Reports of Figi’s death first appeared online on April 7. According to a Facebook post by the family, Figi died of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest after an extremely severe seizure, likely brought on by illness. Her entire family were sick with a severe illness resembling COVID-19 for a month prior.
Figi suffered from Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy that begins in the first year of life. People with Dravet syndrome suffer frequent, intense, prolonged seizures and the condition resists conventional forms of epilepsy treatment. Remarkably, cannabidiol, a natural compound found in cannabis that’s better known as CBD, brought relief from the hours-long seizures she often suffered, reducing their length and frequency.
In 2014, International Business Times called Charlotte Figi “the girl who is changing medical marijuana laws across America.” Through the lobbying efforts of the Figi family, Charlotte became the figurehead of a nationwide movement. Soon, lawmakers changed cannabis laws, allowing thousands of children and others with severe, untreatable epilepsy to access CBD. She helped lead the way to nationwide legalization of hemp in 2018.
A low-THC, high CBD strain of hemp called “Charlotte’s Web,” one of the first strains bred for this purpose, is named for Figi. Charlotte’s Web, the largest CBD supplement brand in the industry, also bears her name.
Read more on Ministry of Hemp. This was a very hard article to write, and news that’s left me grieving ever since I heard it. I know almost everyone working with hemp or CBD is grieving right now too. She left an amazing legacy for a 13 year old girl.