A little girl named Charlotte...
A little girl named Charlotte… It was back in 2013 when I first saw a video of a little girl having a grand mal seizure. I was familiar with seizures like this as I have a family member who suffered from epilepsy when they were a child. This however, was different. This girl, Charlotte Figi was suffering 300 seizures per week. It was so upsetting to see this small child have such terrible seizures, not once, but repeatedly and with no end in sight.
At the age of three years old this twin would begin her battle with Dravet Syndrome. A 30-minute seizure would be the beginning of a terrorizing journey for Paige and Matt, Charlotte’s parents. They tried everything possible including:
- Second and third doctors’ opinions.
- Several heavy-duty medications, which reduced the seizures somewhat but caused other unintended side effects.
- Dietary changes helped with the seizures but caused other issue that could not be ignored.
With her condition worsening and with 300 seizures a week she became unable to walk, talk, or eat. Eventually her health would deteriorate to the point that her heart had stopped several times and she had been repeatedly hospitalized.
There was nothing left that they could do…or was there? Charlotte’s parents, Paige and Matt, who is a former Green Beret, were not about to give up. They would search endlessly for something, anything, to help their child have a normal life and not have any more of these terrifying seizures. They both believed that there must be something out there to help her. Then one day, Matt was reading an article about a young boy with Dravet Syndrome in California. He had been successfully treated with marijuana. His seizures had been reduced dramatically.
They thought, where do I get marijuana for my daughter and is it safe? They inquired with many doctors on the efficacy of giving this drug to a child. Almost all the doctors they spoke with said no, no, no, don’t do it. The thing is when your child is in pain you will do anything to help them. They ended up finding a dispensary in Colorado that sold a very low THC marijuana but was high in CBD. So, they decided to buy the marijuana strain know as R4 and had a friend extract the CBD (cannabidiol) from the weed and then had it bonded to olive oil. Within the first hour no seizures. Amazing! Her parents thought this has got to be a fluke. Let see what happens… but a week later Charlotte was still responding to the CBD. They only problem now was they were going to be running out of this new miracle they had found that worked.
The Stanley Brothers who were marijuana cultivators, had started their own journey in 2008 after their uncle was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. These brilliant brothers grew different strains and then extracted the whole plant components and made different blends of THC to CBD ratios. These CBD products can be made with strains that are low in THC, which is why you will not get high or have the psychoactive effects normally associated with marijuana. The brothers were able to develop a strain that was super low in THC and high in CBD. That strain was named Charlotte’s Web for Charlotte. This little girl started an industry that has helped many people deal with many different issues like seizures, cancer pain management, stress management and sleeplessness just to mention a few. And let us not forget all of the children that will never have to suffer from 300+ seizures a week with this discovery. I hoped one day to say thank you to Charlotte for bringing CBD to everyone’s attention and for the relief that I personally have from CBD. The CBD industry would still be unborn if not for Charlotte’s journey. Because of the notoriety of this little girl, many of the laws have changed across the country with regards to medical marijuana, which in turn has opened the door for CBD.
Unfortunately, I will never get a chance to say thank you to Charlotte. It is with great sorrow that I write that she has been taken from us this week at the young age of 13 on April 8 due to complications with COVID-19. May you rest in peace little angel. Know that your struggle has helped countless people. We send our heart felt love to your entire family and thank them for not giving up on their search. You are a little girl that helped change the world.