Charlotte Figi, a 13-year-old who suffered from a severe type of epilepsy and became the inspiration of a CBD movement, passed away on April 7.
Charlotte was hospitalized due to breathing problems, seizures and was found to have pneumonia. Her case was treated as likely to be COVID-19, although she later tested negative for the coronavirus. This was according to her mother, Paige Figi.
In a post written on Paige Figi’s Facebook account to announce her daughter’s death, one family friend commented a thank you for love given to Charlotte, saying she is now seizure-free and no longer suffering forever.
Symbol for hope
After a feature in the documentary “Weed” by Dr Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Charlotte’s story has become the symbol for what cannabidiol holds in store for patients like her. She was shown in the film as a playful child who endured bouts of terrible seizures, which were relieved by a marijuana strain named after her, Charlotte’s Web.
The rare type of epilepsy Charlotte suffered from was Dravet Syndrome, which could not be controlled by typical medication. The Stanley Brothers, Colorado marijuana growers, crossbred a marijuana strain. It has high cannabidiol but low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. It is marketed as therapeutic cannabis for many health conditions, including seizures. THC is the psychoactive ingredient of recreational marijuana.
When Charlotte began to take the CBD oil, her symptoms lessened. It enabled her to eat, play and interact with other people, which she had a hard time doing before.
In a memorial post by the Stanley brothers on their website, they recounted how Charlotte was only ten feet tall yet carried the weight of the world on her shoulders. They called her, courageous, strong and beautiful, indicating how inspirational she has been. The world has seen her suffering, and it urged the community to protect and love her, urging to advocate the solution to her seizures.
The Stanley brothers strikingly stated how Charlotte’s courage had moved others on a cellular level.
Charlotte was not expected to live past the age of eight, but she thrived from the support of people and her loving family: her mom Paige and her twin sister, Chase.
Everyone in the family fell sick around the same time in the past month. Paige wrote on Facebook that they felt a slew of symptoms including cough, fevers, pain, stomach pain and difficulty in breathing. The rest of the family eventually recovered, but Charlotte began falling worse, suffering from seizures again. It led her to land back in the hospital.
Greg Iafeliece, Paige’s husband, made a post indicating their family survived a “month of a virus”, except for little Charlotte whose condition didn’t improve.
The post had Charlotte’s photo lying in a hospital bed with an IV hooked on her arm and a mask, with hair tucked behind her ears.
Greg recounted Charlotte experiencing days where she seemed to be convalescing, only to fall sicker. He expressed his helplessness seeing Charlotte suffering from seizures while she was in the hospital.
Charlotte was discharged on a Sunday, but a few days later on a Tuesday, she had a severe bout of seizure and passed away with her family surrounding her in her last moments. She is survived by Paige, Greg Iafeliece, and Matt Figi, her parents, and her siblings Max and Chase.
About Charlotte’s Web
Charlotte’s Web, produced by the Stanley brothers from Colorado, is a high-cannabinol and low-tetrahydrocannabinol Cannabis strain being sold as a dietary supplement under the US federal laws. Due to its low THC content, it does not produce the high that is typically experienced by recreational marijuana users. Therefore, it is used as a remedy for many ailments, including pain and seizures.
The product is named after Charlotte Figi who, after taking medical marijuana for her Dravet Syndrome, was found by her physician and parents to have reduced symptoms when she was five years old.
Throughout Charlotte’s use of the non-psychotropic marijuana strain, there were only anecdotal reports about the efficacy of the product. However, the USFDA later approved a CBD-based drug called Epidiolex, which is an oral solution formulated to treat two forms of epilepsy.