On April 7th, 2020, the world lost one of the major pioneers towards the acceptance of cannabidiol for medical use. Her name was Charlotte Figi, and this incredible 13-year-old completely changed the world of CBD as we knew it.
We will never forget Charlotte and her story. Every time we go to a dispensary, or purchase some CBD oil online, we can think of Charlotte and the mark she left on this community. Because of her, people around the globe are living their lives fuller, feeling better, and embracing the properties this plant can bring. Because of Charlotte Figi and her journey, the world of CBD, and the world as a whole, has become a better place.
After years of trying various specialized diets and harmful medications, and experiencing up to 300 grand mal seizures a week, Charlotte Figi’s parents made the choice to turn to CBD. This is Charlotte's story.
How CBD Made an Impact on Her Life & Vice Versa
At the age of 2, Figi’s cognitive development was very obviously declining due to her hours-long seizures. Finally, her parents made the choice to take her a neurologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado where she was officially diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of intractable epilepsy. Now, Charlotte had a diagnosis, but her family still did not have the answers--or solutions--they needed. Little Charlotte was only 3 months old when she experienced her first seizure. Lasting 30 minutes, Charlotte was hospitalized and given no answers to the unexplained episode she’d had. As the seizures became more frequent, and the tests continued to show no abnormalities, Charlotte’s family desperately searched for help..
Even after her diagnosis, years went by without relief for little Charlie. She was put on medication, diets, and treatments that made her slip away, and before the age of five, she had lost her ability to walk, talk, and even eat.. As Charlotte was experiencing nearly 300 grand-mal seizures a week, her father, Matt Figi, was looking for any answer he could possibly find to give his daughter the relief she needed. Along with his wife, Mr. Figi quickly started making provisions, searching into plant-based treatments — nature’s cannabidiol to be exact.
That’s when he stumbled across a video of a California boy with the same syndrome as Charlie. Only this boy had found success, and relief, through cannabis. High in CBD and low in THC, this strain of marijuana seemed to effectively reduce the number of seizures the boy experienced. Maybe, Matt thought, it could do the same for his little girl — and he was right. With CBD in her system. Finding doctors to support the parents’ decision wasn’t easy, as medical support behind this idea was practically nonexistent; but, eventually, Paige and Matt Figi got the “ok” to give their suffering daughter cannabidiol extract. It was a gamble, but it paid off: almost immediately, the seizures slowed. Instead of experiencing seizures several times a day, she went weeks without pain, finally getting to live the life her parents had always dreamed of her having.
Charlotte went from 300 seizures a week, to two to three per month. She was able to regain her strength, eat on her own, and speak to her heart’s content. This specific strain was soon named after her, and Charlotte’s parents found that just a few milligrams of Charlotte’s Web could give the girl the life she deserved.
After this, both Charlotte and her family became vocal about the benefits of cannabis, specifically cannabidiol. Their story spread like wildfire and, soon, people everywhere we’re changing their minds about the plant. Quickly, Charlie became well-known as the miraculous little girl behind Charlotte’s Web, and she was an inspiration to us all.
Soon, Charlotte’s Webb was a hit within the CBD industry, and almost every person knew of Charlotte’s story. Her journey was a miraculous one, and though it was practically unheard of, it allowed questions to be raised and research to be conducted pertaining to all things CBD. Eventually, the US government permitted the use of a drug called Epidiolex, one that contains cannabidiol itself, to help treat rare forms of epilepsy, granting relief to those who thought they’d never get it.
Quickly, the family started working directly with a dispensary in Colorado to produce the oil Charlotte needed at the rate that her parents thought she required to keep her healthy. Thus, Charlotte’s Webb was created. And, thus, Charlotte’s Webb changed lives, and not just Charlotte’s, either.
Her Legacy Continues
At 2½, Figi was tested her for SCN1A mutation, a mutation that is one of the tell-tale signs of Dravet Syndrome. Dravet Syndrome, the family’s “worst-case” scenario, is a severe, intractable form of epilepsy that simply couldn’t be treated with medication. With this answer, the family felt relief, but still, more questions came without answers — until CBD was introduced.
During a time where cannabis was still fighting its antiquated negative stigma, the world was able to see exactly how healing, and how innocent, this cannabinoid was, and just how much relief it can bring to those who are suffering. Though Charlotte’s case is unique, and CBD cannot typically be utilized as a treatment, this does not discount the influence that young Charlotte had over the cannabis community as a whole.
Thanks to Charlotte Figi, children, adults, and the eldery alike are given the chance to turn to medical cannabis, especially when they feel like they’ve tried everything. While Charlie and her family didn’t invent the idea of CBD oil or utilizing it medically, their story helped to show the nation that cannabis isn’t some scary, intoxicating substance that the world had so previously demonized. Instead, it was a gentle, soothing drip of oil that was able to give a little girl a life full of happiness and love.
A Final Say
Certainly, the world has lost one of the most influential figures within the CBD industry-- and she was just barely a teen. Charlotte Figi, the little girl who inspired the medicinal Charlotte’s Webb CBD strain, lost her life at the age of 13 but thankfully has left behind a legacy that will be remembered and cherished for lifetimes.
On its own, there is not enough research to prove that CBD is a valid form of treatment for any medical condition. However, Charlotte and her story opened up the topic for discussion, giving us, and the medical community, so many different factors to consider that previously never would have otherwise. The specific plant had been demonized for decades; now, it was giving a little girl the chance to live life again. For the entire cannabis community, Charlotte’s story was transformative.
All in all, we will never forget the things that Charlotte was able to do for this community. She was able to humanize this industry and show people everywhere that we’re all just looking for ways to live our best lives, whether it be through CBD or not. Thanks to Charlotte, the topic of CBD is on everyone’s minds, and, every day, we’re making strides to continue to make this little girl proud.