Coronavirus: Charlotte Figi, Colorado girl who inspired medical marijuana reform, dies at 13

Coronavirus: Charlotte Figi, Colorado girl who inspired medical marijuana reform, dies at 13
In a 2014 photo, Charlotte Figi, walks around inside a greenhouse for a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web, which helped stop her seizures. Figi died Tuesday. She was 13. (Brennan Linsley/Associated Press)

Charlotte Figi, a Colorado girl who helped launch movement that led to sweeping changes in marijuana laws worldwide, died in Colorado Springs from complications likely related to the coronavirus, her family announced on social media. She was 13.

A friend of Figi’s family posted news of the girl’s death on Facebook on Tuesday, noting that "Charlotte is no longer suffering. She is seizure-free forever. Thank you so much for all of your love.”

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Paige Figi clarified in an update of her Facebook post that the family had been suffering from a flu-like illness for the last month, but had difficulty in obtaining COVID-19 tests since they didn’t meet all of the testing criteria. Charlotte’s symptoms became severe enough to require hospitalization, but she tested negative for COVID-19 while in the hospital, where she was treated on the COVID-19 floor and was discharged when her symptoms seemed to be improving. A couple of days after discharge, she experienced a seizure which required hospitalization, where she was treated as a a likely COVID-19 case.

Realm of Caring Foundation a nonprofit that focuses on medical cannabis research and education, originally attributed Figi’s death to “COVID-19 complications” in a Facebook post, but then removed that language in an update.

Neither El Paso County nor state health officials have publicly announced the death of a 13-year-old Colorado resident due to the coronavirus, The Denver Post reported. If confirmed, Figi would be the youngest person to die in Colorado in connection with COVID-19, the newspaper reported.

Figi suffered from Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that caused her to have violent seizures, KDVR reported. Her use of cannabis oil to treat the seizures helped curb them, the television station reported.

Figi had been suffering from seizures since she was 3 months old and pharmaceutical treatments had been ineffective, The Colorado Sun reported. When Figi was 5, her mother, Paige Figi, gave her cannabidiol, the compound in cannabis commonly known as CBD, the Post reported.

The CBD strain of cannabis that helped Charlotte Figi was named Charlotte’s Web in her honor, according to the Sun.

Paige Figi and the founders of the Charlotte’s Web product became advocates for legalizing CBD, the newspaper reported. The Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act was passed by Congress in 2014.

“Your work is done Charlotte, the world is changed, and you can now rest knowing that you leave the world a better place,” the Realm of Caring Foundation wrote on Instagram.

In a Facebook post, the Charlotte’s Web team eulogized Charlotte.

“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,” the team wrote. “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.”

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