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My First Cannabis Bong Hit

bong
Written by Joseph Mcqueen

The first time you do anything is usually a memorable experience – in a positive way, hopefully. Getting your first tooth swapped for cash by the tooth fairy, taking your first steps as a baby, having the sip of your first beer at the legal age of 18 (or 21 if you’re from the US) – all of these are wonderful and glorious moments in one’s life. But one event that probably isn’t as widely discussed is someone’s first bong hit. Hitting the bong for the first time – be it DIY or shop-bought – is a moment you will never forget. The surge of smoke in your mouth, the harsh feeling on the throat, the intense coughing fit and, of course, the feeling of extreme highness. My first experience taking a hit from the bong was a mixture of embarrassment and euphoria… and here’s why. 

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Bong Hits

There are many ways to consume cannabis, and as more and more nations have begin legalising the substance, more and more inventive ways of consumption have been created. In recent years, vaping, concentrates and edibles have become increasingly popular and creative. The vaping market, in fact, has boomed. The alternative method to inhale cannabis without smoking has taken the world by storm and, as a result, it is estimated that the global vape market will be worth around 18370 million dollars by 2027. Edibles too have become wild and potent, with Amsterdam and other legal markets giving space for sellers to experiment.

Concentrates – which are essentially purer extracts of cannabis made from high pressure and heat – have developed through improved science and technology. People are even able to make their own at home using rosin presses. However, the bong was around long before California or Malta decided to welcome weed with open arms. The bong has been part of a cannabis-lover’s toolkit for decades and the method itself is still used constantly for those who prefer a more intense high. There are many types of bongs – ceramic, water bottle, glass, bamboo, apple – but which one you use usually depends on how creative or lazy you want to be. Nonetheless, whichever you use, they all work essentially the same. Healthline writes:

“Bongs generally feature a small bowl that holds dried weed. When you light the weed it combusts. Meanwhile, as you inhale, the water in the bottom of the bong bubbles (or percolates, if you want to get technical). The smoke rises up through the water and then the chamber before entering your mouth and lungs.”

Bongs allow for bigger hits than any joint or vape. This is because there is a large area in the body of the bong that collects smoke before inhaling. The water also cools down the smoke, allowing for a smoother experience. It is quite an intense experience when you have your first bong hit, which was why I never forgot mine.

Young Cannabis Experiences

I was brought up, like many others, fearing cannabis and everything it represented. I didn’t have extremely conservative parents or anything like that, it was simply how school, the media and other grownups presented it. For whatever reason, a lot of children are brought up genuinely fearing substances like cannabis. In a sense, this isn’t a negative thing. After all, I don’t think even the most avid cannabis supporters would want their 5 year old kids smoking it everyday. However, the only query that I then have is: why did I not feel the same way about alcohol? Alcohol kills far more people every year than marijuana, and it also causes far more diseases. MPP writes:

“Many people die from alcohol use. Nobody dies from marijuana use. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 30,000 annual U.S. deaths are attributed to the health effects of alcohol (i.e. this figure does not include accidental deaths). On the other hand, the CDC does not even have a category for deaths caused by the health effects of marijuana.”

Nonetheless, when I thought of alcohol I thought of my dad finishing off a refreshingly cold pint or my mother enjoying a glass of red wine after a long day. In fact, I would often beg my dad for a sip of beer at a very young age, simply because I wanted to be like him. The same was the case with the red wine and my mum. But cannabis was different. It was a dangerous drug that would give me psychosis, make me go crazy, make me forget who I was. It was an evil substance that wanted to take me away from my friends and family and make me a recluse. MPP continues:

“For decades, our federal government and supporters of marijuana prohibition have led people to believe that marijuana is so dangerous that it must be kept illegal at all costs. They have exaggerated its potential for harm, spread myths about its impact on society, and even spent hundreds of millions of tax dollars on TV ads designed to convince you that anyone who uses marijuana is a loser who sits around on the couch all day.”

Now, just as a note, I’m not somebody who believes only positive things about cannabis. I have seen many healthy relationships with the substance, as well as many unhealthy relationships. But as a substance alone, before any misuse, it does not deserve the level of media hatred it gets. In its long and lustrous history, weed has been scapegoated and demonised simply because its existence does not help the establishment. This was the case in the 60s, when Nixon used media influence to link ‘scary’ drugs with the sections of society he saw as threatening and it is still the case now. If governments aren’t making money from it, then they are demonizing it. 

My First Bong Hit

Of course now, especially in the US, the overton window is shifting and more people are accepting cannabis. Even stoner culture has helped take the fear away from the substance. Nonetheless, when I was 16 and I had my first bong hit in the UK, the world was a different place. Some new friends I’d met at a party invited me to a gathering in a big manor house in the middle of the countryside. They were the kind of friends that simultaneously scared me and excited me at the same time; they wore cool clothes, they said cool things, they did ultimately exude coolness. When I arrived I was handed a beer, which I didn’t really like the taste of, as well as a cigarette, which I also hated.

But it didn’t matter, I was undercover – I didn’t want these guys to realize I wasn’t as cool as them. I drank the drink and I smoked the cigarette, talking about music and art and whatever the heck they liked talking about. However, then came my biggest challenge yet. I’d fit in up to that point. This was when they brought out the ‘plastic bongatron 2000’ as they called it. In reality, it was a pretty disgusting looking liter coke bottle that had been made into a bong. But to them, it was precious. They said that they never changed the bong water, to respect the goods of weed. I didn’t quite understand, at that point, just how much worse that was going to make the whole experience. 

I had never smoked cannabis before, but I knew what it looked like. I watched as the rolled joint, with the scary green plant inside, was attached to the bong, and each of them had their hit. None of them even flinched, they made it look like the smoothest thing in the world. I knew the bong was coming my way – it was inevitable. My mother and father’s words, their disappointment and fear, were ringing in my conscience. I studied each person carefully, learning the technique of holding the finger over the hole, and releasing it before inhalation. I’m glad I did that because otherwise the experience would have gone even worse than it already did. 

Suddenly, it was my turn. I hesitated. One of the guys looked at me with a smirk and said: “you don’t have to hit it if you don’t want to bro”. I shook my head, I was hitting it. It was peer pressure, yes, but I didn’t want to fall back down the social ladder. This was my moment. My moment to be cool. I held my mouth over the bottle, I waited for the joint to be lit, and I inhaled. The smoke then collected in the bottle and, like the others did, I released and inhaled again. At first, nothing happened. Then, a few seconds passed, and a seriously harsh feeling came into my throat. It was like a fire. I began erupting into a coughing fit. It was unstoppable. 

Them: “Do you want some water, mate?”

Me: “Nah I’m (cough) good (cough cough)”

Them “We’re getting you some water”

The coughing fit didn’t stop and, even after a glass of water, the inevitable couldn’t be avoided. In a desperate attempt to find the toilet, I ended up vomiting all over the guy’s parents bed. It really couldn’t have gone worse. Both the fits of coughing, as well as the instant dizziness, had left me feeling sick and paralyzed. I don’t see those friends anymore, that’s for sure. However, to be fair to them, they did look after me that night in the end. 

Thoughts

I wasn’t too fond of cannabis after that first experience, but as I grew up I soon learned there are many ways to consume it and many of these are far more pleasant. Although, since then, I’ve also returned to the bong and have had some amazing hits too. Ultimately, nothing is always perfect the first time around, especially when you’re giving into peer pressure with the desperate goal to be cool.

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About the author

Joseph Mcqueen

Joseph is a cannabis journalist in the UK. His search and love for the truth in the cannabis industry is what drives him to write.