When Early Stoner Man breathed in the smoke from those burning bushes it opened his mind, he was emboldened by the magical vapors, and despite his innate fear of fire, he took a huge step forward. Making a branch of the burning bush in his hand, he ran to the cave he called home and shared the smoke from this sacred plant with his family and neighbors. Everything changed from that point onwards. This First Contact leads to an explosion of creativity amongst Early Stoner Man, the desire to get baked leading to the creation of fire and the first stone tool, a thin, scraping device for carving chillums. The people also collected the marijuana seeds from the remaining unburnt plants, because they somehow understood the importance of their discovery.
Although Early Stoner Man had by now grasped the basic idea that seeds in the ground meant new plants, later on, he lived in an environment of natural abundance and farming had no real benefit. However, after a few seed-filled chillums they soon realized the value of seed-free weed and the need for a controlled growing environment. Thus the first cannabis farm was born. This invention enabled these early pioneers to protect and monitor the plants throughout their entire, and within a few seasons, they were producing the very first sense. Within a generation, these new smokers had built a chillum and sense trading network that stretched across the known world. This would lead to the foundation of the first cities, the development of the primary metal tools and the transition to what we now know as the Bong Age.
The Bong Age was a period of rapid technological advancement, and this is when we see the first evidence of the use of water to cool the smoke from burning marijuana. The cooling effect of the water meant that bowls could become more prominent and thus more marijuana could be consumed at one time. Initially, designs were simple, mostly a chillum jammed into a vessel to hold water, but as humanity demanded bigger and smoother bongs ever, new materials were sought. Bigger bowls meant bigger brains, and bigger brains meant better bongs, this virtuous circle drove the development of both Man and Bong for thousands of years. As we mixed and heated, crushed and dissolved our way through the various rocks and minerals we could dig up or find lying around, we discovered more and more about the world around us. This quest for the perfect smoke resulted in the discovery of glass and glassblowing, was the precursor to modern Chemistry and Physics and ultimately lead to the world we see around us today.
In 2018 some are claiming the Bong Age is over, the Era of the Vape is upon us. I’m not so sure. Which is to say we won’t be downloading plans for bongs and then creating them on the spot with a portable 3D printer connected to our smartphone? Or how about a collapsible graphene bong which folds flat or rolls up and can be slipped into a pocket? Mobile technology and the internet have revolutionized the way we communicate, nanotechnology and the Internet of Things could do the same for the way we smoke. The Smoker of Tomorrow may have a strip on the back of his or her watch, or in the collar of a shirt, that detects when you need a hit, formulates a mixture of cannabinoids from a selection of oils in your smartphone attachment, and puffs it directly into your nostrils from a tiny hole in your Raybans. That may well be the case, but for me, there will always be a place for a bong in my life, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.