Find a bong, New Zealand may soon turn green
There are a number of ways to consume cannabis. The drug can be smoked, vaped, eaten, and even applied to the skin. Innovative methods of cannabis consumption are today’s hot topic, and this is perhaps due to the resilience of the drug despite its illicit status, as well as the global trend towards legalisation.
Cannabis isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and governments around the world recognise this fact. New Zealand is one of them, as it recently legalised cannabis for medical use a few months ago in December of 2018. This is usually the first step towards more relaxed recreational cannabis policies, as seen in other regions world wide. New Zealand is no different – the country has set a timetable for a recreational cannabis referendum next year that will put the decision of recreational cannabis legalisation in the hands of its citizens.
This is certainly good news for marijuana enthusiasts and innovators alike. With so many cannabis consumption methods already available, creative minds are building on older gadgets and contraptions to improve the cannabis experience in anticipation of a change in the cannabis tide.
One age-old weed equipment that seems to have maintained its concept for ages, however, is the bong. This device has lasted for centuries, and unlike cannabis bans, it shows no sign of fading away anytime soon.
Here, we break down the multi-purpose contraption to tell you all you need to know about buying a bong.
What is a bong?
Though strongly associated with the Hippie movement of the 1960s, bongs have a history that dates much farther back than that. Bongs have been a massive part of cannabis culture in both ancient and modern times. They can easily be said to be one of the oldest ways to consume cannabis.
A bong – also referred to as a water pipe – is a device used to smoke cannabis, tobacco or herbal extracts. Bongs work by passing smoke from cannabis through water or ice as a part of a filtration process to give a cooler, smoother, and more satisfying smoking experience. Their origins can be traced back to 400 B.C. Russia, where the earliest smoking pipe to date was discovered. For cannabis use, however, credit China in the 1600s.
The word ‘bong’ is a U.S. (United States) slang derived from the Thai word ‘buang’, which means ‘a cylindrical wooden pipe’. The word rose to popularity in the 1960s following the influence of Vietnam War veterans and Bob Snodgrass, who is fondly referred to as the godfather of modern-day water pipes.
Bongs Today: A Buyer’s Choice
Modern-day bongs are fabricated with a wide array of materials ranging from glass to metal. Each material has its own advantages when placed against the others, and are utilised based mostly on consumer preferences.
Some of these modern types of bongs include:
- Glass bongs: Today’s most popular type of bong.
- Plastic bongs: Today’s second most popular.
- Ceramic bongs: These are also quite popular, but not as popular as plastic and glass bongs given their weight.
- Bamboo bongs: These are traditional, akin to ancient bongs. They are very durable.
- Metal bongs: These are very rare.
Given the varying uses, bongs can be bought in actual brick and mortar shops, as they can’t be aligned to cannabis use alone. In New Zealand, you can find them in tobacco stores and other stores that sell tobacco paraphanelia and vapourisers. Bongs can also be purchased online through a number of websites.
Prices of bongs vary. You can find a bong for as cheap as $5, or as expensive as $200. Extreme cases exist, however, for bongs that can certainly be referred to as collector’s items. In fact, don’t be surprised to see such high-end bongs being slapped with a $100,000 (USD) price tag.
Benefits of the bong
Bong users typically choose this method for its benefits, some of which include:
- Ease of Use:
Bongs are extremely easy to use. Requiring little to no technical prowess – unlike rolling marijuana cigarettes, or “joints” – bongs are a simple and straightforward option.
- Smoother Hits:
Filtering the smoke through the water leaves it smoother and cooler, thereby making the experience more enjoyable
- Safer Smoke:
Besides smoothing and cooling, the water traps harmful substances created by burning cannabis, making the smoke even healthier.
- Ease of Maintenance:
Compared to accessories like vapourisers, bongs are very easy to maintain. Simply keep them clean.
Who should avoid them and who should use them?
Glass bongs are the most popular out there. This means they can be a bit fragile, breaking if dropped with enough force to create a pretty good impact. Thus, if you know you might have such accidents, stay away from bongs. They can also sustain dirt with lack of frequent cleaning, making them unhealthy. Thus, users who can’t keep them clean should avoid bongs. These contraptions are meant to be well-kept and taken care of, and can easily become a waste of money if treated carelessly.
On the other hand, bongs are generally very safe for your health. Unlike other smoking methods – blunts, pipes, vapourisers – bongs can trap up to 90% of harmful substances and carcinogens produced by burning cannabis. This is due to the water – by passing through water, harmful toxins are filtered away, leaving the smoke to be inhaled as ‘healthy’ as possible.
Thus, those who are looking for a safer cannabis smoking method, bongs are a great alternative. They are also great for those who want to skip the hassle of rolling a joint. These devices also have the tendency to pack a harder punch, when compared to joints.
Cannabis may soon become a legal substance for recreational use. Although one can already purchase bongs legally, this is welcome news to those who want to use their bongs for cannabis in the open. These devices have a long history, presumably existing in one form or another, even before cannabis was known. There is a reason they’ve lasted this long, and you can expect their functionality to improve with innovative ideas with any positive cannabis legislative development.
While bongs may be a healthy alternative to joints, hygiene must remain a top concern in their use. It is very important to keep your bongs clean and well kept. Water from previous smoking sessions should not be re-used under any circumstances, as this nullifies the filtration system. If hygienic standards are met, bongs are one of the safest methods in which consumers can use cannabis.