Marijuana Consumers Are Still Making Their Own Bongs

Photo Credit: Martin Bernetti

The first time I realized the stoner brain was a special breed of genius was my sophomore year of high school when a guy named Teddy H. Cunningham, who, for obvious reasons, had been given the nickname THC, made a massive bong in shop glass using sections of PVC, duct tape and random odds and ends that he had ripped off from the chemistry department.

It was a spectacle like none I had ever witnessed. I remember being floored that such a shoddy, Frankenstein-looking contraption could actually be used to smoke marijuana. And yes, he made sure to fire it up in class just to prove it was a functional piece.

Even the shop instructor seemed somewhat impressed with the ingenuity it took to get stoned at 10:30 in the morning. But not so much that he was willing to turn a blind eye to felonious behavior in his classroom. There would later be a warning sign posted threatening students with expulsion if similar gadgets were ever brought to life.

As the years progressed, it was not unusual for me to see hard-up potheads getting creative in their pursuit for the almighty buzz. These diehards, most of them without two nickels to rub together, had an uncanny ability to create bongs and pipes out of a variety of items from empty beer cans to random plastic containers. This level of stoner engineering was mostly applied because it was easier than rolling a joint. Other times, these makeshift apparatuses were fashioned out of sheer boredom.

It has been 30 years since THC introduced me to the world of the Stoner MacGyver, but the ethos behind this mad science skill set is still alive and well, according to a new study from Detox.

The drug education website recently surveyed more than 1,000 men and women to learn more about the lifestyle of that portion of the cannabis culture that still resorts to stoner ingenuity in order to smoke weed. The study uncovered a wealth of information on the subject, from the most common materials used to devise temporary smoking devices to the demographic most likely to employ what some might consider hobo tactics.

When it comes to constructing a bong or pipe on the fly, the study finds that the majority of pot smokers (35.35 percent) grab two-liter soda bottles (35.35 percent) and water bottles (27.23 percent) to use for the chamber. Aluminum foil ranks high on the materials list, as well, since it can be easily molded and used as a pipe or bowl.

The more health-conscious cannabis consumer, those without an actual store-bought smoking device at their disposal, typically looks no further than the refrigerator.

The study shows a whopping 73.78 percent of the Stoner MacGyver’s out there carving out smoking mechanisms from fruit and vegetables are partial to apples above anything else. But if this particular fruit is unavailable, other garden items work just fine. Melons ranked second place at 7.27 percent, followed by pears (6.44 percent) and carrots (5.60 percent). Cucumbers and squash also made the list.

Not only is smoking weed out of produce safer than plastic and aluminum foil, but respondents said it also makes their marijuana taste better.

If the DIY method to bong making seems a bit immature, that’s because it is. The study shows that 18 to 24-years-olds (64.06 percent) are most likely to design use once and destroy smoking devices, followed by kids ages 17 and younger (23.92 percent).

This means a heavy majority of those cannabis consumers legally able to purchase legitimate smoking devices are still crafting their own bongs.

But why? Well, that depends on the situation.

The survey indicates that most of them (48.96 percent) are doing it because they are “in a pinch,” while others (34.57 percent) reported engaging in these activities just “for fun.”

Older adults, however, have very little interest in revisiting high school shop class. Cannabis users between the ages of 25 and 44 are more likely to purchase a smoking device from a retail outlet.

Check out the entire survey here.