For many people, Charlotte Figi was the introduction to CBD and the power of its medicinal benefits. On the anniversary of her passing, we wanted to shine a light on the amazing story that reached the hearts of so many.
As a child, Charlotte suffered from debilitating seizures resulting from Dravet syndrome, a rare, incurable, lifelong, form of epilepsy that begins in infancy. After having her first seizure at 3 months old, Charlotte’s seizures became more constant, and brutal, worsening until her diagnosis of Dravet syndrome at age 2.
The Figi family tried several methods to treat the disease with little success, from pharmaceutical intervention to a ketogenic diet that would help Charlotte naturally increase seizure fighting chemicals in her body. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to help Charlotte, Dravet continued to ravage her body and her family saw her mentally and physically decline. By age 5, Charlotte was having 300 grand mal seizures a week. The lack of success with other treatments in combination with Charlotte’s rapidly decreasing quality of life eventually led the Figi family to seek alternative treatment. Everything had been tried – except cannabis. Inspired by a story of another family who was using CBD to treat their son’s Dravet syndrome, the Figi family moved to Colorado in hopes of finding the same success in treating Charlotte. And it worked.
Charlotte’s story rose to public prominence after being featured in a CNN special, Weed, in which Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, dove deep into the topic of medical cannabis – and showed the world how Charlotte was able to live a normal and relatively seizure free life only through the medical intervention provided by her CBD oil.
The CNN special that brought Charlotte’s story to public attention:
Charlotte’s story gave the medical cannabis movement legitimacy. There was no question that cannabidiol was the one treatment that had helped Charlotte live the conventional childhood that all children deserve to live. The way that CBD demonstrably changed her quality of life was able to change hearts and minds.
In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex. Epidiolex contains cannabidiol as a therapeutic ingredient, and is now approved for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome seizures for children two years of age and older. Charlotte was key to that evolution and success.
Charlotte’s parents, in partnership with the Stanley brothers who cultivated and processed the high CBD cannabis that Charlotte utilized in her treatment, created the non-profit Realm of Caring. Realm of Caring works to fund cannabis research in an effort to obtain reliable data with which we can educate communities on the medicinal benefits of cannabis. Research is necessary to continue advocating for medical cannabis, as Dr. Sanjay Gupta, after the CNN special that featured Charlotte aired, took a deeper look at the research and discovered that only “about 6% of the current U.S. marijuana studies investigate the benefits of medical marijuana. The rest are designed to investigate harm. That imbalance paints a highly distorted picture.” Realm of Caring not only provides research, but also a variety of stories just like Charlotte’s, in which patients across the globe have found healing through cannabis products.
Unfortunately, last year on April 7, 2020, Charlotte Figi passed away after presumably contracting COVID-19 at age thirteen. The sudden loss of Charlotte was felt by so many who were inspired by her strength and advocacy throughout her short life. Charlotte’s impact remains the footprint of our path forward. Her fight paved the way for so many more people to benefit from plant medicine. Her impact will never be forgotten, and this is why we choose to remember her amazing life on the anniversary of her passing.Though Charlotte is no longer with us, the wave of her powerful story with cannabis continues to ripple outward, she continues to change the world.
In honor of Charlotte’s life and legacy, Realm of Caring is holding a free event to celebrate the life of Charlotte through music and connection. Rock the RoC is a virtual, memorial and benefit concert to pay tribute to Charlotte Figi. As one of many proud sponsors of Rock the RoC, Terrapin is spreading the word about this amazing event, which will feature performances by the Avett Brothers, Jason Mraz, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Ruthie Foster, Michael Franti, and many more! Tune in at 6 pm, MST, to watch the concert and show your support to lead us to a world where legal plant medicine is one option to ensure wellness and access for all.
Click here to grab your free tickets to this event. If you would like to make a donation to support Realm of Caring and their mission to fully research the medicinal benefits of cannabis to provide community education, click here.