The Rise of Cannabis Culture: Exploring the Evolution of Bong Smoking

The Rise of Cannabis Culture: Exploring the Evolution of Bong Smoking

You are likely to find a bong in every cannabis smoker’s accessories collection. And, it is not a wonder since bong smoking has been a growing preference for many people. This is for the fact that most smokers feel that it is safer than taking dry hits. Besides cooling off the smoke, the water also filters out harmful molecules and bacteria from the smoke. Smoking CBD is beneficial to the overall health of the user.


The effect is calming and reduces stress while combating nausea. Many users have concluded that it affects sleep quality and is known to cure late-night anxiety. Interestingly, bong smoking didn’t start yesterday. There is a rich history behind what has become an important ritual among cannabis smokers today that we are going to focus on in this article.


The history of bong smoking


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As an avid smoker, you could be wondering where and how the tradition of bong smoking came to be. Well, the beautiful inventions in your collection started years ago. Let’s dive into the history of the bong, early inventions, and the evolution of what we find in stores in this 21st century.


Early inventions


While the name of the first person who invented a smoke bong isn’t known, there is evidence that these devices have been in use since ancient times. In the year 2013, archeologists led by Andrei Belinski unearthed what is believed to be the first bong in southern Russia. This earliest bong that was discovered in Scythian burial modes is estimated to be around 2400 years old. This ancient innovation was also a work of art and beauty. They were made with solid gold and adorned with intricate animal and human figures.


Besides this discovery, the ritual of cannabis smoking and the use of a bong has been traced to have roots in other regions that include:


  • Africa – Before the discovery of the above mentioned bong, there were earlier discoveries in Ethiopia by J.C. Dombrowski. The bongs found in a cave were believed to be from between AD 1100 and AD 1400. These were mainly made of animal horns and pottery. The discovery also showed that these ancient smokers played with different innovations to perfect the devices. They used to build the bongs underground to enhance the filtration.


  • East Asia – Records show that bongs were used in this part of the world in the 13th century and became more popular during the Qing Dynasty in China. They were the most preferred way of smoking tobacco such that Empress Dowager Cixi was buried with 3 of her favorite bongs. Bongs in this region were made with bamboo and others with metal.


  • Thailand – The word bong is believed to have come from the word “Ba’ung”, a Thai word that means bamboo tube. This word dates back to the 14th century, which depicts the smoking device used in the region around that time.


Growing in popularity


The Silk Road, a trade route between Europe and East Asia in the early years, played a significant role in the popularization of the bong. The use of bongs spread to Europe and later to the Americas using these routes. But, it was not until the 1800s that glass bongs came to be. This was after the glass industry started flourishing coinciding with the growth in tobacco farming as a cash crop.


The 1960s and 1970s mark one of the most iconic moments for glass bongs. At the time of the hippie movement, Bob Snodgrass, a famous glass artist who toured with the American band Grateful Dead started making glass bongs with borosilicate glass. Bob also developed the fuming process where he used silver and gold to add colors to his bongs, a technology that is used today. The first bong designs of Snodgrass continue to inspire bong designers to date. Since this period coincided with the growing popularity of cannabis use, the use of glass bongs spread exponentially.



Modern innovations


As cannabis use continues to grow around the world, the bong continues to get popular among users. Modern innovations are about class and lifestyle in addition to functionality. Bong manufacturers continue to be innovative to bring every user a smoke bong that meets his or her needs. From intricate designs, shapes, and colors, modern bongs have become accessories that one can display on the house and a staple for social gatherings where cannabis is present.


Modern innovators also continue to enhance functionality and user experience. Today’s bongs are fitted with ash catchers, ice catchers, and percolators among other features that enhance filtration, providing smoother and bigger hits. This has taken bong smoking to the next level. The materials used in making smoking bongs come in a wide range. These include silicone, ceramic, and acrylic. However, glass bongs outshine other materials in popularity.


Moreover, after a long battle for social acceptance and cannabis legalization, bong smoking has evolved into every smoker’s ritual.




Bong smoking dates back from time immemorial in different parts of the world. From earth pipes used in Africa, bamboo pipes of the Thai people, and metal devices used in East Asia, bong smoking has remained a valuable ritual in cannabis smoking. The device continues to be every smoker’s dream collection as new innovations find their way into the market.

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