How to Smoke a Bong


Learning how to smoke a bong can be a game-changer, it was for me at least. When it comes to consuming cannabis, one of the most common methods is by using a bong. This is because of how smooth a bong hits, the accessibility, the ease of use, and how quickly the effects of cannabis comes on. If you are a beginner to smoking cannabis then smoking out of a bong may look tricky, but it’s really simple. If you are worried about embarrassing yourself in front of your friends or you feel to shy to ask for help, this comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know about smoking a bong.

What is a Bong? Bong Components Explained

Before you read the comprehensive step by step guide on how to smoke a bong, you first need to understand each component of the bong and how it works. This will help you learn how to use it!

Bong: A bong is a filtration device used for smoking cannabis and tobacco. Bongs are popular because they filter the cannabis smoke through water which leads to a smoother hit. The following image is a diagram of all the components of a bong:

A diagram of the components of a bong. The mans hand holds the glass bong up with each component of it labelled.

Bowl Piece: This holds the cannabis and attaches to the downstem. It’s the shape of a bowl and has a hole in either end which allows the smoke to travel to the base.


Downstem: The connecting piece between the bong and the bowl piece. This holds the bowl piece in place and connects the bowl to the base. The downstem directs the smoke from the bowl piece to the base of the bong.

Carb: A hole on the side or back of the bong above the waterline. This is usually found on cheaper plastic bongs or bubbles. The purpose of a carb is to allow more airflow into the bong which can make it easier to inhale the smoke. We will explain this later on in the article.

Base: The bottom of the bong which holds the water inside. Also known as the ‘water chamber’ or ‘beaker’. This is where the smoke accumulates while the cannabis is being burned. These vary in size depending on the shape and size of the bong.

Neck: The tube on the bong that connects the top of the base to the mouthpiece. This is where the smoke travels when you are inhaling. These vary in length depending on the type of bong. The bong in the picture above is considered to have a long neck.

Mouthpiece: A small circular ring at the top of the bong. This is where you place your lips to create an airtight seal. It is the blue ring in the picture above.

Ice Catcher: This is used to hold ice cubes inside the neck of the bong. Some bongs come with these small pieces of glass that catch the ice and prevent it from falling into the base. People use ice cubes to make the hit smoother and cooler.

Beginners Guide to Smoking a Bong (brief explanation)

The basic steps to smoking a bong are as follows:

  • Step 1: Get a bong and fill it with water
  • Step 2: Grind your cannabis and pack cannabis into the bowl piece
  • Step 3: Light the cannabis and slowly inhale through the mouthpiece
  • Step 4: Pull the bowl piece out of the bong and continue inhaling
  • Step 5: Keep inhaling the smoke until there is no more smoke in the bong
  • Step 6: Put the bong down carefully and enjoy!

We go in-depth for each of these steps further down in this post.

What You’ll Need to Smoke a Bong

Step 1: Prepare the Bong

Fill the bong with water. The amount used will vary depending on the size and shape of the bong. A good rule of thumb is to fill the bong until the opening of the downstem is at least 1-inch under the water, as you can see in the picture below.

Fill the bong by pouring water through the mouthpiece (the opening at the top of the bong). The bong should be filled with enough water so the opening of the downstem is about 1-inch underwater. We recommend using cold water. You can add ice cubes if your bong has an ice catcher.

A glass bong filled with water sits on a black table. The bowl piece attached to it is a dark blue color.

Step 2: Grind the Cannabis

Grind the cannabis by using your hands, scissors, or a grinder. If you are using a grinder, break off a few small nugs of cannabis, making sure to remove any stems and seeds, and push them down into the teeth of the grinder. next, spin the top piece of the grinder back and forth until all the cannabis falls into the lower compartment. If you are using scissors or your fingers, try your best to grind the cannabis as fine as the picture below. This helps the cannabis burn evenly and creates better airflow.

If you’re using a grinder, there are three main types you will come across: two-piece grinders (one chamber), three-piece grinders (two chambers), four-piece grinder (three chambers). The gif above is of a four-piece grinder.

Two-piece grinders have a top and bottom lid that form one chamber. Open the grinder up and place the cannabis in the “teeth” or sharp points on the grinder. Close the lid and start spinning it back and forth until its ground to the desired consistency. When it’s ground evenly throughout, empty the cannabis onto a dry safe location or inside a ziplock bag.

Three-piece grinders have two chambers, the top chamber for grinding the cannabis and the bottom chamber for storing it. Open the top chamber and place the cannabis in the “teeth” or sharp points on the grinder. Close the lid and start spinning it back and forth until its ground to the desired consistency. Unscrew the bottom chamber to access the cannabis. You can store it in this chamber until you’re ready to smoke it.

Four-piece grinders have three chambers, the first chamber for grinding the cannabis, the second for storing it, and the third for catching the kief (trichomes that fall off the cannabis). Open the top chamber and place the cannabis in the “teeth” or sharp points on the grinder. Close the lid and start spinning it back and forth until its ground to the desired consistency. Unscrew the middle chamber to access the cannabis. You can store it in this chamber until you’re ready to smoke it. If you have kief stored in the bottom chamber, you can carefully scoop some on top of your bowl after you pack the cannabis into it.

If you’re using scissors slowly start cutting the cannabis into small pieces. Put the cannabis into a bowl and use the tips of the scissors to cut it up even more finely.

If you’re using your hands, you may be able to rub the cannabis buds in between your fingers. If it’s too sticky and not separating properly you can slowly start picking the leaves off one by one until you have enough to fill the bowl piece.

A green grinder with ground weed inside the storage chamber sits on a glass table.

Step 3: Pack the Cannabis into the Bowl Piece

Pack cannabis into the bowl piece. The bowl piece is the small glass or metal piece of the bong that sticks out and attaches to the downstem. It is in the shape of a funnel and allows the cannabis smoke to funnel into the bong.

First place the larger pieces of cannabis in the bowl (the ones that are roughly 0.5 cm or 0.2 inches in size), these will cover the hole and prevent the finely ground cannabis from falling through.

Pack the ground cannabis overtop until you are satisfied with the amount., However, make sure not to pack the cannabis down too hard otherwise you will clog the hole restrict the airflow. If you need to loosen it up, use a toothpick or your finger to loosen up the cannabis.

For beginners, start with a small bowl and figure out the amount of cannabis that best suits you. Everyone prefers different amounts. However, if you have never smoked out of a bong before, we recommend starting with a very small amount.

Step 4: Get a Lighter

Get a lighter that works! We recommend using a pocket lighter, but any type of lighter will do the trick! Have this beside you when your ready to begin smoking.

Some people like using hemp wick when smoking with a bong. This will allow you to smoke the cannabis without inhaling any of the lighter fluid. If you’re using a hemp wick, light the end of the cord with a lighter, and once the wick is on fire, proceed to use that as the flame to light your bowl.

Another alternative is using an electric lighter. These can be found on Amazon for relatively cheap. They don’t release harmful chemicals and are a safer option than regular lighters. They can also be recharged and used for long periods of time.

Step 5: Get Comfortable

Get comfortable before you begin using the bong. When using a bong, you should find a spot that you can relax and be comfy in. Most people like sitting when they smoke out of a bong but it is completely up to you.


Hold the bong with your non-dominant hand. You should be gripping the bong around the neck (the part that connects the mouthpiece to the base). Now your dominant hand is free, you will be able to use the lighter with it. If you are inside, sit near an open window unless you want the room to be filled with smoke. Grab a water or other beverage and have it near you for after you smoke and ensure there are no flammable objects near you.

Step 6: Take a Few Deep Breaths

Slowly take a few deep breaths. The extra oxygen in your system will allow you to inhale for longer durations. This will also help reduce the coughing along with being able to take the full hit from the bong.

When you’re ready to take a hit from the bong, take a deep breath out and empty your lungs. You are going to want to have as much capacity in your lungs as possible. This will allow you to inhale for longer.

Step 7: Put Your Mouth on the Mouthpiece

Place your lips inside the mouthpiece and form an airtight suction. Your lips should be on the inside of the mouthpiece and the rim of the mouthpiece should be pressing against the area around your mouth. When you go to inhale, make sure you make an airtight seal with your lips and the mouthpiece.

When you go to inhale your lips should be relaxed inside of the mouthpiece ring and lightly push your lips outwards to help form a seal.

A male sits down with a bong in between his legs. The weed is packed inside the bowl piece.

Step 8: Light the Cannabis

Using your free hand, ignite a lighter. Turn the lighter sideways and bring the flame to the bowl piece. The flame should be just touching the top of the cannabis.

  • Turn the lighter sideways so the flame can not come up and burn your fingers.
  • If you are using hemp wick, light the end of the hemp wick and bring the flame close enough to the cannabis to ignite it.

Step 9: Start Inhaling

Slowly start inhaling through the bong. The smoke should slowly start building up at the base of the bong. It should not be at your mouth or in your lungs yet. You’re just using your breath to draw as much smoke as possible into the smoke chamber. The smoke chamber and neck of the bong will start to get cloudy after a few seconds.

If you are a beginner to smoking bongs, a good rule of thumb is to inhale until the smoke fills half of the chamber. Inhale slowly as you are trying to draw the smoke in as gradually as possible. If you are using a plastic bong or one with a carb on it, place your finger over the carb while you are lighting the cannabis.

Step 10: Stop Lighting the Bowl

Take the lighter away from the bowl when you have enough smoke. Either place the lighter down or just hold it in your hand. Don’t stop inhaling and leave your mouth on the mouthpiece. You don’t want any smoke to escape.

A male smoking a bong. The smoke from the bong travels up the neck of the bong into the mouth.

Step 11: Inhale the Smoke

Remove the bowl piece from the downstem with your free hand, then slowly inhale the smoke. Inhale the smoke deeply so it enters your lungs. If you are using a plastic bong with a carb, remove your finger from the carb while inhaling.

If you’re running out of breath before you can inhale the smoke, remove your mouth from the mouthpiece and cover it with your hand quickly. Catch your breath. Then when you are ready, inhale the smoke. If there is still smoke leftover in the chamber you can use your hand and cover the mouthpiece. Then when your ready, you can inhale the rest. Only inhale what you want! You can take multiple small hits if that’s easier for you. Do whatever feels comfortable to you.

An individual inhaling from a water pipe. The water pipe is glass and has blue writing on the side.

Step 12: Exhale the Smoke

Slowly exhale the smoke. If you are inside, blow the smoke towards the window. If you are with a group of people, look up and blow the smoke towards the sky (this ensures you don’t blow it in other people’s faces).

Step 13: Put Bowl Piece Back

Place the bowl piece back into the downstem. If you are smoking alone and there is still cannabis leftover in the bowl, then you can relight it when you’re ready. If you’re with a group of friends and are sharing the bowl, pass it to the next person.

Step 14: Pack up the Bong

Remove the bowl piece and downstem then pour out the water. Make sure to pour out the water through the downstream hole. This is because you do not want the used bongwater touching the mouthpiece. After, give the bong a rinse with some clean water and put it back together. Store in a safe location.

Tips for Smoking a Bong

The main thing to remember when using a bong is it’s not a race. A slow inhale followed by a slow exhale will make the bong hit smoother. 1111Use cold water and ice cubes if possible. This will make the smoke ice cold when it enters your lungs and will make the hit smoother and more enjoyable.

Don’t hold the smoke in for longer than 3-4 seconds. Researchers have found that almost all the THC is absorbed in the first few seconds, so holding the smoke in longer is doing nothing but harm to your lungs.

Once you inhale all of the smoke, remove your mouth from the mouthpiece and inhale some fresh air without exhaling any smoke. This will ensure all the smoke enters your lungs.

You can use “hemp wick” when smoking a bong. This will allow you to smoke the cannabis without inhaling any harmful chemicals from the lighter like butane.

Clean your bong frequently. This will keep the bong from becoming gross. We have a comprehensive bong cleaning guide here.

FAQs About Smoking a Bong

Why do I have to remove the bowl piece when inhaling?

The reason to remove the bowl piece when inhaling is to allow better airflow through the bong. This will allow you to inhale the smoke quicker and easier which puts less strain on your lungs.

What should I do if i’m always coughing?

It’s normal to cough after smoking a bong hit. If you feel like your coughing too hard, there are a few things you can do:

– Pack a smaller amount of cannabis
– Fill the bong with cold water and ice cubes
– Inhale the smoke slowly but exhale it quicker (don’t hold it in as long)
– Use “hemp wick” when lighting the bowl
– Try a different strain of cannabis

Should I hold the smoke in my lungs?

When inhaling the smoke from a bong, you should only hold the smoke in for a maximum of 3-4 seconds. Researchers have found that almost all the THC is absorbed in the first few seconds. If you hold it for any longer you are just unnecessarily damaging your lungs.

Leave a Comment