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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 products are usually smoked (with or without tobacco) through a pipe or in the form of a cigarette (often referred to as a ‘joint’). The pipes come in a wide 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 order 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 using a water pipe or bong. Few studies examining cannabis use, aside from those concerning the medical utilization of the drug, have differentiated involving the various strategies for 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.

Lately, we have seen a resurgence in popularity in using hookahs or ‘shisha’ to smoke shops near me, particularly flavoured tobacco products. The traditional Middle Eastern water pipe is now widely smoked around the globe, particularly by students and teenagers. Because of the utilization of healthy-sounding fruit flavouring and also the social way it will always be used (i.e., in restaurants and cafes), it is often regarded as a ‘safer’ substitute for cigarettes. As a result of this recent popularity, there has been an increasing level of research conducted examining the harms associated by using the shisha.

This bulletin will examine the foundation of the water pipe and what we know about the harms connected with smoking cannabis by way of a bong, particularly in comparison with other routes of administration. Because the research is limited in this region, an study of the current evidence concerning the harms connected with water pipe tobacco smoking is included along with consideration of methods this info can be utilized in cannabis prevention activities.

Origins from 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). In 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 via a tube discharging underneath the surface water in a potlike container before passing therefrom by way of a second tube towards the mouth in the smoker.”

Where water pipe actually originated is unclear, while 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 introduction of tobacco. He considered that the invention in Ethiopia of water pipe bowls, “definitely related to the smoking of cannabis”, tends bqlsqo confirm speculation of the African origin in 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 phrase ‘bong’ is an adaptation of the Thai word baung, which describes a cylindrical pipe or tube cut from bamboo. One of many earliest recorded uses of the word inside the West is within the McFarland Thai-English Dictionary, published in 1944, which describes one of many meanings of ‘bong’ inside the Thai language as, “a bamboo water pipe for smoking kancha, tree, hashish, or even the hemp-plant.” Erickson and colleagues (1977) believe that it must be this version which has probably influenced the appearance of the current devices that incorporate a “general cylindrical tubular construction”, with tubes of plastic as well as other modern materials replacing the hollow bamboo stem that was used previously. Their description of how this kind of water pipe works is just as follows:

“The oriental bong, further, provides path 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 within the bamboo stem higher than the water in the bottom of the stem. The orifice is finger controllable, in order that air may in the desire from the smoker be either excluded or admitted directly to the smoke chamber in order to dilute the smoke therein.”

A bong utilized to smoke cannabis is similar to a regular hookah both in construction and performance, except it is usually smaller and 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 get drawn in to the respiratory system in an effort to maximise the impact.