The term “bong” came from the Sanskrit word “bhang” and was later translated to other cultures such as the Thai, where the term “buang” became synonymous with the modern-day water pipe known as the bong. Roughly translated from China, the word buang refers to a wooden or bamboo cylinder that holds water and is used to smoke dried herbs from.
Today’s modern-day bong uses the same method without the threat of molding or warping out. This is because bongs today are mostly made from either plastic, glass, or silicone. The term “water pipe” can also refer to a handheld bubbler which utilizes water inside its chamber. One of the main reasons why people used water in these devices was to filter out the smoke.
In today’s culture, this has extended to the luxury of also cooling down the hit with ice and other methods. Some people might wonder why anyone would bother using a screen of any kind if bong water basically does all the work. The truth is that using a screen has many benefits, which we will outline below.
Back in the day, using a screen was uncommon except for a few delectable connoisseurs. The use of a screen in a bong serves two main purposes. One is to make your bowl burn slower and more thoroughly without sucking it down the hole, and the other is to slow down the process in which your bong water gets dirty and needs to be replaced.
While it may be true that the water itself can handle filtering out the smoke, it will get dirtier much faster and potentially clog the downstem with the accumulation of resins and solid particles. What you really want is to just suck down the smoke into the water without the particulate matter. This is only possible with the use of a screen.
People used to use small pebbles before glass screens and other media were in circulation. Clay and wet leaves were also used inside a bowl to prevent sucking in the ash. Screens are useful enough to warrant using them in every bong and pipe, though there are ways to get around having to use one if you truly feel that they are unnecessary, or if you don’t have one.
As stated earlier, the water inside a bong usually takes care of filtering out the smoke and prevents you from sucking in the ash and other particulates. What you want to make sure of, however, is how you take a hit to prevent sucking down your dry herbs and potentially clogging up your downstem.
Taking slow, drawn-out breaths is a sure way of ensuring you do not suck down the material or the ash when not using a screen. Once you remove the bowl to clear out the bong, then you can use full force to clear it out. Unfortunately, once you reach the end of your bowl, it will be inevitable that you suck down some ash into the downstem and dirty the water.
Using clear glass will show you just how dirty the water is and can pinpoint the areas that need cleaning once your chamber is empty and ready for maintenance. Using a bong without a screen is fine so long as you clean it after every use. This will prevent all the gunk and residue from building up and clogging up your downstem.
Every time you take a hit from your bong without a screen, you will want to make sure that your bowl is packed tight enough that you won’t be sucking down material as it is being inhaled. A slow draw will create a decent hit without wasting your dry herbs down into the water chamber. You will eventually be sucking down particulates such as ash and dry herbs using this method, though the water will do its job of filtering it all out.
The main area of focus will be the downstem. This will get profoundly dirtier than the chamber itself and will need to be cleaned ideally after every smoke session. If you find that thoroughly cleaning it after every use is becoming too tedious, then at least make sure you clear out the downstem by pushing out all the gunk with a pen or something.
This will clear out the airway and allow you to take more hits without having to go in and manually clean it. The downside to this is that you will still end up with gunk accumulating faster in the downstem since there is sticky resin attached to the sides of the downstem. A good rinse with some hot water while pushing down inside the downstem with a pen will clear it out well enough to ensure a good smoke session.
Smoking from a bong is one of the oldest methods of dry herb consumption. While our ancestors used rocks and clay pebbles, and sometimes nothing at all when using their bongs, today’s smoke crowd will find that it is still doable with the right technique. If your hits are slow and drawn out instead of hard and fast, you will maintain your bong without a screen.
The truth is that it is much better to use a screen instead, though your bong will still function if you decide not to. Screens are very useful for keeping all the good stuff inside your bowl. This will prolong the session and get the most out of your dry herbs instead of wasting money sucking it down little by little inside the water chamber.
Always make sure that you use a screen when using a bong, though in times of need, the water inside will do just fine so long as you clean out the downstem after the session. In today’s environment, there really is no excuse for not being able to properly use your bong and have a screen inside the bowl.