The Beginnings of Cannabis Treatments for Children
Charlotte Figi was only 3 months old when she had her first seizure that lasted a nightmarishly-long 30 minutes. From that day forward, the seizures only got worse. Before long the baby suffered from multiple seizure episodes each day. Even worse, a single seizure could last up to four hours! By the time she was two, Charlotte had begun presenting Autistic behaviour patterns and showed indications of severe cognitive decline. At three years of age, Charlotte became non-verbal, could no longer eat, and was confined to a wheelchair. After seemingly endless doctor’s visits, young Charlotte was diagnosed with Dravet’s Syndrome, a rare and debilitating form of epilepsy.
No Success with Standard Treatments
Despite years of trial-and-error with some heavy-duty pharmaceuticals, by age five, Charlotte still suffered from up to 300 grand mal seizures a week. As one can imagine, this put a tremendous strain upon her already exhausted body. After an episode where her heart quit beating, doctors induced a coma just so that her poor body could recover from the trauma of these violent and prolonged seizures.
Charlotte’s doctors had no other options in their arsenal and their orthodox treatment regimen had not yielded many positive results, if any at all. Charlotte’s grandfather had related several stories he found in his research of some amazing results of parents using cannabis to treat their children suffering from epileptic seizures. Particularly notable was the success story of a young boy also diagnosed with Dravet’s. The family made the decision, after years of unsuccessful treatments to have Charlotte try cannabis extract.
At age 6, Charlotte’s parents finally succeeded in getting two doctors to prescribe a cannabis oil extract for Charlotte, not an easy feat to accomplish at the time because of her age. Prescription in hand, her father went to the medical dispensary and asked for the extract with the lowest THC and highest CBD. He mixed it into a form she could ingest and fed a small amount to his daughter. The results were drastic and almost immediate. Charlotte went from having seizures almost every two hours, 300 times a week to no seizures for an entire week.
“I LITERALLY SEE CHARLOTTE’S BRAIN MAKING CONNECTIONS THAT HAVEN’T BEEN MADE IN YEARS,” — MATT FIGI.
At the time, the market for medical-grade cannabis low in THC was almost non-existent and the supplies of it reflected that. Charlotte had found her cure, but it wasn’t very profitable to produce since most medical users sought high THC extracts.
Stanley Brothers Accept the Challenge
The family approached the Stanley Brothers who are medical marijuana growers and dispensers from Colorado who agreed to cultivate a strain with the properties that Charlotte needed so desperately. They crossed a strain of low-THC medical marijuana with industrial hemp, jokingly calling it “Hippie’s Disappointment” because of its lack of THC, the molecule that causes users to feel “high”.
“THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT TREATING A CHILD, LIKE LITTLE CHARLOTTE IS MOST PEOPLE THINK THAT WE’RE GETTING HER HIGH, MOST PEOPLE THINK SHE’S GETTING STONED,” — JOSH STANLEY
After the strain worked so well to stop this child’s seizures, the brothers changed the name to Charlotte’s Web in her honour.
An increasing number of scientific studies show CBD can regulate epileptic seizures without the side effects common with prescription pharmaceuticals.
How Does CBD Reduce Seizures?
The nervous system of the human body has an Endocannabinoid System (ECS), endocannabinoids are naturally produced cannabinoids that interact with cannabinoid receptors — CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mainly found in the brain and are responsible for dealing with things like pain, movement coordination, cognitive abilities (thinking, memory), appetite and emotions. CB2 receptors are more commonly found in the immune system and have an effect on things like pain and inflammation.
When CBD is introduced to the human body, it interacts with the cannabinoid receptors and stimulates the body to produce more of its own endocannabinoids. Scientists are uncertain exactly how this reduces epileptic seizures.
Is CBD Right for You or Your Loved Ones?
Full-spectrum CBD extracts have low-toxicity and most side-effects are considered very mild. The potential for abuse is almost non-existent. CBDs have been used to successfully treat minors with the following medical conditions:
- Epilepsy & Epileptic Seizures
- Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
- Anti-inflammatory & Pain relief
- Anxiety Disorders
- Diabetes (Type 1)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post Traumatic Stress