Why do Most Head shops use the Word “Water Pipe” instead of “Bong”?


The term “bong” is traceable to a Thai word, “buang”. It refers to a type of water bong made from bamboo. Smoking from a water bong is a classic way of consuming herbs and many users have special sentiments attached to this device.

Today, many headshops do not refer to bongs by this name but rather call them water pipes. So, why is that? In this post, we will explore the reasons for the preference for using a water pipe instead of a bong when dealing with products in a headshop.

Facts about Bongs and Water Pipes in the United States

Legislation within the United States territories is inconsistent as to the different smoking devices available on offer. This is mainly because of the boundaries around tobacco consumption policy.

It is worth mentioning that historically, tobacco smokers are not reluctant to be associated with marijuana smokers, thanks to the social perceptions associated with marijuana consumption. Marijuana smokers were regarded as lazy, delinquent, and sometimes, criminals.

Since the first introduction of water bongs into the United States culture and environment, the social perception of weed was more restrictive and conservative. Although the narrative is changing in the modern world, there is still some level of conservatism associated with the consumption of cannabis.

With the growth of headshops across the country, there became a need to streamline the use of terms and lingo because many stoners want to be as discreet as possible.

What is the Difference between Bongs and Water Pipes and why does it Matter?

Bongs are used for the consumption of weed products and their derivatives, including cannabis, concentrates, and oil. Water pipes, on the other hand, are used for consuming tobacco. From this simple definition and previous analysis, it is obvious why headshops and even stoners would rather refer to their bongs as water pipes instead of the real name.

Beyond the social perception, the legislation between 1960 and the 1980s released laws that prohibited the display of roach clips or pipes because they were purportedly encouraging the use of drugs. Although it has been almost forty years ago, the legislation has not changed much.

The only bright side is that the interpretation is looser than it used to be. While this is the case, the context and language in headshops have not changed so much. Even with the new decriminalization of weed in Georgia and the looming federal legalization of cannabis, the industry still works on tenterhooks.

Therefore, words like water bongs, bongs, and their subsidiaries are frowned at in many stores. As far as smoking is concerned, a water pipe and a bong are essentially the same. The only difference is in the intended product to be used with it.

During the heat of the legislations in the late 70s and early 80s, headshops could not sell water bongs as water bongs. Instead, they began to explicitly sell it with tobacco products.

How the Sales of Bongs have fared with the Slight Changes in the Legislation?

In many cities to date, many headshops do not display water bongs in their stores. These devices are often stashed behind dancing bears or beads. With different cities enforcing the laws associated with cannabis consumption in different ways, it is very inconsistent and difficult to know what to expect in a headshop.

To date, some city law enforcement use intricacies such as hiding water bongs at the back of the shot to impound products. States where the use of weed is illicit also do not use words, such as bongs. It is worth mentioning that most big cities have gone beyond these tactics to enforce laws with practical relative weight.

One of such is Operation Pipe Dreams which captured fifty-five people for distributing drug accessories. Tommy Chong was one of those nabbed. He pleaded guilty and spent nine months in prison.

Although public opinion has changed regarding the use of marijuana, the laws of the federal government have the power to carry out undercover operations to prosecute people in the same way.

For this reason, headshops and their clients are taking precautions to avoid getting charged in legal matters. So, they adhere strictly to the law of the states, albeit selling and buying weed products discreetly.

How Customers can navigate the Legislation and Laws Surrounding Cannabis in Consumption

Apart from the use of words in headshops, other pressing matters weed consumers and sellers must pay attention to. First, although the social perception around weed consumption is a bit better than it used to be, it still leaves much to be desired.

That is why many would find it difficult to walk into a store to order cannabis paraphernalia, even if it is not for recreational use. For consumers, the best solution is to switch to ordering their products online.

You do not have to expose yourself by visiting a physical headshop to buy a weed product. From the comfort of your home, you can log in to an online head shop and place your order. With this, you do not have to worry about using the wrong name for the product you want to buy.

The images will show you clearly what the product is even without the labeling. When it comes to the delivery, it is done with utmost discreet. That means no one needs to know that you ordered cannabis products and you do not have to worry about social perception or pressure.

You get your order delivered to your doorsteps without any label on it. It is the best solution to any laws that may want to hamper the recreational consumption of your favorite herbs.

Final Thoughts

While many states are relaxing laws regarding the consumption of marijuana, many others are still strict about it. Even for states that have a bit of relaxed disposition to recreational use of weed, it is still best to be cautious in such states.

It is better to be careful than sorry. Order your products from online head shops and have them delivered to your doorsteps. With this, you can avoid any harassment from anyone.

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