Bongs are one of the coolest and oldest methods of dry herb consumption. The use of a traditional bong incorporates water as its main feature. A large chamber housing a downstem allows for smoke to be sucked through the water and filtered out, delivering a much smoother and pleasurable hit.
In fact, there are bongs out there that use both warm and cold water as part of their features. This allows for cold water to first cool down and filter the hit, while the warm water reintroduces moisture into the smoke, creating an incredibly smooth hit that cuts down on those dreaded coughing episodes.
Bongs are notorious for inspiring a wicked cough session after a hit. This is due to the fact that bongs have very large chambers that accommodate more smoke. This next delivers those massive hits that can provoke a coughing fit that can last for a minute or two. Nonetheless, bongs are preferable to other methods of smoking.
The main method of using a bong is rather straightforward. Just like any other smoking device, a bong consists of a chamber, bowl, and elongated mouthpiece. Depending on how large your bong happens to be, more, or less water is filled until it covers the bottom half of the downstem.
Once the bowl has been loaded with dried material, the user lights up the bowl as he inhales. Smoke is drawn down into the water chamber and bubbles to filter out contaminants and other debris. The smoke fills the bong as it is sucked up into the main chamber. Once the desired level of smoke has been reached, the bowl is lifted, and the chamber is cleared.
Coughing is to be expected after taking a hit from a bong, so care must be taken to know what your limits are and what you can handle. Fortunately, some bongs have the added feature of being able to not only house water, but ice as well. This further cools down the hit and allows for the smoke to be filtered through the ice. An added bonus is that the ice melts and keeps the water in the main chamber cold.
Smoke is hot. As one lights a bowl and sucks in the smoke, heat is drawn into the water chamber as the bowl starts to get extremely hot. Care must be taken not to touch the bowl directly, instead opting to either lift through a handle or wait until it is cool enough to lift off the downstem. While cold water is good, it will not stay cold unless there is something there to maintain it. This is where the ice comes in.
Bowls usually have a small handle that can be used to lift off the bowl to clear the chamber. Other bowls are thick enough to lift off without the threat of getting burned, though it will be significantly warm to the touch. The main issue with smoke is sucking in all that heat into your lungs. This is where a bong stands out and really outshines other methods of smoking.
Not only does cold water cool down a hit, it also filters out particulate matter such as ash and other dried material that would otherwise be sucked into your lungs. Ice further cools down the hit and keeps the water consistently cold. As smoke passes through the cold water and through the ice via an ice catcher, the smoke is cooled down to a point where heat is eliminated from the smoke completely.
If possible, you will want to acquire either a bong that has an ice catcher built into it, or a bong that can utilize both cold and warm water in separate chambers. As stated earlier, cold water will have to be maintained somehow, so if your dual chamber bong has an ice catcher, all the better.
Cold water will comprise the lower chamber while warm water will be added to the upper chamber of your bong. This will allow the smoke to pass through both chambers to deliver the best possible hit. The cold water will filter, cool down, and essentially dry out the hit. Ice further adds to this and compounds the effect.
Warm water will simply reintroduce moisture back into the smoke without heating it up too much. This will in turn deliver a hit that is smooth and less likely to cause any significant coughing, despite how big the hit may be. If all you have is a bong with an ice catcher, then you will want to make sure that you have enough ice to keep the water cold at the very least. This will be sufficient in cooling down and filtering the hit, even though you might be more likely to cough afterwards.
Putting ice in a bong changes the experience of a hit. Without ice, smoke simply passes through the water without any real change to its temperature. Ice maintains cold water composition and allows for the hits to be further processed into a smoother session. Ice serves the purpose to keep the smoke session comfortable.
Unlike pipes or other types of smoking devices that do not use ice or water, smoke remains hot, and the risk of inhaling ash and other hot particulates remains high, despite using a screen. Smoke is not cooled down and the likelihood of having a major coughing fit after a hit is to be expected.
If you have a bong that does not house an ice catcher, simply fill the chamber with ice cold water and manually feel the outside of the outer chamber to gauge how cold your bong water is. In this way, you will have cold water which will make your bong hits much more enjoyable.