Last updated: June 5, 2023
A bong is a filtration device used for smoking herbal substances, mainly tobacco or cannabis. The term is an adaptation of the Thai word “baung” which refers to a cylindrical wooden tube, pipe, or container cut from bamboo. The word also refers to bongs used for smoking.
In 2013, these devices were discovered by excavators in Russia. They were made entirely of gold and it’s believed that Scythian tribal chiefs used them to smoke cannabis and opium approximately 2400 years ago. The bongs were discovered full of thick, black residue.
The modern-day bong
Today, a bong, or water pipe, is usually made of plastic or glass. The pipe itself is constructed of a single piece consisting of a bowl stem, a water container, and a draw tube that is at least three inches in length. The length of the tube is changed to create new designs and can be up to 12 inches long. The bowls are small in size and are usually about the width of a thumbnail. Some are even smaller.
To smoke marijuana from a bong, the bong’s water container is filled with water, then, marijuana is packed into the bowl. The user lights the marijuana in the bowl and draws smoke through the water causing it to bubble. The smoke is contained in the bubbles. They rise up through the tube and into the lungs by inhaling through the tube.
It’s not the most efficient device
Using a bong to smoke marijuana isn’t the most effective way to get high though. In fact, users are hampering the effectiveness of the drug by smoking through a bong. In a 2000 NORML-MAPS study, it was discovered that using bongs, otherwise known as water pipes, to smoke pot means the user needs to smoke a larger amount than if using, say, a regular pipe or rolling a joint.
That’s because as the cannabinoid molecules pass through the water, they tend to adhere tightly to the tars produced when the marijuana is lit. Subsequently, when marijuana smoke passes through the water, some of the cannabinoids get filtered out along with the tars because they are chemically bonded.
Homemade bongs may be hazardous
Plastic water bottles are popular items for making homemade bongs. However, it’s not a good idea. Repeatedly heating up the plastic can allow toxic chemicals to leach into the water. The chemicals can then pass to the user’s body as they inhale the smoke that passes through the water.
Signs of marijuana use
While it’s unlikely that someone would actually bring a bong to work, it could be used beforehand.
Signs of marijuana use include:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Fast heart rate
- Sleepy, lethargic
- Lack of coordination
- Increased cravings for snacks, otherwise known as “the munchies”
- Confusion and lack of focus
- Unusually talkative
- Misjudging time
- Anxiety, fear, paranoia
The most immediate sign of smoking pot is the dilation of the blood vessels in the eyes making them bloodshot. Burning marijuana creates smoke that has an extremely pungent aroma. It often clings to the user.
If marijuana has been legalized in your state, edibles are likely sold everywhere from quick stores to specialty shops and, of course, can be ordered online.
Marijuana may be made into:
- Candies, such as chocolates or gummies
- Hard candies
Marijuana is known to produce feelings of euphoria that lasts for three to six hours.
How to help
The debate as to whether or not people actually become addicted to pot rages on. However, it is habit-forming and easily accessible—especially in states where it’s legal.
Using marijuana impairs one’s ability to think clearly and that can interfere with problem-solving skills. We also mentioned above that someone impaired by marijuana use can become uncoordinated. Neither clouded thinking nor poor coordination is conducive to increased productivity in the workplace.
In fact, it’s likely to have the opposite effect.
If you haven’t set up a drug-free workplace program, you should consider it. It’s a huge deterrent for people who abuse drugs because once they learn that they’ll be tested for drug use, their not likely to even apply for a position with your company. It also allows you to set up protocols for when and where to perform company drug tests.
Some common scenarios include:
- Pre-employment drug testing
- Random drug testing
- Reasonable suspicion drug testing
- Post-accident drug testing
- Probationary drug testing
If you’re ready to create a drug-free protocol, there are companies, like ours, for instance, that are prepared to help you create policies and procedures that are legal within your state.
If an employee tests positive for drug use, follow the procedures put in place regarding how the situation is handled from that point on.
Marijuana still illegal at federal level
Even though the District of Columbia (D.C.) has entirely legalized marijuana, it remains illegal at the federal level. This means that employers have the right to keep testing for the drug even if the state in which they’re operating a business in has legalized it.
Employees can complain but if they realize that you test for pot and aren’t okay with it, they’re free to look for employment elsewhere. Marijuana use causes impairment. There’s no place for it in the workplace—ever.
People impaired by drugs are more likely to cause an accident. That means that people working with or near them are at higher risk too. Weeding out employees who use drugs means that everyone else feels safer—
Because they are.