Charlotte Figi has been through more hardships in her six short years than most people do in a lifetime. About a year and a half ago, seizures caused by a rare genetic disorder would rip through her tiny body up to sixty times in a day.
A plant of "Charlotte's Web".
Things had become so bad, that her parents had signed "do not resuscitate" forms for their daughter - deciding that if it was her time to go, then it would at least be the end of her suffering. At the end of their rope, her parents tried one last thing to prolong their daughter's life: medical cannabis. Not only did it work, it's drastically improved the quality of life for little Charlotte and other children around Colorado. Unfortunately, the treatment isn't legal for most U.S. children affected by this condition.
Colorado Springs Gazette reporter Barb Cotter told Figi's story in the paper over the weekend, detailing the family's struggle and the stigma that comes with giving your child medicine that many still see as an illegal drug.
"We really thought, this is a horrible existence; she's not going to live much longer." Paige says. "This is not a life for her. This is torture. She is suffering all day. I'm not OK with this. She wasn't even human anymore. She'd lie in my arms drooling, seizing, screaming and crying."
Her seizures have gone from more than 1,000 in a month to just three. She's now talking occasionally, eating on her own, standing and walking around the Figi home. Her physician, Dr. Alan Shackelford - a well-known medical cannabis advocate in Colorado - says the transformation has been astounding.
"Charlotte, when I first saw her more than a year ago, she was listless, really lying in her mother's arms. She did not speak, she could not walk," Shackelford told the Gazette"And when I compare that child to the little girl who bounded into my office when I last saw her, and laughed and danced, it was a different human being who was there."
Charlotte receives cannabis grown in Teller County, Colorado by the Stanley brothers, who were featured on the National Geographic channel's "American Weed". It's a special strain - dubbed Charlotte's Web - that has higher CBD content than it does CBD. The strain is tested, then extracted into olive oil that Charlotte can take orally. The success that the Stanley brothers have found with Charlotte has meant progress with other Colorado juvenile medical marijuana patients too - nearly 40 in all.
But despite the success in Colorado (and other medical marijuana states), children in non-medical states are left without this important option.
Click over to the Gazette for the rest of the moving story, and check out the video below on Charlotte's Web: