KRDO Denver is reporting that Charlotte Figi has passed away from COVID-19 at the age of 13.
Charlotte was the little 6-year-old girl with Dravet Syndrome, an incapacitating form of childhood epilepsy, who was featured in the 2013 CNN documentary, “Weed,” starring Dr. Sanjay Gupta. His experience with Charlotte became a breakthrough in the world of medical marijuana.
Take the case of Charlotte Figi, who I met in Colorado. She started having seizures soon after birth. By age 3, she was having 300 a week, despite being on seven different medications. Medical marijuana has calmed her brain, limiting her seizures to 2 or 3 per month.
I have seen more patients like Charlotte first hand, spent time with them and come to the realization that it is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve marijuana.
We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.Dr. Sanjay Gupta, “Why I changed my mind on weed“
Charlotte started having seizures at three months old. She had suffered hundreds of grand mal seizures, which were stunting her development and risking her life.
Then she was given an oil extracted from a cannabis plant that was so low in THC and high in CBD it was first named “Hippie’s Disappointment,” because of its lack of intoxicating effects
Charlotte’s seizures dropped to two or three per month. In her honor, the strain’s developers, the Stanley Brothers, renamed the strain “Charlotte’s Web.”
Dr. Gupta’s about-face on medical marijuana and presentation of Charlotte’s case on CNN rocked the world. For decades, the plaintive wail of the prohibitionist was, “What about the children?!” With Charlotte’s case, that question was turned around for parents seeking treatment for their children with medical marijuana – “What about the children,” indeed.
That led desperate parents in non-medical marijuana states to become what have been come to known as “medical refugees,” fleeing their home prohibition for Colorado and other states that would allow children to be given this low-THC, high-CBD oil proven so beneficial for epilepsy.
By 2014, Utah – Utah! – became the first state to offer relief to these parents by legalizing the medicinal use of low-THC CBD oil for treatment of childhood seizures. Soon thereafter, fourteen states followed suit, many in states in regions with antipathy toward marijuana, like the Midwest and the South.
Today, thanks in part to the visibility of Charlotte’s success in that 2013 special, every state in the United States allows parents to use some level of low-THC high-CBD oil to treat childhood seizures – except Idaho and South Dakota (and S.D. has medical marijuana on the 2020 ballot).
Charlotte Figi did more to change marijuana laws in a shorter time just by surviving than any think tank, organization, or philanthropist. May her friends and family find comfort in knowing the impact she had on the world.