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Cannabis might be ingested in a number of ways, but the most common route of administration is still via smoking or inhaling the drug. Cannabis goods are usually smoked (with or without tobacco) either through a pipe or by means of a cigarette (sometimes called a ‘joint’). The pipes come in a wide array of sizes and forms but frequently have long stems or add 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 research has been conducted to the specific harms related to smoking cannabis via a water pipe or bong. Few studies examining cannabis use, aside from those concerning the medical use of the drug, have differentiated in between the various strategies for delivery (i.e., smoking via joints or water pipes, ingesting in food) and little is famous regarding distinct administration routes, their relationship to drug use patterns, and related harms.

Lately, we have seen a resurgence in popularity in the usage of hookahs or ‘shisha’ to Smoketools, particularly flavoured cigarettes and tobacco products. The traditional Middle Eastern water pipe is currently widely smoked across the world, particularly by students and teenagers. Because of the use of healthy-sounding fruit flavouring and the social way it will always be used (i.e., in restaurants and cafes), it is often thought to be a ‘safer’ alternative to cigarettes. Due to this recent popularity, we have seen an escalating level of research conducted examining the harms associated with the use of the shisha.

This bulletin will examine the origin of the water pipe and whatever we know of the harms associated with smoking cannabis using a bong, particularly in comparison with other routes of administration. As the research is limited in this area, an examination of the current evidence regarding the harms related to water pipe cigarette smoking is included together with consideration of how this info can be utilized in cannabis prevention activities.

Origins in the water pipe – The use of water in a smoking apparatus is ancient, with Persian hookahs or ‘narghiles’ illustrative examples of early smoking water pipes (Erickson, Jarvie & Miller, 1977). Within their 1997 US patent to have an ‘improved smoking water pipe or bong’, the authors describe this process the following – “… smoke through the substance being combusted is directed by way of a tube discharging beneath the surface water in a potlike container before passing therefrom by way of a second tube for the mouth in the smoker.”

In which the water pipe actually originated is unclear, while there is increasing evidence to suggest that bongs were first used to smoke cannabis in Africa. Based on the archaeological evidence available at 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 thought that the discovery in Ethiopia of water pipe bowls, “definitely related 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 such cases the instruments were thought to be utilized to smoke tobacco.

The term ‘bong’ is surely an adaptation of the Thai word baung, which describes a cylindrical pipe or tube cut from bamboo. One of many earliest recorded uses in the word inside the West is incorporated in the McFarland Thai-English Dictionary, published in 1944, which describes among the meanings of ‘bong’ inside 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 include 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 methods this sort of water pipe works is as follows:

“The oriental bong, further, provides means for using atmospheric air to dilute the smoke before inhalation, in addition to provided oxygen for that combustion producing the smoke. Thus, an aura admitting orifice has become provided venting the smoke chamber formed inside the bamboo stem over the water towards the bottom of the stem. The orifice is finger controllable, in order that air may in the desire of the smoker be either excluded or admitted directly to the smoke chamber in order to dilute the smoke therein.”

A bong used to smoke cannabis is comparable to a traditional hookah within both construction and performance, except it is usually smaller and a lot more portable. The hole within the stem described above, also known as the ‘carburator’, ‘shotty’ or just ‘hole’, is usually kept covered during the smoking process, then opened to permit the smoke to get drawn to the respiratory system in an attempt to maximise the impact.