Charlotte Figi, inspirational figure in the CBD movement and namesake of the CBD strain Charlotte’s Web, passed away Wednesday.
Though only 13 years old, Charlotte had a momentous impact on medical marijuana awareness in the United States, and in particular the use of CBD. At the age of three, Charlotte was diagnosed with a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome. After traditional medicine failed to treat her chronic seizures, Charlotte’s mother Paige found a study on the effect of CBD on epilepsy which was little known at the time.
Paige worked with cannabis grower Joel Stanely to create a strain of high CBD concentration and low THC content, and the resulting product was named Charlotte’s Web. After the oil extracted from the flower was administered to Charlotte, the frequency of her seizures plummeted from 300 a week to just a few a month.
Charlotte’s story became well-known in the media in the years after, and has helped implement the widespread use of CBD on severe epilepsy.
She was admitted to the hospital this month due to pneumonia ,which had caused her seizures to resurface, and eventually led to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.
Since her death, influential members of the cannabis community have remembered her lasting impact on medical marijuana. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent and a former critic of medical marijauna, credits Charlotte with inspiring his change of heart.
“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,” Gupta said on air last week.
Adam Levin, Executive Chairman of High Times, also commented on Charlotte’s place in cannabis history. “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,” Levin said, as per Forbes.
“In a modern era defined by our need to breathlessly grasp onto pre-existing beliefs, Charlotte Figi changed minds globally just by living her life—a life that was radically transformed by medical cannabis. Can you imagine your child having more than 300 grand mal seizures per week, each one potentially deadly, and then realizing that a plant you’d been taught to fear and loathe is the only medicine that offers any meaningful relief? Charlotte never asked to be a part of this conversation, but her life’s unexpected collision with the cannabis legalization movement inspired an immeasurable shift in public sentiment. Charlotte’s astonishing life story brought so much hope and change to patients across the globe—and it also legitimized medical marijuana and forced the world to pay attention. She will forever be remembered as a pioneer whose brave life rewrote the definition of medicine,” said Ricardo Baca, former marijuana editor at The Denver Post and The Cannabist, and founder of Grasslands.