When we hear the title Charlotte’s Web, we automatically think of the poor runt pig Wilber and his unlikely friendship with a spider named Charlotte. In the story, Charlotte saves Wilber from ultimately being butchered by weaving messages about him in her web.
But there is another Charlotte’s Web that the world is talking about now, and it doesn’t have to do with a kindly spider as much as seven determined brothers growing medicinal marijuana in Colorado. Though very different in content, both Charlotte’s Web stories share one very important commonality: Both have happy endings about helping to save a life.
Charlotte’s Web is a high-CBD hemp cannabis strain that was developed by the Stanley brothers in 2011. The Stanley brothers are cannabis growers in Colorado who now have a line of CBD products made from the CW extract. The Charlotte’s Web oil was originally extracted to help treat a cousin of the Stanley brothers who had cancer and found other treatments to be ineffective. It was after this that Paige Figi found out about these brothers and their production of CBD oil. She contacted the Stanley brothers and told them the story of her little girl, Charlotte. This is when the story of Charlotte’s Web CBD oil really started to gain attention.
In the first two and a half years of her life Charlotte had suffered from undiagnosable severe seizures which lasted between 30 mins to a few hours. Doctors could not help and these where very tough years for her parents, but she was luckily diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome (a life threatening form of epilepsy). Although still very serious this lead to hope that Charlotte could now be properly treated. She had been using Benzodiazepine and Barbiturates with no avail but also due to their aggressive and addictive properties Charlotte’s parent’s took her off the medication.
After tiring their options of treatments, the Figis became desperate. By the age of five, Charlotte was having 300 tone-clonic (also known as grand mal) seizures a week. Her brain was continually becoming more and more damaged and Charlotte eventually lost her ability to walk, talk and eat. The Figi family had already come to the painful realization that they may lose their daughter to a condition they couldn’t seem to control. They had signed do-not-resuscitate papers at the hospital and had all but given up hope for her recovery. Charlotte’s little body had taken a beating over the course of her five short years, and it seemed not much more could be done.
That is, until Charlotte’s father, Matt, started to research medical marijuana. Since the family lived in Colorado, which legalized marijuana in 2000, they could freely partake of it medicinally. One catch was that they needed a doctor to sign off on it first. Many doctors were unsupportive of the idea of a child taking marijuana, as the research on the long term effects of marijuana on the brain and heart was still up in the air. It could damage her, they argued.
However, the damage they spoke of was in people who smoked cannabis, and Charlotte would be using it as an oil. On top of that, her brain was so damaged already, what could be the harm in trying?
The Figis persevered and finally found Dr. Margaret Gedde who agreed to support their decision to use cannabis on Charlotte. A new door had finally opened for them.
The Figis found a dispensary in Colorado that offered R4 marijuana which is said to be high in CBD and low in THC.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical compound in the cannabis plant. Unlike the cannabinoid THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, CBD is non psychoactive, meaning it does not give a high. CBD is often extracted for medicinal use, as it contains properties that have been proven to help with health conditions such as neurological disorders. Since the discovery of the health benefits of CBD, the production of CBD oils has sky rocketed, which is good news for Charlotte and others like her.
With the first dose of CBD oil, Charlotte’s seizures stopped for the next seven days. The Figi family went from saying good-bye to their daughter, to having hope again.
After this is when Charlotte was introduced to the Stanley Brothers. These brothers were crossbreeding a marijuana strain that was high in CBD but extremely low in THC. Without the THC, not many people were wanting it, but it became the best answer for Charlotte’s condition.
At first, the Stanley brothers were apprehensive in giving Charlotte cannabis. It does, after all, have a bit of a negative stigma attached to it, and they certainly didn’t want people to think that they were getting a child high. But Charlotte became more important than a stigma, which is a good thing, because the Stanley brother’s marijuana changed her life completely.
Charlotte is now 10 years old and can walk, talk and even ride a bicycle. She has gone from 300 tonic-clonic seizures a week to maybe two or three occurrences a month. She is smiling, laughing and playing again, which is a gift that any parent can appreciate. It (CBD) has also been helping children serious illnesses and epileptic seizures all over the world.
The Stanley brothers became so inspired by Charlotte’s experience that they named their strain of high CBD cannabis after her: Charlotte’s Web. They have a line of products that contain the extract of Charlotte’s Web available. Due to the strain being so low in THC, it is actually considered hemp. Though the CW product’s website states that this is legal to purchase in all 50 states, that idea seems to be up in the air. According to the DEA, CBD is still a schedule 1 substance, so purchase with that in mind.