Charlotte Figi of Charlotte's Web
Charlotte Figi of Charlotte's Web

And a Child Shall Lead Them - Charlotte Figi, the Face of CBD, Passes Away at 13 Years Old

Charlotte Figi, the Face of Charlotte's Web CBD, Passes Away at 13

Posted by:
Chiara C on Monday Apr 13, 2020

Charlotte Figi, the Face of CBD, Passes Away at 13

Charlotte Figi Charlotte's Web CBD

Last Tuesday, April 7th, Charlotte Figi passed away from complications her parents believe were caused by COVID-19. She was 13.


But she certainly wasn’t just any 13-year-old. When she was five, Charlotte became the face of the medicinal CBD movement after reports of her epileptic seizures successfully being treated with the cannabis compound made national headlines and reached people around the world.


Charlotte was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome when she was just three months old. By the time she was five, she was having over 300 seizures a week or one every 30 minutes. It had gotten so bad that Charlotte had to use a feeding tube because she couldn’t swallow on her own. She had also been confined to a wheelchair. According to her parents, Charlotte had to be resuscitated on multiple occasions after her heart had stopped due to the seizures.


Needless to say, her family had tried everything to help her, going through dozens of medications and doctors even recommending veterinary medication as a last ditch effort. But nothing worked.


Frustrated and at the end of her rope, Charlotte’s mother, Paige, began researching alternative medicine, particularly cannabidiol or CBD, the non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. She had heard that it was being used to treat epileptic patients overseas. Later, she got in touch with the Stanley Brothers who were growing a high CBD, low THC strain called “Hippie’s Disappointment” from which CBD oil could be extracted. Paige made the oil in her kitchen sink.


Despite the family’s initial skepticism, the CBD oil worked beautifully. The first week of her new treatment, Charlotte went 7 days without having any seizures and it would later lower their frequency to two to three times a month, a huge difference to her former daily struggle.


Although her story resounded within the industry and among those in-the-know, especially after the Stanley Brother’s renamed the high-CBD cannabis strain Paige had used to treat her daughter Charlotte’s Web, the world didn’t hear about her amazing story until Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon and CNN’s chief medical correspondent interviewed Charlotte and her family for the multi-part documentary special “Weed” in 2011. Until then, Gupta had been against legalization, but Charlotte’s story changed his mind.


In CNN’s touching tribute to Charlotte on April 9, Gupta shared, “She made me realize that it would not just be a medical failing but a moral failing if this medicine was somehow withheld from people.”


Charlotte’s story didn’t just change Gupta’s mind. It signaled a breakthrough in the way people viewed plant medicine and was instrumental in allowing many more children just like her get the relief and treatment they so desperately needed. Just a day before Charlotte’s passing, the Drug Enforcement Administration descheduled Epidiolex, the only FDA-approved drug containing a cannabis compound that’s used to treat Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, two types of epilepsy, removing it from its list of controlled substances.


This will give those in need easier access to the drug. According to Leafly, “A descheduled Epidiolex means it’ll be easier to get by prescription. Suppliers don’t have to use as much security, more insurers might pay for it, more doctors might prescribe it, prescriptions last longer and can be refilled, and more pharmacies might stock it.”


After her passing, an outpouring of grief and tributes flooded the internet, from industry players to journalists to everyday people, all the people who Charlotte touched with her remarkable story.


The Stanley Brothers posted on their Facebook:


“She was a light that lit the world. She was a little girl who carried us all on her small shoulders.

Her legacy lives in the garden, in the blooming of ideas, in the fragrance of compassion, in the greenery of nurturing us to be better humans in all ways, always. What began as her story, became the shared story of hundreds of thousands, and the inspiration of many millions more in the journey of their betterment. Charlotte was and will be, the heartbeat of our passion, and the conviction that the dignity and health of a human being is their right.  Charlotte, you are the light of our lives. Thank you for your life, your bravery, and your beautiful soul.”


High Times, which put Charlotte on its cover, wrote:


"Charlotte Figi was an activist who forever changed the stigma associated with cannabis use. Putting a 13-year-old on the cover of High Times had never been done, but she was just as, if not more deserving than anyone who had previously graced our cover over the past 45 years of its cannabis legalization history.”


Despite the many lives Charlotte’s story touched and changed, she was unaware of the scale of her impact. Her mother told the New York Times, “She found incredible resolution from cannabis but she didn’t know.”


Here’s to Charlotte and her enduring strength of spirit. May she rest in peace.









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