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Bongs and the Cannabis Culture

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Bongs are definitely not new when it comes to smoking herbs. While it may be easier to find a bong these days than ever, these glass water pipes have actually been used for smoking cannabis for centuries in some countries. Today, bongs are far more accessible, collectible, and functional.

Some Cannabis enthusiasts build a full collection of bongs and proudly display them in their homes or share them with fellow stoners. However, some would say that just having a bong is a clear indicator that you’re in tune with cannabis culture. The fact is, bongs and cannabis culture do go hand in hand, and that’s not likely to change anytime in the near future.


What Is Cannabis Culture?

Cannabis culture can mean different things depending on who you ask. But the more generalized meaning is a culture that is centered around or associated with cannabis consumption. Cannabis has been valued and celebrated for many years, and in different ways in different cultures. With marijuana prohibition coming to an end in many states and countries, cannabis is associated with everything from its own unique terminologies and related language to literature, humor, art, and more.

These days, you have a mainstream product that influences and breathes life into so many grand elements of the new cannabis culture. You can celebrate 4/20 every year, pull up a slew of stoner flicks and network-hosted TV shows, and enjoy numerous events and festivals centered solely around the love of all things cannabis.


The Impact of the Bong Among Stoners

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Bongs, even though they were not called by the same name and not made of glass, have been in use since the 16th century. These water pipes were once used for smoking tobacco in India. The theory back then was allowing the smoke to pass through the water before inhalation made the endeavor safer. Later cannabis smokers discovered that using a bong to smoke flowers meant a clean-tasting, smooth smoke that was a far cry from herb rolled into paper.

The word “bong” The word bong is an adaptation of the Thai word bong or baung (Thai: บ้อง, [bɔ̂ŋ]), which refers to a cylindrical wooden tube, pipe, or container cut from bamboo, and which also refers to the bong used for smoking. ‘Bong’ first made an appearance in the U.S. around the 1940s. Then, in the 60s and 70s, the booming popularity of smoking both cannabis and tobacco and the revolution of the glass industry brought the glass bong to life. Today, using a bong to smoke cannabis feels a lot like following in the footpaths of old. And, the fact that modern bongs are not just artistically crafted but highly honed for perfected function makes them even more enjoyable to use.


The Bong Before Legalization

While bongs have been a mainstay in cannabis culture for decades, owning one prior to legalization would’ve meant you had to wholly proclaim the device was only used for smoking tobacco. Bongs were not illegal to make, own, or purchase, but “drug paraphernalia” was. Therefore, if you owned a glass water pipe that was obviously used for smoking cannabis, you could land in hot water in some states.

The negative connotations associated with bongs prior to cannabis legalization efforts did make it difficult for these water pipes to be made readily available to everyone. Therefore, if you happened to own one or know a fellow stoner that had one in their possession, it was a real treat. Availability was more limited for many years simply because there were not as many people willing to go out and purchase a bong and accept the judgment.

Further, the shops selling glass water pipes had to be crystal clear and adamant about stating the pipes were for tobacco use only. Case in point, Tommy Chong was once arrested and served nine months in jail for not making the differentiation clear about exactly what the pipes he was selling were designed to be used for.


Bongs After Limited Legalization

When the first few states stepped up to legalize cannabis on medical and recreational levels, the demand for bongs and other smoking accessories grew. Head shops specializing in these coveted glass water pipes became more prevalent and less scrutinized in cannabis-legal states. This made it possible for even more glass artisans to step up and show off their skills. Further, more legal smokers began to come out of the woodwork and talk about their love of bongs and how they enhanced the smoking experience.

The more time passed, and the more states went legal, the more people developed a deep adoration for their bongs. In some respects, bongs have a cult-like following, and there is a sub-culture in cannabis culture that is centered around smoking cannabis in the finest ways. Some people spend years building their collections and proudly displaying them in their homes, plucking them off a shelf periodically to enjoy a good smoke.


The Future of Bongs

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Bongs have grown from being basic beakers with a downstem and bowl to being all-out collectible works of art over the last decade. You can come to a place like Chameleon Glass and pick up a stunning pipe like the Galactic Series Classic Colored Glass Water Pipe or a Calcifers Sand Castle Glow in the Dark Glass Water Pipe. You can even find bongs that change colors with temperature variances, portray sculpted trees, or pay homage to your favorite characters or creatures.

As the cannabis culture gains even more acceptance across the board, the bong selection is bound to grow right along with it. At Chameleon Glass, we’re proud to be at the forefront of the cannabis revolution. Our extensive selection of glass water pipes from the most widely-recognized artists and brands ensures every smoker has access to pieces to complete their collection. Looking for a new piece to add to your lineup? Be sure to check out our full inventory!

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