After struggling with severe epileptic seizures her entire life and helping change the public's perception of medical marijuana use, Charlotte Figi has died at the age of 13. "Charlotte is no longer suffering. She is seizure-free forever," a post on her mother's Facebook page read. "Thank you so much for all of your love."
The young girl from Colorado had a rare condition called Dravet Syndrome, a drug-resistant form of epilepsy, and became the face of "Charlotte's Web," a low-THC medical marijuana strain that has had some reported success in helping to reduce the amount of seizures suffered in children, according to The Colorado Sun. Charlotte's mother, Paige Figi, had been instrumental in advocating for the use of medical marijuana as treatment for her daughter's debilitating seizures. According to KRDO, Charlotte's parents had "exhausted of heavy-duty drugs" before turning to alternative options, such as cannabidiol.
To help treat her severe and frequent seizures, Charlotte's parents worked with a medical marijuana dispensary in Colorado to create "Charlotte's Web," a cannabis strain that contains "a high concentration of CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, and a low concentration of the psychoactive component, THC," according to Business Insider. In the 2013 CNN documentary WEED, which featured Charlotte's story, the young girl's parents said that their daughter began experiencing some relief.
That documentary, Charlotte's story, and the public need for medical marijuana to help with conditions like seizures eventually "led to sweeping changes in marijuana laws," according to The Colorado Sun.
Following Charlotte's death, the company that created and sells Charlotte's Web oil, run by the Stanley brothers (Joel, Jared, Jesse, Jon, Jordan, Josh, and Austin) shared a message on the company's website about the young girl's importance to them and the people she ended up helping along the way.
"Charlotte’s cause was her family’s cause and created a foundation of plant-based health that breathed life into their daughter, and the countless sons and daughters like her," the tribute read. "What began as her story, became the shared story of hundreds of thousands, and the inspiration of many millions more in the journey of their betterment. Charlotte was and will be, the heartbeat of our passion, and the conviction that the dignity and health of a human being is their right."
A post shared on the Facebook page for Realm of Caring, a nonprofit co-founded by Charlotte's mother that focuses on cannabis research and education, had indicated that Charlotte's death was due to "COVID-19 complications." The post has since been edited and does not mention the novel coronavirus.
"It is with a heavy heart that we write to let you know that Charlotte Figi passed away this afternoon," the edited post from April 7 reads. "Charlotte's story directly impacted thousands of families across the globe and has changed the face of cannabis in many ways."
"Charlotte's mom, Paige, helped pave the path for thousands of sick children with little hope for a future," the post continued. "A life that created a revolutionary movement in legitimizing cannabis as a therapeutic option.Your work is done Charlotte, the world is changed, and you can now rest knowing that you leave the world a better place."