An occasional user or medical patient has a pipe, a vape pen, or a pack of rolling papers.
A regular user may have all of the above, perhaps a collection of pieces or a fancy vaporizer.
A dedicated stoner? There’s a decent chance they also have a gas mask bong in their extensive collection of smoking paraphernalia.
Yes, people do use gas mask bongs. They’re not just a novelty item you laugh at when you’re visiting a smoke shop or browsing online.
There are disparate opinions on these contraptions. Some believe these masks are an efficient way to get the most out of your weed. Others consider them to be nothing more than “party entertainment” that can liven up a smoke sesh but insist that they won’t get you any higher than you’d get when smoking like an average person.
Who’s right? Let’s find out.
Looking Closer at Gas Mask Bongs
If you’ve never seen one of these devices, it’s just what you think it is.
An actual gas mask (the type they use in the army and the removal of hazardous chemicals) is attached to a bong. Instead of inhaling through the bong’s mouthpiece, the smoker’s face is surrounded by a thick cloud of weed smoke that they can inhale until they’ve had enough.
The mask is usually made from rubber and is strapped tightly to the user’s face so that no smoke can escape. That leaves both of their hands-free to work the bong.
As we’ve mentioned, you can easily purchase a gas mask bong at your local head shop or online. You can purchase just the mask part of the device to be used with your own bong, although most commercial products come complete with downstems and small acrylic bubble tubes or water pipes, along with metal bowls for your herb. Some even have additional cooling or filtration systems.
If you’re handy, you can MacGyver your own cheap but effective gas mask bong by buying a used gas mask at an army surplus outlet and retrofitting it to block any excess holes that would allow air to escape. New gas masks are also available online, but they’ll set you back a couple of hundred bucks.
Intrigued? Let’s move on.
How to Use a Gas Mask Bong
If you’re not overly apprehensive about hooking yourself up to one of these devices, the process of smoking from a gas mask bong is largely intuitive.
- Prepare the bong, filling it with water and attaching it to the mask, then packing the bowl with your weed.
- Secure the mask onto your face with the attached straps, making sure that it’s centered properly and that it fits comfortably but snugly. Most masks have adjustable straps that let you loosen or tighten the fit.
- Fire up the bong and remove the bowl to fill the chamber with smoke. The smoke will migrate into the mask and surround your face. Inhale as much of it as you want (or as much as you can).
- If you choose, you can continue inhaling some of your exhaled smoke to experience a hotbox effect until you’ve had your fill. A good mask will let you exhale without pushing the smoke back down through the downstem, and high-end models will have “exit valves” that allow you to let some of the smoke escape.
- When you’re done, just remove the mask and savor the high.
Is it hygienic to then pass the mask on to someone else at your smoke sesh? Not completely, but then again, it’s not completely hygienic to share mouthpieces (or pieces, or joints), either. It’s best to wipe down the inside of the mask before handing it to the next person in line — if you’re able to focus enough to do it.
Does a Gas Mask Bong Get You Higher Than Usual?
There are two trains of thought on this question.
Some believe that a gas mask bong is more of a gimmick than a revelation. They say that once you get the first THC-loaded hit, everything else you inhale is less-potent recycled smoke mixed with your exhaled breath.
Others swear by the experience. They claim that the total amount of THC you’re inhaling is much greater than the amount you’d get from an ordinary bong hit, getting you a lot higher.
The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. You may get a little more of the good stuff by letting it surround you hot box-style. But the effects still aren’t going to compete with the effects you’d get from actually hotboxing a joint and certainly won’t come close to the power of a dabbed concentrate.
Even so, there are other advantages to using a gas mask bong, as well as a few negatives.
Pros and Cons of Gas Mask Bongs
If this device doesn’t get you incredibly wasted, why should you consider using one?
- A gas mask bong eliminates so-called slipstream smoke, the smoke that escapes from a bong, pipe, or joint without ever making it into your mouth and lungs. Some studies claim that well over half of all weed smoke is wasted because it just drifts into the air.
- The added benefit to eliminating slipstream smoke is that you’re not wasting flower. All the bud you’re burning will contribute to your high instead of creating lots of second-hand smoke.
- It’s fun. Experimenting with anything new, whether it’s a vape, a dab rig, or a gas mask bong, can add to the enjoyment of smoking up — particularly when you’re with a group of friends.
Naturally, there are a few arguments against these bongs as well.
- Exposure to the recycled smoke in a gas mask bong can irritate your eyes or even the inside of your nose.
- It can be an awkward way to smoke once you’ve gotten past the novelty of using the device.
- It gives you something else that you have to clean after you’ve finished smoking.
There are certainly people who get the feeling that they’re getting a stronger high when using a gas mask bong and more power to them. But at the very least, you haven’t fully experienced the party lifestyle until you can check “smoked out of a gas mask bong” on your stoner bucket list.
Gas Mask Bongs: FAQ
Q: Do you have to do more than just clean the pipe and wipe out the gas mask to clean one of these bongs?
A: It’s a good idea to use an antibacterial disinfectant, especially if the mask has been or is going to be shared. If you are going to use soap and water, antibacterial soap is best. Just be sure that whatever cleaning product you use isn’t alcohol-based because alcohol could damage the mask’s rubber.
Q: Are gas mask bongs really expensive?
A: They’re not as pricey as you might think. Even the models that have special filtering systems built-in will only set you back about 40 or 50 bucks. If you’re making your own, you can pick up a used gas mask for around the same price; it’s only when you’re buying brand-new masks that you’ll have to spend over 100 dollars.