bong or pipe
bong or pipe

Bong versus Pipe - Which Is Best For Smoking Cannabis?

If you are going to smoke cannabis which is better a bong or pipe?

Posted by:
BehindTheWaves on Wednesday May 30, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Smoking Pipes and Bongs

Bong or Pipe? What's the Best Way to Smoke Weed? from CannabisNet on Vimeo.

Smoking a pipe might be what your granddad did in the 60’s, but pipes have developed in terms of material, shape and design, since then. One of the traditional forms of smoking cannabis is through a pipe, and even with the rise in popularity of vaping, using a pipe, bong, or bubbler, it is still a very popular way to get all those delicious cannabinoids into your bloodstream.

The ultimate guide to smoking pipes is a bold claim, but you should be well on your way to pipe-use in one of the most satisfying ways by the end of this article. Soon, you will be puffing merrily away on the perfect pipe for you.


Why Smoke Cannabis in a Pipe?

The major reason most people smoke a pipe is to avoid having to smoke spliffs or roll-your-owns. The Americans generally aren’t too keen on smoking tobacco with cannabis, even in joints, but many Europeans (especially the Brits) smoke cannabis blended with tobacco. It does not need to be overstated that smoking tobacco is just about the worst thing you can do to your health, so avoiding it is obviously a good thing. That is not to say that cannabis smoke is healthy: it is not. It is, however, nowhere near as addictive. Some of the science is conflicting, with pure cannabis smoke being seen as less harmful than tobacco. It is difficult to tell exactly the health risks of smoking cannabis through a pipe, but it certainly is not good for you.

That said, as an alternative to smoking tobacco, it wins the day. Smoking cannabis through a pipe is one of the quickest ways of getting cannabis into the body, and the relatively small amounts most people smoke (compared to tobacco) mean that the associated health risks are much lower than regular tobacco use.

Another reason is that it is easy. Rolling a doobie can be complicated. Popping a fat bud into the pipe and taking a whack is as simple as consumption can get. It is convenient, too. All that is required is the pipe, the cannabis and a source of heat.

Furthermore, it can be cheaper than vaping. Of course, a hand-blown bong from a master glassblower can cost hundreds of dollars, but small glass pipes from a local shop can cost as little as $15 and get the job done.

One last reason: flavour and sensation. For some people, smoking cannabis is unbeatable because of the taste of the smoke and the sensation of inhaling. Especially when it is cooled by ice or water. Vaping just doesn’t do it for some people. The ultimate guide to smoking pipes understands this.


Which Pipe or Bong to Choose?

When you are looking for a good pipe or bong, there are a few things to keep in mind. They all make a difference to the price, durability, smoking sensation and quality of the smoke, so it is good to have explored them all before making a choice. This ultimate guide to smoking pipes has the answers.



There are three materials most popularly used for bongs and pipes. Plastic is for the cheapest of the cheap and rarely found in pipes, mostly bongs. Worries about inhaling hot plastic fumes are a concern to many people, which is understandable.

Wood is another material used. In fact, the word bong came from the Thai for “cylindrical wooden tube”. A sustainable choice, it can be a light, portable and durable choice for a bong or pipe.

Glass is seen as the ideal pipe material. Glass is inert, so it will not react with your smoke, ensuring it is the purest possible smoke. Glass also has remarkable heat insulating properties, so a user can have a flame burning the herbs for a long time before noticing their fingers are getting too warm. This is ideal for portable pipes. Also, glass pipes can look amazing and they feel good to use. Intense colours and designs can be incorporated into glass, making them works of art as well as useful smoking devices.


Pipes or Bongs?

Pipes are useful for a quick toot on the go, or for convenient blazing in a place where discretion is needed, or where a bong would not be convenient. Some pipes are barely bigger than a finger, so can be slipped into and out of a pocket quickly and quietly for some discreet herbal enjoyment. Also, pipes are generally cheaper than bongs, and so appeal to the cash-strapped users amongst us. The hit from a pipe can be harsh as the cooling pathway is very short. Glass pipes are better at cooling than other materials, but they still give a good whack. This could be too intense for some, so it’s a good idea to keep that in mind when first using one.

The appeal of a bong is the water/beer/wine/orange juice/whatever that the smoke is bubbled through. Strictly speaking, a bong can be used as an extra-long pipe without the liquid to cool the smoke, but that would be to defeat the purpose of the bong. By bubbling through a cool liquid (or even better, ice), the smoke is cooled and is therefore much easier to take huge hits comfortably. Many bongs have ice chambers or isolators so the smoke has to travel through some distance before hitting your mouth, giving ample time to cool down and be all the more enjoyable.


Using a Pipe or Bong

They both work in the same way: you pack the cannabis into the bowl, pack it down, apply flame to the herbs and inhale through the pipe. With a pipe, the hit will be immediate and strong. With a bong, however, you can “rack” the bong by drawing the smoke slowly into the chamber without inhaling any of it. Then you breathe out away from the mouthpiece, put your mouth back over the tube and inhale that bongful of smoke.

Do not, under any circumstances, blow through your pipe or bong. Many, many sessions have been spoiled by watching everything fly into the air, never to be seen again. You have been warned.


Picking a Pipe

First, know how much you want to spend. Websites and shops are brilliant at recommending more expensive alternatives, especially to novices in the field. Have an upper limit and stick to it. That said, investing in a good pipe can pay itself off in convenience and enjoyment over its lifetime.

Cheap pipes are best avoided. If they have aluminium bowls, the health risks of hot, biologically available aluminium could be disastrous. Not worth going there. Stainless steel is a good bet, as is ceramic. Glass is the best, but it is delicate. This author has broken 3.

If possible, try get a longer pipe length, it will give the smoke more time to cool. In a good store, they will let you handle the pipes before you buy, so get one that feels good. A big bowl means more smoking, so unless you are going for a party pipe, get one with a smaller bowl. Spoon pipes are the most popular type: small, usually glass, ideally suited for quick or long sessions, and portable. There are lots of varieties, so happy shopping!


Picking a Bong

As with pipes, know how much you want to spend. Then, look for what style. There are smaller, more easily hidden ones for a quick discreet blast on occasion. For a bong that will be a companion for a long time, pick a glass one. Hand-blown devices can have all sorts of gimmicks, but some of the best bongs are simple straight-shooters. Try them out, have a look.


Other Types of Pipes

What ultimate guide to smoking pipes would be complete without looking at chillums or bubblers?



These are used extensively on the Indian subcontinent. Cannabis is mixed with tobacco into a sort of goop, then pressed into the end of an enormous cone-shaped pipe. Fire it up, take a hit and pass it on. A very sociable way of smoking cannabis.



Bubblers can mean bongs, but also hookahs or shisha pipes. Put the herbs under hot coals on top of the glass bubbler, take a pull on the whip (the tube) and enjoy. Like a more sophisticated, oriental bong.


Straight Shooters

Made from anything, like Coke bottles or melons, straight shooters are just creative sorts of bongs. Worth an experiment with but better to go with a proper one in the long term.



Bong or Pipe - Which Is Best For Smoking Marijuana? from CannabisNet on Vimeo.








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