Welcome back! It's the second part of our Back-to-Basics primer. You can read Part 1 here. This week, we'll be talking about how the technology of bong and pipes has changed over the last couple decades. Because things have changed A LOT. Just take a look:
So let's talk about some of the specific innovations that have taken place over the last couple decades...
Glass on Glass Fittings
This has been one of the biggest innovations in glass blowing. Before when you got a glass bong, it would always use a series of rubber grommets and gaskets to achieve a tight seal. These rubber fittings can degrade over time and eventually disintegrate. The sizing of the down stems was also somewhat irregular, making it more difficult to find the right size replacement. Now many bongs use glass etching and scientifically calibrated laboratory grade glass to ensure an airtight fit. There are a couple standard sizes so getting a replacement is easy. Don't worry, we do carry replacement pieces for both old skool and new bongs, and our knowledgeable staff can help you find the perfect fit.
What's better than one bong? Two bongs, obviously! Having a percolator in your bong makes a second chamber for water to get through, so your smoke is double filtered for a smoother hit. Bongs can have as many as 4 or more chambers of filtration, making it cleaner than that triple distilled vodka you used to use to wind down. These bongs also very often have specially designed ice catchers, making it even more crisp and refreshing. All those chambers can be difficult to keep clean, which brings us to...
Bong Cleaners & Pretreaters
Keeping your piece clean is important unless you like the distinctive stench and taste of old bong water. This can be done a few ways. Bong cleaners are generally classed as either abrasive or a soak, with pretty straightforward purposes. I like to use an abrasive for bongs to get into the percs and downstems, but I like a soak for pipes so I can “set it and forget it”. There are also pretreaters that you can add to your bong water to prevent resin forming in the first place, like the Rez block cleaner. Lastly, you can add flavouring to your clean bong water to get a customized flavor profile. Grape kush through blueberry flavoured water? Don't mind if I do. Or what about Rasta Rootbeer? Hell's yeah. One thing you should never add to your bong? Alcohol. For one thing, huffing alcohol is bad for you, and it won't even work. Alcohol filters out the cannabinoids you want, which is why tinctures are an effective means of extracting.
Bong cleaners are fantastic, but if even that seems like too much work, silicone is for you. This space age material is popping up everywhere, and the green room is no exception. Food safe silicone bongs and pipes are easy to clean and virtually indestructible. Throw it in the dishwasher!
Another modern material choice, titanium is amazing at absorbing and retaining heat, so it lasts much longer than the original steel or brass screens. It's even being used to make virtually invincible pipes.
If you like to avoid metal in your smoking tools, glass screens are a great alternative to the old mesh screens you used to steal out of your mom's faucet, thinking she'd never notice (she noticed).
The first hit tastes the best. We've known this for years, but now manufacturers are catching on. Twist pipes like this one from 7pipe mean you're always getting a fresh hit. And because it all comes apart, it's amazingly easy to clean. Are you sensing a theme? We productive stoners have better things to do than cleaning glass all day!
No, not bongs. Pipes. For when you want the filtration of a bong, but the portability of a pipe!
Liquid Filled Glass
Glass blowers have been getting more and more creative for the past 15 years, and it's made an incredible art community. One of my favourite innovations is filled pipes. The blower fills the interior walls of the piece with a glittery, non toxic liquid, or even inert gas that turns a bong into the plasma ball of our youth. Mesmerizing!
Okay, not strictly functional, but dang is it sharp looking. The developments of glass colour have come so far in the past 10 years. Glass used to be almost exclusively made from soda lime, which is easy to colour but very thick and not very strong. Eventually artists switched to borosilicate glass, which is much stronger, but harder to colour. Glass blowers are still developing new colours all the time, and achieving some eyecatching effects. Fuming the glass with various metals will give the glass a “colour changing” quality the more it's used, and UV reactive glass glows under black lights.
OG Wood Styles
Maybe you don't care for all this newfangled technology, and are looking for a more nostalgic feel. Don't worry, wood is here to stay! From monkey pipes and dugouts to the classic Sherlock, we've got you covered.
Next week we'll be tackling papers on smoking accessories, so follow us on Facebook, Twitter or IG (or all three!) so you can get the latest info, including our upcoming in-house primer courses.