Charlotte Figi, Who Helped Mainstream CBD, Dies at 13 Due to Suspected COVID-19

Renee Fabian
Charlotte Figi curled up in her parent's arms

Article updated April 8, 2020.

Charlotte Figi, a girl with a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome and who helped normalize CBD use for chronic health conditions, died at the age of 13, according to the Realm of Caring Foundation, on Tuesday. She died from likely complications due to COVID-19, according to the Colorado Sun.

This is Nichole writing to update you for Paige, Greg and Matt. Charlotte is no longer suffering. She is seizure-free forever. Thank you so much for all of your love. Please respect their privacy at this time.

Posted by Paige Figi on Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Figi was born with Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that develops in the first year of life. It causes repeated seizures and typically doesn’t respond to existing epilepsy medications. Dravet syndrome can lead to other complications, including developmental disabilities. Figi’s parents shared she could have as many as two seizures an hour at its worst Figi was nearly out of treatment options when her father saw another child with Dravet syndrome responded to CBD.

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CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive strain of the cannabis plant that has shown promise for a number of chronic illnesses, including epilepsy, chronic pain and cancer, though additional research is needed. In 2012, the Figi family worked with the Stanley brothers, who own several Colorado dispensaries, to compound CBD products for Figi that didn’t include THC, the strain of cannabis that can get you “high.” The Stanley brothers created a line of products called Charlotte’s Web, which remains one of the most popular brands of CBD products.

Figi’s journey with medical cannabis ushered in a movement that helped destigmatize cannabis products and made them more widely available. Figi was featured on a CNN special in 2013, showing how CBD dramatically helped ease Figi’s seizures. Her story helped usher in widespread acceptance for CBD: 47 U.S. states now allow medical marijuana and CBD derived from hemp is legal nationwide. In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the CBD-based drug Epidiolex to treat Dravet syndrome.

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It is with a heavy heart that we write to let you know that Charlotte Figi passed away this afternoon. Charlotte's story…

Posted by Realm of Caring on Wednesday, April 8, 2020

According to Figi’s mom, Paige, the whole family had COVID-19 symptoms but were initially unable to get tested. Once admitted to the hospital, Charlotte tested negative, but she was still treated as a COVID-19 patient because of her symptoms. She died following a seizure that led to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. The U.S. currently has nearly 350,000 reported infections from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and 12,000 deaths.

“Charlotte was ten feet tall and carried the world on her shoulders,” wrote Charlotte’s Web on its website, adding:

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.

Related:Helping Kids Cope With Uncertainty During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Fans and friends reacted to her death on social media and shared condolences.

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