Charlotte Figi, girl whose epilepsy treatment sparked CBD movement, dies at 13 of probable coronavirus

In this 2014 photo, Matt Figi hugs and tickles his once severely-ill 7-year-old daughter Charlotte as they walk around inside a greenhouse for a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web, which was named after Charlotte early in her treatment, at a grow location in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo. She died at age 13 of a probable case of coronavirus on Tuesday April 7, her family said.
In this 2014 photo, Matt Figi hugs and tickles his once severely-ill 7-year-old daughter Charlotte as they walk around inside a greenhouse for a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web, which was named after Charlotte early in her treatment, at a grow location in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo. She died at age 13 of a probable case of coronavirus on Tuesday April 7, her family said.(Brennan Linsley/AP)

Charlotte Figi, the girl whose search for a treatment for her severe epilepsy helped spark the medicinal CBD movement, has died of what is probably coronavirus.
She was 13.
Charlotte Figi, the Colorado girl with a rare form of epilepsy whose recovery inspired the name of a medical marijuana oil that drew families to the state has died.
Charlotte Figi, the Colorado girl with a rare form of epilepsy whose recovery inspired the name of a medical marijuana oil that drew families to the state has died. (Brennan Linsley/AP)
“Charlotte is no longer suffering,” read the Facebook announcement, posted by a family friend on the girl’s mother Paige Figi’s page. “She is seizure-free forever. Thank you so much for all of your love. Please respect their privacy at this time.”
Figi later updated the post with gratitude and more details of her daughter’s last days.
“Our family is grateful for the outpouring of love while we mourn the loss of our Charlotte,” she wrote. “Charlotte had a catastrophic form of early childhood epilepsy called Dravet syndrome. We are moved by the continual impact that Charlotte’s life has made shedding light on the potential of cannabis for quality of life.”
Before CBD oil, the Colorado Springs girl was plagued with massive, gran mal seizures, as many as 300 a week at age 5, due to the severe form of epilepsy she had. She used a wheelchair, suffered cardiac arrest repeatedly, and had trouble speaking.
However once she started taking the oil, which was later named Charlotte’s Web after her, the girl was able to lead a near-normal life.
With low THC levels, the compound that makes a user high, and high levels of CBD, which is thought to quell brain tremors, it showed promise in treating epilepsy. But it was illegal in most states. The treatment was controversial, but parents said it works, and people began flocking to Colorado in a desperate bid to improve their children’s symptoms.
Charlotte’s death came after the family had been ill for a month with a virus they suspected to be coronavirus, Figi said in her post.
“Our entire family had been ill for close to a month starting early March, but did not initially fit all of the criteria for COVID-19 testing,” Figi said. “For that reason, we were told to self-treat at home unless the symptoms worsened.”
Charlotte’s symptoms did worsen, she said, which got her admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit last Friday. She was treated as if she had COVID-19, with all the attendant protocols, but her test was negative, Figi said. Improving, she was discharged on Sunday.

“Charlotte had a seizure in the early morning on April 7th resulting in respiratory failure and cardiac arrest,” Figi said. “Seizures are not uncommon with illness, and paramedics were called, returning us to the PICU. Given our family’s month-long history with illness and despite the negative test results, she was treated as a likely COVID-19 case. Her fighting spirit held out as long as it could and she eventually passed in our arms peacefully.”

Figi’s post ended with a thank-you to staff at Children’s Hospital Colorado “for their swift response and the impeccable and compassionate care that we received.”

As young as she was, Charlotte left a legacy that could help legions of people. Today, as The Colorado Sun noted, 47 states permit CBD products legally, hemp production is federally legal, and Charlotte’s Web is one of the most sought-after such products on market. Her story and efforts helped soften opposition to marijuana legalization for other purposes, the Sun noted.

In 2018, health regulators in the U.S. approved the first prescription drug made with CBD to treat rare forms of epilepsy in young children, the Associated Press reported.

“Your work is done Charlotte,” the Realm of Caring Foundation, which Figi co-founded, wrote on Facebook. “The world is changed, and you can now rest knowing that you leave the world a better place.”

3 comments:

  1. must have been off her CBD while in the killer hospital. poor child.

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