Charlotte Figi, the sensational cannabis heroin, passed on last Tuesday; this article highlights 7 key things that she will be remembered for. As the cannabis industry mourns her, it is time to reflect on her immense contributions to the medical marijuana industry and her relentless effort to leave the world a better place than she found it. This, she has achieved in her brief lifespan.
Charlotte Figi graced this planet for a mere 13 years, but her life has left an indelible mark in this generation and others to come. We at Cannabis Reports condole with her family at this time of their loss. We also join the 420 fraternity in celebrating the heroic life of Charlotte Figi.
Charlotte Figi’s Phenomenal Life
Her birth was like any other, being born as a twin child to Paige and Matt Figi. At three months of age she had her first seizure and from then on it was a roller coaster of sorts as her seizures rapidly progressed in frequency and severity. At the height of her condition, she could experience up to 300 seizures a day. At age five, she was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet’s syndrome
Is it possible to have 300 seizures in a day?
Yes it is, and Charlotte Figi is not the only child who has experienced such severe form of epilepsy- Dravet’s syndrome.
What is Dravet’s Syndrome?
Dravet’s syndrome is a rare form of epilepsy that is multi drug-resistant. It usually begins in the first year of life and affects otherwise healthy infants. It’s a lifelong condition and may cause varying degrees of disability in children. Treatment usually involves fever and seizure management to avoid emergencies. Diet therapy and vagus nerve stimulation have also proved helpful in some cases.
Charlotte’s story continued . . .
Apart from the seizures, Charlotte had to be fed with a tube all the time and she was also in a wheelchair. After a long search for something to help their child, the parents stumbled upon a rare type of treatment- cannabidiol (CBD) oil.
The particular CBD oil that was originally used by Charlotte was derived from a marijuana strain that was known as “Hippies disappointment,” this was later renamed Charlotte’s Web strain. This strain is now popular and widely used in the medical marijuana community. The Stanley brothers are the creators of Charlotte’s Web marijuana strain.
When Charlotte was started on CBD oil her condition drastically improved and she moved from having 300 seizures to about one seizure in a week. Back then in 2012, medical marijuana was illegal in many parts of the US, including Colorado Springs where Charlotte was raised.
CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta played a huge role in bringing the case of Charlotte Figi as well as CBD to the limelight. In 2013, the CNN aired a documentary titled “Weed” that featured Charlotte’s story. It’s a funny coincidence that Dr. Gupta had penned an article on for Timein 2009 that was titled “Why I Would Vote No On Pot.” Right here is evidence of the vital role played by Charlotte Figi in changing public perception of medical marijuana.
Charlotte Figi’s story sparked a pro-marijuana movement that has since led to the legalization of medical marijuana in several states across the US. In 2019, Charlotte Figi became the first child to be featured on the cover of the popular cannabis magazine- High Times.
Charlotte Figi’s Death
Charlotte Figi was hospitalized in the NICU at the beginning of the month with a bout of pneumonia. This triggered a relapse of severe seizures and caused her to go into respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. On April, 7thshe passed away peacefully in her mother’s arms.
Paige Figi took to Facebook to announce the untimely death of her daughter Charlotte. In her words, she said, “Charlotte is now seizure-free forever.”
Did Charlotte Figi Die of COVID-19?
It is not clear whether Charlotte Figi’s death was as a result of the COVID-19 viral infection. COVID-19 test had turned negative but the hospital treated Charlotte as a possible positive case. The family suspects a possible case of false-negative as has been happening in some cases. However, Colorado State has not included Charlotte in their COVID-19 statistics and maintains that no child has died so far in the state as a result of coronavirus.
Things to Remember about Charlotte Figi’s Life
1. Her story helped to destigmatize medical marijuana
By airing her story on the CNN in 2014public sentiment on medical marijuana was transformed. Charlotte quickly became the “human face” of medical marijuana and this drew empathy from many quarters. Marijuana ceased being the “hippie campaign” as Charlotte and her family allowed the skeptical masses to take a peek into the young girl’s daily struggle and witness the positive difference that marijuana made in her life.
The Stanley brothers, via their business blog, have made a statement on the passing of Charlotte Figi which read in part;
“She grew, cultivated by a community, protected by love, demanding that the world witness her suffering so that they might find a solution. . . Her story built communities, her need built hope, and her legacy will continue to build harmony.”
Charlotte inspired parents with children suffering from severe forms of epilepsy to move to Colorado where they can easily access CBD treatment. Charlotte and her family did not shy away from sharing their journey with all and sundry and in this way they have given hope to families in similar predicaments.
2. She brought the plight of children living with Dravet’s syndrome to the limelight
Before Charlotte Figi was thrust to the limelight, not much was known of this condition that affects one in about 16,000 children. Thanks to her story being aired on CNN, the condition received publicity and even got the eye of multinational pharmaceuticals. This led to the creation of a CBD based drug for the treatment of severe childhood epilepsy.
3. She triggered change in cannabis laws
Charlotte Figi’s story inspired the passage of pro-cannabis laws in different states. Between 2014 and2015 thirteen states passed laws to expand access to medical marijuana.
Republican congressman Scott Perr introduced the “Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act of 2015” to exclude CBD from the Controlled Substances Act(CSA).
Charlotte has also worked with several legislators to vouch for pro-cannabis laws and amendments.
4. The birth of CBD based treatment for severe forms of epilepsy – Epidiolex
In 2018, the Federal Drug Agency (FDA) approved the first CBD based drug – Epidiolex- for the treatment of Dravet’s and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. These are two severe forms of intractable childhood seizures that are incurable.
Several clinical trials have subsequently been carried out to determine the efficacy of CBD in treating different medical conditions.
5. Charlotte Figi popularized Charlotte's Web marijuana strain
Charlotte’s Web is one of the most popular marijuana strains that are used for medicinal purposes. It has high amounts of CBD. The strain was created by the Stanley brothers who named it in honor of the little CBD heroine- Charlotte Figi.
Charlotte Figi and her family introduced other families in a similar predicament to Charlotte’s Web. This strain has been used in the treatment of various medical conditions making requiring high-CBD amounts.
6. Charlotte played a huge role in cannabis activism
This little girl in her short lifespan managed to start two nonprofits to promote cannabis research and push for legislative changes in the space. Realm of caring and Coalition for Access Now have nationwide support and help to keep the cannabis conversation going. Through her activism, she created avenues for affected families to exchange stories and motivate each other to keep pushing for greater accessibility of CBD treatment.
7. She taught the medicinal cannabis community resilience
Paige Figi, and many others, have eulogized Charlotte as a resilient girl who worked hard to show the world the potential of medicinal cannabis. In spite of her life-threatening condition, Charlotte used every resource within her means to create positive change for affected families.
Even in death, Charlotte did all she could to keep fighting as aptly put by her mother in her recent FB post:
“Her fighting spirit held out as long as it could and she eventually passed in our arms peacefully.”
We join the rest of the world in mourning the loss of this CBD hero who taught us so much in such a short while, even as we mourn with other families that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Charlotte Figi is dead, but we will keep remembering her for these 7 things.