Cannabis might be ingested in a number of ways, but the most popular route of administration continues to be via smoking or inhaling the drug. Cannabis goods are usually smoked (with or without tobacco) through a pipe or as a cigarette (sometimes called a ‘joint’). The pipes come in a vast array of sizes and forms but often have long stems or incorporate a ‘hookah-type’ water filtration system (i.e., water pipe) and are referred to as a ‘bong’. When a water pipe is utilized, cannabis smoke is cooled by the water in an attempt to reduce its harshness and temperature, which may scald the throat (Booth, 2003).
Little studies have been conducted into the specific harms associated with smoking cannabis by way of a water pipe or bong. Few studies examining cannabis use, aside from those relating to the medical utilization of the drug, have differentiated between the various ways of delivery (i.e., smoking via joints or water pipes, ingesting in food) and little is known regarding distinct administration routes, their relationship to drug use patterns, and related harms.
Recently, we have seen a resurgence in popularity in the usage of hookahs or ‘shisha’ to smoke shop near me, particularly flavoured tobacco products. The traditional Middle Eastern water pipe has become widely smoked around the globe, particularly by students and young adults. Due to the utilization of healthy-sounding fruit flavouring and also the social way it is almost always used (i.e., in restaurants and cafes), it is usually viewed as a ‘safer’ option to cigarettes. Because of this recent popularity, there has been an escalating level of research conducted examining the harms associated by using the shisha.
This bulletin will examine the origin from the water pipe and what we should know about the harms associated with smoking cannabis via a bong, particularly in comparison with other routes of administration. As the research is limited in this area, an examination of the existing evidence with regards to the harms associated with water pipe cigarette smoking is included together with consideration of methods these details may be used in cannabis prevention activities.
Origins in the water pipe – The usage of water in a smoking apparatus is ancient, with Persian hookahs or ‘narghiles’ illustrative types of early smoking water pipes (Erickson, Jarvie & Miller, 1977). Within their 1997 US patent for an ‘improved smoking water pipe or bong’, the authors describe this process as follows – “… smoke from the substance being combusted is directed through a tube discharging underneath the surface water in a potlike container before passing therefrom via a second tube for the mouth of the smoker.”
Where the water pipe actually originated is unclear, although there is increasing evidence to claim that bongs were first utilized to smoke cannabis in Africa. Based on the archaeological evidence available during the time of writing, Phillips (1983) hypothesised that cannabis was smoked in water pipes in eastern and southern Africa before the development of tobacco. He considered that the invention in Ethiopia of water pipe bowls, “definitely linked to the smoking of cannabis”, tends bqlsqo confirm speculation of the African origin of the water pipe. Others believe they originated in China or Persia, but in these cases the instruments were thought to be employed to smoke tobacco.
The term ‘bong’ is definitely an adaptation in the Thai word baung, which identifies a cylindrical pipe or tube cut from bamboo. One of the earliest recorded uses of the word in the West is incorporated in the McFarland Thai-English Dictionary, published in 1944, which describes among the meanings of ‘bong’ in the Thai language as, “a bamboo water pipe for smoking kancha, tree, hashish, or the hemp-plant.” Erickson and colleagues (1977) believe that it is this version which includes probably influenced the appearance of the present day devices that incorporate a “general cylindrical tubular construction”, with tubes of plastic and other modern materials replacing the hollow bamboo stem which had been used before. Their description of how this kind of water pipe works is really as follows:
“The oriental bong, further, provides means for using atmospheric air to dilute the smoke before inhalation, along with provided oxygen for your combustion producing the smoke. Thus, an aura admitting orifice continues to be provided venting the smoke chamber formed within the bamboo stem higher than the water in the bottom from the stem. The orifice is finger controllable, to ensure that air may on the desire of the smoker be either excluded or admitted directly to the smoke chamber so as to dilute the smoke therein.”
A bong utilized to smoke cannabis is a lot like a traditional hookah within both construction and function, except it is usually smaller and a lot more portable. The hole in the stem described above, often referred to as the ‘carburator’, ‘shotty’ or simply just ‘hole’, is generally kept covered throughout the smoking process, then opened to enable the smoke to be drawn to the respiratory system in an attempt to maximise the impact.