Hit a Bong Like a Pro

The Basics of Using a Bong

Don’t you simply put the opening of the bong around your lips and inhale while you light the weed in the bowl?

In a sense, it “is” that simple, but actually, it’s a whole lot more. Read this article and become a real bong-hitting cannabis expert.

Bowl Size

Whether you attach a one-hit bowl, or a larger, party bowl, make sure that the bottom of the bowl has a small enough opening to hold the weed before and as it is lit.

You absolutely don’t want a party bowl with a bottom that’s so wide it needs a screen. When we’re talking bong pros, no screens are allowed. The reasoning to avoid screens with a bong abound – not smoking metal, not having to debunk your screen, not getting the dirty, ash taste, defeating the purpose of sucking down a satisfying hit and “carbing” at the end.

So, size of the bowl doesn’t matter as much, as long as it tapers to a narrow, one-hit opening at the bottom.

Party Bowl Weed Tokers

For the last 20 years, or so, many younger smokers fill an entire party bowl and then take “mini rips” and pass it on until the entire bowl has been cached.

If you’re going to participate in a party bowl, remember this change in bowl etiquette over the years: Old school party bowl or pipe toking believes that it’s proper to try to light the entire top of the bowl, in order to “get it going” for the rest of those hitting the bong.

More modern etiquette dictates the exact opposite.

To the younger crowd, and those older tokers in the know, lighting the entire top and leaving a secondary, burnt taste for everyone else is just plain rude. It’s almost as if you’re intentionally taking the best flavors for yourself and leaving the dregs for your friends.

That’s a no-no.

Nowadays, make an effort to light just the smallest part of the top of the hit. Leave as much green (or fresh brown, if that’s what you have) as possible for the next guy or gal. Let them get the full taste of lighting trichomes and inhaling the terpene combination unique to that strain.

In a minute, I’ll tell you exactly how to inhale on a party bowl, but first, let’s talk about …

One-Hit or Single-Rip Bowls

As mentioned above, if you have a party bowl that tapers to a one-hit opening at the bottom (about the width where a round toothpick just fits through the hole), you can use it for all your single-rip toking.

Anyway, there is an art to both filling and taking a single hit. This is why so many newbies are shying away from learning the skills needed to both fill and take a hit just big enough for one toker.

Here’s what it takes to master the art of filling the proper hit:

Filling the right-size hit – Contrary to the old adage of “if you don’t cough, you don’t get off,” coughing is NOT the goal of filling a bong hit for someone else or for yourself.

Too small, and they can hold the smoke in their lungs forever (until they run out of air), too big and they cough.

A good bong tender will learn his audience. Different sizes for different people. Fill a hit that can be held, but feels “almost” full. And if you fill one that’s too big or too small, adjust for the next round. (Sally takes humongous hits, and so does Ralph, but Morgan takes a baby-sized rip.)

How to Take a Bong Hit Like a Pro

Before we get into the art of inhaling the delicious smoke of a good, water-filtered bong hit, let’s take a look at the mistakes that newbies make.

Here’s a list of what you should AVOID doing:

  • Don’t suddenly stop inhaling before the hit is finished, causing the rest of the bowl to explode outward, leaving the bong bowl … and popping a lit cherry onto the table, floor, or clothing.
  • Talking mid-hit with smoke coming out of both bong and mouth makes for an awful image … and it’s wasteful.
  • Burning your finger with the improper angle of the lighter or match is a definite sign of a beginner.
  • Leaving the bong plugged for the next toker is just bad manners. If you plug it, clear it. (Or at least tell the next partoker that it needs a bong poke.)
  • Don’t forget to tamp your hit down over the bottom hole. Leaving the weed up top won’t make for a good hit.
  • Repeatedly coughing your lungs out on each hit. If you’re the one filling, then adjust. And if you’re the recipient of the continuously-over-packed bowl, then stop inhaling early. (Bring it to a slow halt; practice not popping out the rest of the hit.) Then finish off your hit with a second, small hit before passing or refilling the utensil.
  • Don’t blow your hit on anyone, unless it’s in understood, playful fun. Even if you have to crane your neck back and exhale your hit straight up in the air, avoid hitting someone in the face with your second-hand smoke. And don’t cover their clothes with that smoky smell either.

Practice With Small Hits

Okay, here’s how to take a single-hit bong rip, from start to finish….

  1. Take a small pinch of weed, and put it in your bong bowl.
  2. Tamp it down to the bottom, so it completely covers the hole of the bowl.
  3. Exhale all the air out of your lungs.
  4. Hold the bong so that the bowl is to the front, and if there is a carburetor, you’ll find a hole in the back.
  5. Cover the carb hole with your thumb. If you pull the bowl up and out, slide fashion, then perform a small practice pull, to make sure you’re ready when the time comes. Sometimes uncleaned bongs can stick.
  6. Light the top of the hit, slowly inhaling the entire time.
  7. Always light the hit, slowly inhaling at first. Increase the force of your inhaling as the hit progresses.
  8. The instant you suck the last of the hit down the small hole in the bowl, you want to carb. To carb a hit, you add a small (See Warning, below) source of air while still inhaling. This allows you to quickly empty the chamber still filled with smoke. You finish off the hit.
  9. Older generation says: Hold that smoke in for a bit. Even though vaporizer users claim you don’t have to hold in a hit, I still believe the longer, the better. You want to balance it; hold a long time, but don’t bust a vein, and don’t cough your lungs out.
  10. After holding, say ten seconds, slowly exhale the hit, away from any companions.
  11. 10.5. Newer generation says: Hold the hit if you want or can, but it’s not necessary. Once your lungs have been exposed to the smoke, you’re good to go. Holding it longer can make you cough- coughing expands the surface of your lungs, allowing your body to process more of the smoke faster. This means you’ll get higher faster. Sometimes this is good, sometimes it can induce headaches. Or- take the hit, exhale, and force yourself to cough (more comfortably) to get the same effect.
  12. Make sure the bong bowl is clear before filling the next hit (or passing the bong to someone else to fill).

Let’s talk about step #8 for a minute. In order to be able to perform a good carburation of your hit, you have to save some air. If your hit sucks through right as you run out of air, then you, pardon the pun, blew it.

Right as the last of the hit goes down is the time to show your skill – either take your thumb off the hole and increase the force of your inhale, or pull the bowl and the inner stem (slide) up just enough to allow some extra air, and finish off the smoke in the tube of the bong.

Warning: If you take the bowl and stem all the way out while inhaling with force, and you’ll probably suck in a mouthful of awful-tasting bong water. Remember, you just need to lift the bowl enough to allow a little extra air in.

We’re going to end this article with a discussion of how and why to take a slow hit ,but first, let’s talk about taking a bong hit from a party bowl….

Party Bowl Bonging

  1. Prepare your weed. Don’t just pack a bud into the bowl. Take out the stems, break it up, or run it through a weed grinder.
  2. Put a little weed in the bowl and tamp it down with a finger. Add more and tamp, and continue adding, until you have a bowl filled with lightly tamped weed. (Not so tightly packed that it won’t light, not so loose that you risk losing some of the herb, mid smoke.)
  3. As in a single hit, position the bong so that the bowl is away from your body, facing forward, and the bong carb, if there is one, is to the rear, with your thumb over it.
  4. Exhale in preparation for taking the hit.
  5. Light just the smallest part of the top of the bowl. Your goal is to get a complete lung-full while disturbing the bowl as little as possible.
  6. Continue inhaling, until you’re ready to carb. Remember to save a little air for the last part of the hit.
  7. This time, you won’t suck anything down. You want to take your finger off the hole while continuing to suck, so that you don’t pop the rest of the hit out of the bowl with a small gust of air from the bong. (The same goes for lifting a slide on a party bowl. Slowly, and just a little, while you SLOWLY finish inhaling.
  8. Pass the bong and lighter to the next person, while you still hold in your smoke. Don’t waste any time passing the bong to the next in line. Keep the party going. (And if you’re smoking alone, then hold in your hit for a bit, exhale, and repeat the steps, with the next uncached part of the hit.)
  9. Eventually, the last bit of the party bowl should go down the hole. If not, you need to poke it, before refilling.

Did you notice that with a party bowl, you end your hit with a SLOW inhale, rather than increasing the force to suck it down as with a single-bowl hit?

With a party bowl, you carb while slowly hitting it. Then, if you want to clear the bong, you take a last quick chamber-clearing suck.

Your goals are to avoid popping anything out of the bowl, and to avoid inhaling a mouthful of water. You can achieve this with a slow transition and then a big finish.

And speaking of slow …

The Art of the Slow Beginning

You should think of taking a good bong hit, like slowly building speed. You start slow, and then end with a big rush of a carb-emptying chamber suck. Kaplowy.

But really, why start slowly? Isn’t is all the same?

Actually, no; it isn’t.

Think of all the crystally trichomes that coat the surface of good bud. They are delicate. They contain the amazing-tasting terpenes that make that strain of flower unique.

Now, think of the word decarboxylate. When you make hash, you slowly heat the kief, until it decarboxylates. Not only is this necessary for edibles, but decarboxylated hash yields more of a narcotic, and many say stronger effect than raw kief.

Now believe it or not, if you hit your weed with a slow flame, bringing it close enough to burn the hairs off the hit or singe the top but not ignite the entire hit … you will get higher.

Note: Also, if you should learn the art of the slow hit for concentrates. For example, don’t touch the flame to a hit of full-melt bubble hash. It will bubble up and implode, leaving barely any residue just by holding the flame near it.

Also, by building slowly, you can better gauge whether you’ll be able to take the entire hit, when you pick up speed, or if you should quit early.

If you can take the entire hit, remembering to leave room to carb at the end, great. That’s the way it should be … at least with a single hit. If, on the other hand, you need to stop early to avoid coughing your lungs out, or if you’re smoking on a party bowl, then you have some decisions to make:

  1. Will you clear the chamber of smoke, or will you put your hand over the top, trapping the smoke in, and then get back to it quickly, before the smoke stales in the chamber?
  2. If you decide to cap it with the palm of your hand, then don’t pass it to someone else, unless the smoke is something special, like a very expensive concentrate.
  3. If you clear the chamber, then you have to decide whether it’s better to finish the hit yourself, and fill a fresh one for the next person, or if you have to, out of necessity, pass the rest of the hit to someone else to finish.
  4. Once you down the hit, maybe you shouldn’t fill it. It could be that the next person in line has his or her own special strain to share with the party. Know the score before you pass the stick.

Another Note: A good friend of mine (and his mother) have euphemistically named any bong a Talking Stick. Why?

Because, if you smoke and get instantly high, you may start talking … and forget to pass the bong. It has become the tribal and proverbial talking stick.

Avoid committing this faux pas!

Even if you’re about to pass out, okay well not if you’re about to drop a glass bong, but anything short of that … pass the bong. Then enjoy the effects of your combustible efforts … feel the smoke permeate your lungs into your entire body.

Remember, no talking sticks … unless you’re purposefully trying to slow the flow. Hmm.

Final Thoughts

Write to Rip K. with any bonging questions. Maybe, together, we could create a Bong Hit Article Part 2.

Hasta la Hash!