What is a Hookah?
You may have encountered the term before, but perhaps you didn’t fully understand what it meant, or the device to which it refers.
The word “hookah” is derived from the hindustani word “huqqa”. Hindustani is the language of Northern India and Pakistan. It incorporates a considerable amount of vocabulary from Prakrit, Persian and Arabic, as well as Sanskrit languages.
A hookah is a water pipe, but not in the same way that a “bong” is a water pipe.
While they both filter smoke or vapour through a water basin, the hookah has many more individual components required for operation, and a successful smoking session is a delicate balancing act between several variables.
These variables range from heat, strength and frequency of the draw, the quality or type of shisha used, length of the smoking session, the liquid used in the basin and its temperature, the type of windscreen used, the type and quality of your hose and bowl, as well as the connecting grommets.
In short, mastering the hookah is an art.
As you use the hookah and become more experienced with it, you will inevitably make adjustments to your setup to suit your personal preferences. However, there is a basic setup that is irreducible.
The standard hookah will have the following components:
- purge valve
- water base
- Flavoured Tobacco or Herbal Mixture
What is Shisha?
It is generally accepted that the hookah originates from Persia and India, but its use is now popular around the world. The widespread use and popularization of the hookah has resulted in a number of culturally-specific names for it.
This also means that the meaning of the term “shisha”, for example, has been adapted to refer to either the water pipe as a whole or the flavoured tobacco (Mu’ Assel, Arabic term meaning “honeyed”) it is used to smoke.
Shisha is a simple product and contains 4 basic ingredients:
- Flavouring (Artificial or Natural)
How Do You Use a Hookah?
The hookah is relatively easy to assemble, although not necessarily easy to operate or produce a palatable smoke.
Regardless, hookah assembly and use is as follows:
- Fill the basin with water.
- Insert the trunk of the hookah into the basin (stem-end in the basin) to form a seal with the grommet attached to the rim of the basin.
- Put a grommet on the hookah-end of your hose and insert the hose into the hose port on the trunk.
- Fill your bowl with your flavoured tobacco or herbal shisha .
- Place a windscreen on top of your bowl (can also be aluminum foil – remember to poke holes into the foil cover so that oxygen can be drawn through the coals, shisha, and hookah).
- Put a grommet on top of the hookah trunk and attach your bowl.
- Place quick-light or coconut charcoal onto the windscreen or foil and ignite (If using quick-light charcoal, please wait for the coals to ignite before inhaling from the hose).
- Slowly and steadily draw on the hose to begin heating the tobacco or herbal mixture and produce smoke.
- Periodically move the coals position on the windscreen to prevent burning, and shake off any ash clinging to them into the plate situated beneath the bowl.
- If the smoke begins to taste stale, gently blow into the hose to create a positive pressure and lift the ball bearing in the purge valve. Doing so will release any stale smoke in the basin.
Can You Use Cannabis in a Hookah?
Yes, it is possible to use cannabis in your hookah.
Although, there are a few things to consider. Shisha is very moist due to the presence of molasses and glycerin. Molasses and Glycerin are important insofar as they impart flavour to the tobacco (glycerin is sweet), but also because their inclusion protects against burning.
As such, if you are planning on adding marijuana to your hookah, you should consider packing the marijuana underneath the shisha. Doing so will ensure the cannabis doesn’t burn from direct contact with the coals and it will reduce the amount of cannabis in each draw.
If you get the proportions right, cannabis can enhance the hookah experience and make for a terrific smoking session.
Have a Look …
“how to make your own homemade weed shisha“