Remembering Charolette Fig!

Karen Berger, PharmD, Medical Writer

Charlotte Figi was described as “the first poster child for the issue” of medical cannabis, “the girl who is changing medical marijuana laws across America,” and “the most famous example of medicinal hemp use.” .

All of us at MyCureAll were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of 13-year-old Charlotte Figi. Realm of Caring, a nonprofit in Colorado Springs, Colorado, announced the passing of Charlotte Figi, on April 8. The announcement was on their Facebook page, and stated:  “It is with a heavy heart that we write to let you know that Charlotte Figi passed away this afternoon. Charlotte’s story directly impacted thousands of families across the globe and has changed the face of cannabis in many ways. 💚 Some journeys are long and bland and others are short and poignant and meant to revolutionize the world. Such was the path chosen by this little girl with a catastrophic form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. Charlotte’s mom, Paige, helped pave the path for thousands of sick children with little hope for a future. A life that created a revolutionary movement in legitimizing cannabis as a therapeutic option. Your work is done Charlotte, the world is changed, and you can now rest knowing that you leave the world a better place.  With broken hearts, we cradle the Figi’s/Iafeliece’s in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you, Charlotte, for dedicating your life to the service of a greater good. We promise to carry on the mission. 

 

We ask you to keep this family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Paige’s Facebook profile was updated with this public post on Tuesday evening:

“Our family is grateful for the outpouring of love while we mourn the loss of our Charlotte. Charlotte had a catastrophic form of early childhood epilepsy called Dravet syndrome. We are moved by the continual impact that Charlotte’s life has made shedding light on the potential of cannabis for quality of life. We’d like to clarify some of the information that has been shared. Our entire family had been ill for close to a month starting early March, but did not initially fit all of the criteria for COVID-19 testing. For that reason, we were told to self-treat at home unless the symptoms worsened. Charlotte’s symptoms worsened, so she was admitted to the PICU on April 3rd. She was treated on the COVID-19 designated floor using all of the medical protocols set in place. On Friday April 3rd, she was tested, the results were negative for COVID-19 and discharged on Sunday April 5th when she seemingly began to improve. Charlotte had a seizure in the early morning on April 7th resulting in respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. Seizures are not uncommon with illness and paramedics were called returning us to the PICU. Given our family’s month-long history with illness and despite the negative test results, she was treated as a likely COVID-19 case. Her fighting spirit held out as long as it could and she eventually passed in our arms peacefully. We’d like to thank the staff at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs for their swift response and the impeccable and compassionate care that we received.” Charlotte Figi was born on October 18, 2006, along with her twin sister, Chase, to Paige and Matt Figi. She had her first seizure at just three months old. By age five, she was in a wheelchair, had up to 300 grand mal seizures a week, required a feeding tube, and had difficulty speaking. 

In 2012, Charlotte began taking CBD oil. She used a low-THC strain called “Hippie’s Disappointment.” The strain, produced by the Stanley brothers, was referred to as “boring” because of its low THC content. The Stanley brothers later renamed the product Charlotte’s Web, in Charlotte’s honor. Because of the low THC content, Charlotte’s Web is legal in all 50 states. 

Using Charlotte’s Web, Charlotte’s seizures decreased from 300 a week to 2 to 3 per month. She was able to stop prescription anti-epileptic drugs, and was able to walk, play, and feed herself. When news of Charlotte’s success spread, hundreds of families with children with similar diagnoses (self-proclaimed “marijuana refugees”) began moving to Colorado Springs. Charlotte gained worldwide media attention – she was the subject of Sanjay Gupta’s CNN documentary “Weed,” among many other television shows, documentaries, and articles. She became well-known in both the US and international medical cannabis movement. Charlotte’s experience helped support US legislation on medical cannabis. Charlotte’s Web is now one of the best-selling CBD products on the market, with a $95 million revenue in 2019. The Stanley brothers posted a tribute on the Charlotte’s Web website.

Paige Figi, Charlotte’s mother, shared a meaningful quote from Anne Frank on her Facebook page. “Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”

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