Spice, Black Mamba, Skunk, and Red X. Those are just four of the nearly 450 combinations of synthetic marijuana. Most commonly known as K2, the drug has been around for nearly five years and gained popularity because users feel it's a harmless substitute to marijuana, allowing them to bypass drug screenings.
It's a trap Brandon Barrilleaux said he fell into.
"Everybody was doing it, and it didn't seem like it had any type of health effect to you. When you first start it, it's awesome. It takes very little, it gets you really high, and it's so extrem,e and it just shuts you down," said Brandon Barrilleaux, a former K2 user.
Barrilleaux began using K2 in 2010 and said while he felt there were no apparent side effects, his family members could see the effect the drug was having.
"I was blinded by my addiction. The downside of it that I didn't see was my loss of goals, I didn't want to work anymore, I didn't want to get out of my bed. All I wanted to do was smoke K2; that was it," Barrilleaux said.
While for many, those symptoms would be enough to stop use of the drug, for Barrilleaux, it took a more severe wake-up call.
"I couldn't put thoughts together, my urine started to turn a really dark color, I couldn't eat anymore. I was having to use it to go to sleep, I was having to use it to wake up, I was having to use it just to eat," Barrilleaux said.
A friend showed Barrilleaux a list of side effects from using K2 and after identifying with each symptom he knew it was time to seek medical attention. It's been nearly a week since he was released from the hospital and when asked what he's learned, he said it's best to get addiction help.
"I learned that if you have any type of drug addiction problem, do not substitute it for anything at all. Go get the help. Clean and sober living is the way to go," Barrilleaux said.
Barrilleaux said getting clean was not only important for himself, but for his growing family. His fiancee is 12 weeks pregnant.