Her name was Charlotte Figi. At the age of 5, her parents began experimenting with CBD as “off-label” treatment for the rare form of epilepsy that she suffered terribly from. Remarkably, she improved radically, paving the way for a new generation of possibilities as she helped to highlight the remarkable healing potential contained within the cannabis plant.
Charlotte died of “respiratory failure and cardiac arrest” after experiencing a serious but as yet unidentified infection. She was 13 years old.
Charlotte Figi: A CBD Pioneer
Charlotte’s journey into the public spotlight began with a connection her parents fostered with a team of Colorado brothers who were developing a specialized strain of CBD for use in the exact type of situation that Charlotte found herself in. In many ways, the meeting was serendipity.
The selling point of Joel Stanley and his brothers’ proprietary CBD cultivation was that it contained very little THC, the ingredient in cannabis that produces the “high,” and high amounts of CBD, the ingredient that can treat seizures like the ones Charlotte suffered from daily.
Lo and behold, Charlotte responded better than anyone had anticipated to the treatment, even her own parents and the Stanley brothers.
The oil that helped Charlotte recover her health and allowed her to eat, play, and laugh again was named Charlotte’s Web in her honor.
Charlotte Figi: An Icon of the New Human Rights Movement
In a critical way, Charlotte represents a new human rights issue that has risen to the forefront of the public’s collective consciousness in recent years – the right to autonomy over our own bodies, in rejection of the dominion that governments have claimed throughout history.
The first major prohibition campaign of the American government came in the form of the doomed18th amendment to the US constitution that outlawed alcohol outright. The ensuing black market chaos resulted in massive profits for gangs, the rise of organized crime as a powerful force, and little to no success in reducing alcohol consumption.
Following the restoration of drinking rights to the citizenry, the government then shifted its focus to the cannabis plant, for a number of racist and economic reasons. In what Nixon called the “War on Drugs” that followed (a war that included American citizens as its target), millions of nonviolent drug offenders have been locked up, billions of tax dollars spent on military equipment for local police, illegal surveillance has become the norm, and marijuana use has only increased since the failed war began.
The wheels that Charlotte helped set in motion led to the eventual legalization of CBD, state by state, throughout the nation, culminating in the 2018 Farm Bill signed by the president that lifted the decades-long federal ban on hemp.
Charlotte’s story, and the many similar ones that told of heroism by parents desperate for a way to treat their children’s seizure disorders, became an icon for the legalization movement. Collectively, these cases of relocation to states where they could access high-quality CBD oil as medicine became known as “marijuana refugees.” They gained traction in local and, eventually, national media, pushing the narrative in favor of compassion and legitimization of CBD treatment as a real therapy worthy of legal protection.
What Charlotte’s young life, tragically taken too early, represents is the successful thwarting of unjust laws for the noblest of purposes – to protect innocent life. Charlotte story marked a turning point in American history when massive numbers of people began as a paradigm shift in terms of how they thought about