiskey, and mint juleps. Whiskey features in his writing, too: Joe Christmas, a central character in his 1932 novel Light in August, is a bootlegger in the Prohibition-era south.

So next time you feel thirsty, here is how to drink whiskey like a literary legend.

 



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Blue Christmas

Elvis And Marijuana

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He was the king of Rock & Roll, but what about Elvis and marijuana

He changed music and had a huge impact in the industry.  He captured the emotions of a generation and lead the way for the Beatles, Queen, Sting, all the way up to Taylor Swift and Drake. He still holds the record for Most Top 40 hits at 114 total and has sold over one billion records worldwide. Elvis’s music has more than 30 million monthly Spotify listeners. In December, his music climbed to No. 1 on the Rock Streaming Songs Chart with his favorite “Blue Christmas.”

RELATED: Science Says Medical Marijuana Improves Quality Of Life

But what about Elvis and marijuana? The Musican had a troubled history with drugs, but what about his relationships with cannabis?  Growing up in Tupelo, Mississippi, he was brought up in a faith background. He won three Grammy awards during this lifetime, all for gospel music. His death in 1977 shook the world.  At the time he was bloated, sad, and overusing drugs…but was marijuana in the mix?

Elvis was part of the mainstream culture, but he started the move from strait-laced to a more open mindset. His swinging hips was the first step on the path to sexual freedom and a more robust love of daily life.  But for Elvis it came at a price.  Quickly becoming an icon, he struggled with the fame, the tour, and how his image didn’t always match what he felt as his true self.

He definitely experimented with illicit drugs. Elvis and then wife Priscilla tried LSD together and spent quite a while giggling and looking at Elvis’s fish tank. But they didn’t like the after effects and didn’t try it again. In Alana Nash’s book he consumed marijuana for medicinal purposes after his eye trouble, and also probably smoked it other times. Priscilla shared he occasionally had edibles.

But his true love was legal prescription pills. When he went to the army, he was already addicted to amphetamines and later on opioids and barbiturates were added to help him sleep and come down from the amphetamines.

RELATED: 5 Morning Activities To Help You Feel Happier

Presley, with his music and dancing, represented sexual liberation. He also brought traditionally black music to the mainstream which became a thread in the civil rights movement.  Despite a conservative upbringing, he wound up opening the path for modern thinking.  While he didn’t endorse marijuana, he changed the mindset which also started a change in the way the public, especially the younger set, thought about cannabis.



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binge eating

Exploring the Link Between Cannabis Use and Binge Eating

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A study by Drexel University researchers published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology delves into the relationship between cannabis use and binge eating. The study, involving participants seeking treatment for this eating disorder, found that over 23% reported recent cannabis use, suggesting a potential association between the two.

Researchers at Drexel University have embarked on a study to understand the connection between marijuana use and this eating disorder, a condition characterized by uncontrollable eating habits. The study, which appears in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, aims to shed light on the frequency of marijuana use among individuals with this eating disorders and its impact on the severity of their condition and mental health.

Previous inquiries into how cannabis influences eating patterns have been made, but the specific effects on binge eating remain largely unexplored. Binge eating involves episodes of excessive food consumption accompanied by a sense of loss of control. Earlier studies suggest that cannabis may enhance the pleasure derived from eating, particularly foods high in sugar or fat, potentially playing a role in binge eating behaviors.

Megan Wilkinson, the study’s lead author and a doctoral student at Drexel University, emphasizes the importance of understanding the nuances of cannabis use in the context of binge eating to improve clinical screenings and recommendations. The study involved a group of participants undergoing treatment for binge eating, who reported their alcohol and cannabis consumption. Notably, more than 23% of the 165 participants indicated using cannabis in the past three months, highlighting a possible link to binge eating.

Participants who used cannabis reported a strong inclination towards its use and a higher frequency of alcohol consumption, although they did not exhibit more severe eating disorders or depression symptoms. This finding suggests that while cannabis and alcohol can affect appetite and mood, their combined use may not exacerbate eating disorder severity.

The research also involved interviews and surveys to assess binge eating experiences, depression, and other eating disorder symptoms, comparing marijuana users with non-users. The results revealed a significant portion of individuals with binge eating disorders also use cannabis, often alongside alcohol, which may influence their eating patterns and mood.

Wilkinson hopes this research will assist clinicians in treating binge eating by providing updated information on the prevalence of cannabis use among patients. She advocates for screening for cannabis and alcohol use in patients and assessing any related issues.

As the legal and social landscape around marijuana continues to evolve, further research into its relationship with eating disorders is deemed necessary. Wilkinson’s team plans to explore how cannabis use affects hunger and mood in individuals with binge eating, which could potentially exacerbate symptoms.

Why It Matters: Understanding the relationship between marijuana use and eating disorders is crucial for developing more effective treatment strategies for those struggling with eating disorders. This study highlights the need for healthcare providers to consider substance use in their assessments and treatment plans for patients with binge eating disorders.

Potential Implications: The findings could lead to more nuanced approaches to treating binge eating, incorporating considerations of substance use into therapeutic interventions. Further research may also influence policy and public health strategies regarding cannabis use and its potential impact on eating behaviors.

Source: High Times



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