Charlotte Figi, Namesake of Charlotte’s Web CBD Brand, Dies at 13


Charlotte Figi, the young Colorado girl whose debilitating condition led to the development of an eponymous cannabidiol (CBD) brand called Charlotte's Web, died on Tuesday at the age of 13.

Figi suffered from a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome and used CBD oil to help treat frequent seizures. Her condition inspired the Colorado-based Stanley Brothers to launch a leading line of hemp-based CBD products bearing her name and influenced thousands of others to create CBD brands.

In the weeks leading up to her death, Figi and four other family members had experienced symptoms associated with the coronavirus -- fever, coughing, and shortness of breath -- and were instructed to “self-treat” at home unless conditions worsened.

On Friday, April 3, Charlotte Figi was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado after her conditions worsened. Although she tested negative for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, she was treated on a floor designated for COVID-19 patients “using all of the medical protocols set in place,” according to a post on her mother Paige Figi’s Facebook page

She was discharged on Sunday, April 5, but two days later experienced a seizure that led to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.

“Her fighting spirit held out as long as it could and she eventually passed in our arms peacefully,” Paige Figi wrote on Facebook.

If public health officials determine that Figi’s death is attributable to COVID-19, she would be the youngest coronavirus victim in Colorado, according to the Colorado Sun.

Charlotte Figi’s cannabis journey went mainstream in 2013 when CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta told her story as part of a deep dive into the medical benefits of marijuana for his “WEED” documentary. 

After the special report aired, Figi became a symbol of the CBD movement and a testament to the healing powers of medical cannabis. 

As news of her death spread across social media on Wednesday, the condolences poured in.

“Charlotte lived a life of tremendous significance,” U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted. “Her story inspired me to completely change my views on medical cannabis and successfully pass legislation so that patients could get help in Florida.”

U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) also shared the news on Twitter and said Figi made “made a positive and everlasting change in the world.”

“Charlotte changed the way the nation thinks about #CBD through her grace and advocacy,” he wrote. “We should honor her by fixing our federal cannabis laws as soon as possible.”

For their part, the seven Stanley brothers -- Joel, Jared, Jesse, Jon, Jordan, Josh, and Austin Stanley -- penned a memorial honoring Figi and called her a "light that lit the world."

“Charlotte was ten feet tall and carried the world on her shoulders. Inspiring is a lacking word, as are courageous and vivacious and strong and beautiful. She was divine,” they wrote.

According to CNN, Charlotte Figi is survived by her parents Paige, Greg Iafeliece and Matt Figi, brother Max and twin sister, Chase.

Figi’s death came just one day after the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) told British drug company GW Pharmaceuticals that Epidiolex, a cannabis-derived drug containing CBD, is “no longer subject to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).”

In a press release, GW Pharmaceuticals CEO Justin Gover said the descheduling of Epidiolex -- which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of seizures associated with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome on June 25, 2018 -- would “further ease patient access” to the drug. 

Nevertheless, the cannabis plant itself remains a schedule I substance under U.S. federal law. 

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