Celebrating Charlotte: The Life & Legacy of One of Medicinal Cannabis’ Youngest Activists

Charlotte Figi | CBD and dravet syndrome

Charlotte Figi: CBD and Dravet Syndrome

It’s difficult to talk about cannabis legalization without first discussing the importance of CBD legislation as the catalyst. It’s even harder to discuss the significance of CBD without hearing her name. Charlotte Figi, that is. The little girl with the massive heart and even bigger eyes that inspired the nation and the naming of an accidentally grown, CBD rich strain of cannabis now called, Charlotte’s Web. 

As one of the youngest recorded pioneers of one of Mother Nature’s oldest medicines, Charlotte Figi looked at you with eyes as bright as the healthiest of children! It was as if the pain of living with Dravet’s Syndrome, a rare, incurable, and genetic form of epilepsy couldn’t take her glow away all the way up until her premature death at the tender age of 13, in early April of this year.

Who is Charlotte?

In those thirteen years and despite suffering from Dravet’s since infancy, Charlotte Figi led a life to be honored, celebrated, and for many, mourned. For at the delicate age of five, and despite suffering debilitating grand mal seizures daily, Charlotte inspired a nation to open its mind on the life-saving benefits of now popular cannabis compound, CBD. All it took is one very public glimpse into her journey through medicinal cannabis use. Cannabis was only legal in two states at this time and prescribing it to children for any condition was frowned upon within and without the modern medical community.  

The world, still rooted deeply in propaganda and stigma at the time, needed a reason to listen about the medicinal benefits of the cannabis Sativa plant. After a 2013 CNN documentary aired, Charlotte became their reason. After trying every western medical and pharmaceutical intervention allowed by the FDA, Charlotte’s family looked towards then local dispensary owners, The Stanley Brother’s, as a last hope. 

Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte’s Web™ products were launched by the Stanley Brothers in 2012 after helping Charlotte, then just 5-years-old, manage her seizures and other Dravet syndrome-related symptoms. And they did! The soft-eyed, blonde-haired brothers from Colorado provided the Figi’s with a CBD|THC oil that dramatically reduced Charlotte’s seizures and improved her overall quality of life! 

The still-controversial decision to provide a young child with a product containing cannabis was a critical one, one that helped Charlotte go on to live nearly 9 more, relatively healthy, years, and went on to change the conversation about modern medicinal cannabis use, ultimately ushering in the wave that is the effort for full legalization in the United States. 

Plus, back then, the seven brothers from Colorado Springs, Colorado were just dispensary owners and growers. Nothing to be ashamed about, especially in a state with a new and booming legal cannabis market like Colorado! But none of them knew how they’d go on to help change the world’s collective minds on CBD as a treatment for children with a variety of chronic health conditions after pairing up with the Figi’s. 

The brothers were eternally inspired by Charlotte’s strength, story, and pains, and after watching the healing benefits of cannabis oil on their own uncle who suffered terribly from pancreatic cancer, they began to envision a newer, greener alternative to ailing patients and began to examine their particular role in its integration. 

Charlotte’s Legacy: CBD and Dravet Syndrome

The Figi’s never set out to be revolutionaries, they just wanted their daughter’s pain and discomfort to stop. Presumably, they were happy to have found a strain that worked and a supplier that they could rely on. Meeting the Stanley Brothers could have been divine intervention enough. Yet, after seeing that there was another way to treat their daughter, one with less negative side-effects than any other prescribed medicine taken leading up to it, the Figi’s decided to allow camera’s inside their home to document Charlotte’s impressive healing process in 2013! 

The documentary, Weed, hosted by renowned Doctor Sanjay Gupta brought worldwide attention to Charlotte, making her a key public figure in the cannabis legalization movement both at home and abroad. In 2019, Charlotte was back in the news as the first child to be featured on the cover of international magazine, High Times.

Her fighting spirit held out as long as it could and she eventually passed in our arms peacefully. We’d like to thank the staff at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs for their swift response and the impeccable and compassionate care that we received” said a public Facebook post from her mother and fellow fierce advocate, Paige Figi, alerting the community of the loss. 

One tribute said that she left the world how she came into it, in her mother’s arms. Perhaps there’s solace in knowing that especially in the end, at least they had each other. 

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  1. Laura Geftman on June 19, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks you so much little warrior. RIP Charlotte.

  2. […] their proprietary hemp formula helped then 5-year-old Charlotte with a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet’s Syndrome. The world, still rooted deeply in propaganda and stigma at the time, needed a reason to believe in […]

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