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Remembering Charlotte Figi, The Girl Who Helped Take CBD Oil Mainstream

Charlotte Figi

The reason CBD oil and CBD products are beginning to become mainstream have a lot to do with a girl named Charlotte Figi. Charlotte and her parents were featured in a documentary about medical marijuana (titled “Weed”) which showcased her severe epilepsy, but also how her condition drastically improved  through the use of CBD oil.

At the time, it was controversial. However, it was taken seriously enough for CBD oil to be studied as a potential pharmaceutical drug, culminating in the 2018 FDA approval of Epidiolex, a CBD oil that’s prescribed for two severe forms of childhood epilepsy.

Subsequently, CBD is slowly being acknowledged as having substantial potential medical benefits and is growing into a huge industry, which is partially thanks to Charlotte Figi (featured left; photo cred: Nichole Montanez).

If you or someone you know has had their life improved by use of CBD products, she helped pave the way.

Charlotte Figi Born With Severe Seizure Disorder

Charlotte Figi was born in 2006, and was diagnosed while still in infancy as having a severe epileptic disorder, which was confirmed as Dravet syndrome.

Dravet syndrome, discovered by Dr. Charlotte Dravet, is a particularly insidious form of childhood epilepsy. It’s characterized as causing frequent and severe myoclonic seizures, with onset in infancy. The disease manifests itself typically in the first year of life.

It begins as febrile seizures – which occur with the onset of fever – progressing into recurring febrile and non-febrile seizures, of myoclonic (muscle twitches) and other types, including full tonic-clonic seizures, whole-body convulsions formerly referred to as grand mal seizures.

The disease is harsh. Unlike other seizure disorders which can be treated with anticonvulsants, Dravet syndrome does not typically respond to them. Furthermore, neurological, muscular, and intellectual development are severely impaired.

Charlotte, by age five, was in a wheelchair. She was suffering upward of 300 tonic-clonic seizures per week, and could barely speak at all. As you can imagine, her parents were desperate.

Paige Figi, Charlotte’s mother, ran across some research indicating that CBD, then available as in a high-CBD/low-to-no THC marijuana tincture, could help reduce seizures. She obtained a blend formerly called “Hippie’s Disappointment” and started administering it to Charlotte in 2012.

And it worked.

Charlotte Figi Showcased In 2013 Documentary On Medical Marijuana And CBD

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Medical Marijuana And CBD

The results of Charlotte Figi taking the CBD tincture were dramatic. Her seizures declined from 300 per week to just a few per month and she started to actually have a life. The story got out, eventually attracting the attention of Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN.

Charlotte, her disease and the success of her treatment, as well as her suppliers the Stanley Brothers, were featured in the 2013 CNN documentary “Weed” as well as appearing on other programs including “Dateline NBC,” “The Doctors,” and “60 Minutes Australia.”

The coverage stimulated interest in the potential medical properties of CBD oil as well as in the potential of medical marijuana applications.

The Stanley brothers eventually changed the name of “Hippie’s Disappointment,” a strain of marijuana developed for high CBD and almost no THC content, to “Charlotte’s Web” in her honor, which is now sold nationwide.

The medical establishment took notice, and clinical trials found that treatment-resistant Dravet syndrome, as well as treatment-resistant Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, another severe childhood epilepsy disorder, responded positively to a CBD regiment. This led to the FDA approving Epidiolex, a 500 mg CBD oil, as a prescription drug for treating these disorders.

Charlotte Figi: Gone But Not Forgotten

Tragically, Charlotte Figi became ill in March of 2020. She developed pneumonia, as well as breathing problems and began to suffer seizures. Her family had had an illness, which included fevers, coughs, breathing difficulty and stomach problems. In other words, many of the same symptoms of COVID-19.

She was tested for the disease, but the test came back negative though COVID-19 doesn’t test positive in the late stages. She was put on a ventilator and was in the ICU. She was released after it appeared she was past the worst of it, despite suffering seizures.

However, her seizures and overall condition began to worsen. She was rushed to the hospital on April 8, 2020, where she died at the age of 13.

Charlotte was a fighter, and beat very long odds given her doctors had predicted she would not likely live past the age of 8. Sadly, over 20 percent of people who suffer from Dravet syndrome die before 18 years of age, most occurring before 10 years of age.

She played a big part in why CBD oil is being successfully used to treat epilepsy. She is also a reason why people are aware of the medical benefits of cannabidiol. While her life may have been brief, and certainly involved a great deal of suffering, in that way she touched a lot of lives.

If your life or that of someone you know has been improved by use of CBD oil, somewhere down the line it is, in some small part, thanks to her. Thank you to Charlotte and her family <3

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