In this Feb. 7, 2014 photo, 7-year-old Charlotte Figi, whose parent describe her as once being severely and untreatably ill, walks around inside a greenhouse for a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web, which was named after Charlotte early in her treatment, at a grow location in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colorado. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)
April 9, 2020
Charlotte Figi, the face of the CBD movement, died on Tuesday. She was 13 years old.
A family friend announced the news on Tuesday evening from Charlotte's mother, Paige Figi's, Facebook page.
"Charlotte is no longer suffering. She is seizure-free forever. Thank you so much for all of your love," she wrote.
Charlotte's battle with Dravet Syndrome, a catastrophic, lifelong form epilepsy that first appears in childhood, kicked off a CBD advocacy movement that is credited with tectonic shifts in U.S. drug policy.
Charlotte had her first seizure at 3 years old, and soon was seizing hundreds of times per week. By 5, she was placed in hospice. In spite of the tremendous odds, her mother wouldn't give up the fight.
Paige went on the hunt for medical marijuana, having heard about its effectiveness in treating seizures. She eventually found the Stanley Brothers, Colorado-based cannabis growers and dispensary owners. They introduced Paige to the low THC, high CBD strain of cannabis that would eventually bear Charlotte's name: Charlotte's Web.
Upon taking CBD, Charlotte's seizures subsided to the point that she eventually went off of her pharmaceutical medication and could walk, eat, and play again. Publicity surrounding the lifesaving relief Charlotte achieved with CBD, especially a 2013 CNN documentary, kicked off a storm of demand and advocacy.
Today, industrial hemp is legal across the U.S., and CBD is legal in all but three states, according to Leafly. In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved CBD-based Epidiolex for use in treating severe epileptic conditions like Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The Drug Enforcement Agency removed epidiolex from the Controlled Substances Act this month.
"Some journeys are long and bland and others are short and poignant and meant to revolutionize the world," Realm of Caring, a nonprofit founded by Paige Figi, posted to its Facebook page on Wednesday morning. "Your work is done Charlotte, the world is changed, and you can now rest knowing that you leave the world a better place."
Charlotte fell ill in early March, initially from what her family thought was a cold. Her mother, Paige Figi, wrote a harrowing description on Facebook of the illness, which had sickened the entire family of five for the better part of a month.
"All five still sick, home IVs, oxygen, fevers, pains, coughs, struggling to breathe, GI stuff, major weight loss, Charlotte vomiting," she wrote.
Charlotte's condition deteriorated, and she was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit on April 3 but was discharged on April 5 after testing negative for COVID-19. She ultimately passed away on April 7, after suffering a seizure.
In spite of her negative test, her family said the hospital treated Charlotte as a likely COVID-19 case.