On 28 September 2018, then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh appeared for a testimony before the US Senate Judiciary Committee. Accused of sexual misconduct and assault, Kavanaugh’s past was dug into—especially his high school years—where his senior yearbook became an artifact to discern fact from fiction. Apart from ‘devil’s triangle’, one particular term that struck out among the entries was ‘boofing’.
“That refers to flatulence, we were 16,” Kavanaugh clarified, denying all allegations and inferences related to the term. However, boofing is neither listed as a synonym for ‘fart’ on Thesaurus.com nor featured on ‘150 Different Words For Fart’. And the latter is saying something—given that it mentions everything from ‘air biscuit’ to ‘get out and walk Donald’. So what exactly is boofing and why is it advised against in the modern context?
In the 1980s, when Kavanaugh mentioned it in his yearbook entry, ‘boofing’ was a slang term referring to anal sex. According to some forums, ‘boof’ grew out of ‘bu-fu’ (pronounced boo-foo), which was short for ‘butt fuck’. In 2006, the kayaking community leveraged the word to define a technique they use when paddling toward a waterfall. Let’s just say they were less than flattered to learn its origins at the time.
Fast-forwarding 15 years, the term has now mutated into a dangerous variant—far away from a 16-year old’s immature take on farts. It still involves one’s rear end, but for the insertion of drugs and alcohol. “Inserting drugs or having someone insert drugs into your body through your anus,” reads the top definition on Urban Dictionary for the term. “Better experience is allowing someone to blow the substance inside you with a straw.”
Before we get into other questionable techniques, let’s address some spin-off concepts originating from boofing. If boofing involves alcohol specifically, it is referred to as butt chugging or an alcohol enema. The practice consists of someone ingesting alcohol through their rectum to bypass the normal digestive system. People will often use beer funnels or rubber tubing to butt chug.
When it comes to drugs up our rear ends, the practice is also known as thumbing, booty bumping or booty popping. Similar to using a funnel in the case of butt chugging, this sketchy administration technique involves water-soluble drugs. Boofers will take whatever drug they’re interested in, dissolve it in a small amount of hot water, draw the mixture into a syringe (minus the needle) and squirt it into their colon after lubing up the rim of their rectum. Another technique involves the use of vodka tampons. Here boofers soak—you guessed it—tampons in alcohol before inserting them up their vagina or anal cavity.
Inserting substances into cavities is sadly not limited to drugs and alcohol either. Banyan Treatment Center cited the case of a couple, Trina and Mike from Saint Petersburg—who admitted to having an addiction to coffee enemas. Featured on the American documentary series My Strange Addiction, the couple believed coffee enemas to be an alternative type of ‘colon cleanser’ with healing and detoxing benefits for the body. However, these claims are yet to be backed by research.
Be it the techniques or the entire concept of intoxicating ingestibles up your butt, boofing makes one wonder: why? Does it work, and if so, how?
The major reason why boofers get behind the practice is because of its promise of an instant high. Your anal cavity has a huge number of blood vessels and a thinner surface layer. Substances inserted into this area are therefore absorbed into the bloodstream faster than through oral consumption—which can take up to an hour depending on one’s weight and other food in the digestive tract. This particular entry point allows drugs or alcohol to essentially bypass the digestive system. The effects of this practice may be felt mere minutes after administration depending on the dosage and the user’s tolerance to the drug.
Some people also swear that boofing generates different highs than smoking, snorting or swallowing drugs which contributes to its novelty and appeal. According to Healthline, the high from booty bumping may be felt more in your torso or limbs, versus the head-rush often associated with smoking. Others (including heterosexual, cisgender men) may also experience arousal.
So, does it work? Although not backed by research, boofers often stand by the practice. But then again, users over at StonedTok once believed vitamin C supplements could boost their high—although it proved to be a placebo effect.
Boofing may possess minor advantages when compared to other conventional routes like snorting and injecting, but the risks are more than enough to outweigh its mainstream usage. Because of its high absorption rate, the effects of boofing are also magnified. It’s easy to ingest higher volumes of drugs and alcohol through this passage—increasing the chances of an overdose.
Your poop chute is also not meant to handle these types of substances. Boofing may therefore end up damaging fragile tissue that is necessary to keep you alive. Side effects of the practice may include bloody stool, a constant feeling of needing to go to the bathroom, the inability to control bowel movements and tears in the rectal tissues or membranes. It only gets worse. Boofing can also block blood flow to several parts of the intestine and result in unnatural death of cells. In the severest cases it can also require colostomy, a surgery used to divert part of the colon away from a damaged portion—instead directing it to an artificial opening in the abdominal wall.
“For people who already have pre-existing conditions in this area, their problems are probably more serious and likely to get worse,” noted the Banyan Treatment Center. Chronic boofing may additionally increase the chances of contracting a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) as the mucous membranes protecting against such infections are the first to face damage.
To put all of this into perspective, boofers have previously died from engaging in the practice. If they had simply chugged the same amount of alcohol, the worst they would’ve experienced was a wicked hangover. So think thrice before trying it out ‘just for the lolz’. In the end, boofing is considered illegal even if you use legal substances that aren’t suppositories (drugs specifically designed to go up your butt). If a cop catches you butt chugging some vodka at a socially-distanced frat party with your pants down (enough of an embarrassment in itself), you can still get charged with illegal drug use.
Let’s talk economics—I know it’s dry, so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. Not to state the obvious but a large proportion of the Earth has been hit hard economically by the COVID-19 pandemic—the UK is no exception. The magnitude of the latest recession caused by the pandemic in the country is unprecedented in modern times. The UK saw a gross domestic product (GDP) decline of 9.8 per cent in 2020, the steepest drop since consistency records began in 1948. And going off estimates, some predict it was the hardest blow to GDP in over 300 years. This hasn’t been made easier by the pandemics’ timely appearance smack-bang in the middle of the country’s messy divorce we call Brexit, but let’s try and forget about that for now…
Such a knockback has led the Treasury desperate for new growth in industries, in a bid to kickstart post-COVID recovery and get this increasingly insular island back on its feet. And one of the few striving industries is the legal cannabis medicines and CBD wellness industry. It’s a relatively new sector already worth hundreds of millions of pounds, and, if the government plays its cards right, the UK could be the next big player in the field.
It’s no surprise that the CBD and medical cannabis market has the potential to bring in a lot of green—and when I say green, I mean cash. The CBD market alone is currently worth around 300 million pounds a year, according to Savills, with experts predicting this could rise to a whopping 1 billion pounds a year by 2025. Likewise, the medicinal cannabis market in the UK is expected to rise to the 1 billion pounds a year mark even earlier, by the year 2024. These figures, as well as the rising recognition that medicinal cannabis and CBD bring legitimate value to patients, is what has led the sector out of the weeds and into the mainstream.
The numbers speak for themselves. But if you’re still not entirely convinced, a new report by the cannabis entrepreneur network First Wednesday, released this week, revealed that the UK is now “Europe’s most active market for investment deals into cannabis start-ups, making up more than half of all-time investment volume in the sector.”
Moreover, the industries have recently been listed for the first time on the London Stock Exchange, a significant moment in which Anthony Lehane from Volteface, a third sector organisation that seeks to reduce the harm drugs cause to society and individuals, believes the push for legitimacy includes CBD and medicinal weed needs. “Now that the level of credibility is boosted in medical cannabis companies, it brought a lot of foreign public investment into the UK,” he told Screen Shot.
Instead of “large legislative reform,” Lehane is pushing for the government to “relax certain areas and encourage investment through very small hurdles” in order to bring the country ahead of the curb compared to its competitors (in particular across the English Channel). He continued, “For example, the farmers aren’t allowed to extract CBD in the United Kingdom, which is completely redundant. You can grow hemp but you then have to burn it—it makes no sense whatsoever.”
And it’s clear the UK has already started to act in order to reap the rewards of the successful medicinal cannabis and CBD market. The Taskforce for Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGGR), recently recommended a set of simple measures that would encourage investment, boost growth and ultimately manufacture taxable income.
One such recommendation called for over-the-counter CBD and pharmaceutical cannabinoid research markets to be moved from the Home Office and into the Department of Health and Social Care. It has also been recommended that the UK relaxes regulations related to the cultivation of hemp and extraction of CBD.
But is it just a pipe dream? When will it actually come to fruition? When asked, Lehane drew attention to a scheme Volteface ran in 2018 where they took three MPs—David Lammy, Jonathan Djanogly and Norman Lamb—to look at a regulated market in Canada. “Each of them agreed that we’re looking at a time frame of around five to ten years but I believe, with the post-recovery we’re looking at, we might be looking at five years tops.”