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When Charlotte Figi was just three months old, she experienced her first seizure which lasted for an agonizing 30 minutes. She was rushed off to the hospital immediately, but doctors were unable to diagnose her symptoms properly. After an extensive examination, both her scans and blood tests were found to be normal, and doctors subsequently sent Charlotte and her parents away, presuming that the seizures would settle.
But they didn’t. Over the next few months, Charlotte suffered from frequent seizures that would last as long as two to four hours, and her condition wasn’t improving. Doctors believed that there were three possible diagnoses for this very mysterious condition, the worst case scenario being Dravet syndrome, also referred to as myoclonic epilepsy of infancy, or SMEI. At age two, she really started to decline cognitively and was experiencing over 300 seizures a week. This was when Charlotte’s parents decided to take her to Children’s Hospital Colorado. A neurologist from the hospital confirmed that she did, in fact, have Dravet syndrome, an exceptionally rare and debilitating form of epilepsy.
The problem was that even though Charlotte’s parents, Paige and Max Figi, now knew what condition they were dealing with, they didn’t know how to deal with it. Despite being on several different types of heavy-duty medications all at once, Charlotte’s condition was getting increasingly worse. Treatment options were few and far between, and this is when Charlotte’s father came across a video of a boy whose Dravet syndrome was being successfully treated with cannabis; a sativa strain to be more specific. This strain was low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound of cannabis, and high in cannabidiol (CBD) which is renowned for its medicinal properties and has no psychoactive effects.
How The Family Moved On To Marijuana
Because of Charlotte’s age, health professionals were skeptical about using medical marijuana as a treatment option. This was when The Stanley Brothers, one of Colorado’s greatest marijuana growers, came to mind. At the time, the six brothers were crossbreeding a strain of cannabis that was high in CBD and low in THC.
After much debate, it was decided that Charlotte would be given a dose of CBD oil from this strain twice a day in her food. It was soon discovered that around three to four milligrams of CBD oil per pound of her body weight was able to reduce the number of seizures to only twice a day. The strain that Charlotte, along with 41 other patients, use to treat symptoms of diseases such as epilepsy has been named Charlotte’s Web in honor of the little girl who gave doctors a new outlook on medical marijuana.
This hybrid strain of medical marijuana is unique in that it maintains a constant ratio of 30:1 of CBD to THC. It has been jokingly dubbed as “Hippies disappointment” because of the low THC and high CBD content, with the aim to create a strain of cannabis that has all the medicinal properties but none of the psychoactive effects found in other strains of marijuana. This is what makes this strain ideal to treat children such as Charlotte.
However, this wasn’t by any means an easy feat. When Paige and Max first decided that they were going to give medical marijuana a try, finding two doctors that would sign off on a medical marijuana card for their daughter was no easy task. She was the youngest patient in the state of Colorado to ever apply.
Since scientists don’t fully understand what the long-term effects of early marijuana use may have on children, doctors were skeptical. Studies done on adult marijuana smokers have shown that negative side effects include increased risk of heart attack or diminished lung function. But Charlotte wasn’t going to be smoking the stuff.
After hearing a resounding no from every other doctor, Paige eventually got hold of Dr. Margaret Gedde, who agreed to meet the family. The second doctor who signed on was Alan Shackelford. What ensued was the creation of Charlotte’s Web CBD. Today, Charlotte is ten-years-old and thriving. Her seizures only occur between two and three times a month, almost always in her sleep.
Charlotte’s web today
Today CW Hemp is one of the most recognized brands in the world and has been the receiver of numerous awards. Established following the success story of Charlotte Figi, the company has now been around for nearly a decade and earned itself a great reputation. Originally founded by the Stanley Brothers, they are the exclusive distributors of Charlotte’s Web. But it doesn’t end there. They have since expanded their range and now offer other products, including capsules, balms, topicals, and creams.
Charlotte’s Web has been a real game changer in the world of cannabis and medicine. Today, medical professionals and society are more open to the medicinal benefits of marijuana and how it can be used to treat various medical conditions.