After the Stanley brothers met Charlotte Figi, a child suffering from a rare form of epilepsy who was not responding to prescription drugs, they knew they wanted to do something to help her. The Figi family began treating their daugher with a specific strain of high cannabidiol/low THC marijuana, which the Stanley brother renamed “Charlotte’s Web” after the five-year-old.
Before beginning treatment in 2012, Charlotte was having up to 300 grand mal seizures a week and had lost most of her motor skills. With the help of the “miracle drug,” Charlotte’s seizures are down to three or four a month, and she is able to walk, talk, and feed herself again.
Since then, the Stanley brothers, along with Paige Figi, Charlotte’s mother, have started the Realm of Caring (RoC), a 501C3 non-profit organization to help “provide a better quality of life for residents of Colorado affected by various debilitating conditions through the use of concentrated medicinal cannabis oil,” according to the RoC website.
RoC has also set up divisions of the organization in California, which allows widespread use of medical marijuana, and Florida, which will begin allowing the use of only the Charlotte’s Web strain in January 2015 and has a vote for a constitutional amendment to allow for more widespread use coming up in November.
Through RoC, Colorado patients can sign into the Patient Portal and access online order forms, video tutorials, and dosage information. Non-Colorado residents can sign up for the out-of-state and international waiting lists, read stories and see videos from success stories, and find information about upcoming events.
Currently 11 states have laws that allow for the use of cannabidiol oil made from medical marijuana strains such as Charlotte’s Web. Missouri’s law was passed by both its House and Senate, and Gov. Jay Nixon (D) is expected to sign the bill. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has agreed to work with various groups to investigate the efficacy of cannabidiol use, and a broader medical marijuana bill was passed there on June 20 of this year.
A federal bill to “exclude industrial hemp and cannabidiol from the definition of marijuana” was introduced to Congress in July of this year. Sponsored by Scott Perry (R-PA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Paul Brown (R-GA), the “Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act” would,
“give groups like the Stanley brothers the ability to harvest more plants and extract more oil, facilitating the much needed growth for the Realm of Caring to help the 8,000+ people on the Charlotte’s Web’s wait list, as well as the millions of US patients seeking access to Charlotte’s Web.”
While the Republican sponsors of the bill, Perry specifically, say that this bill will not change their mind about overall marijuana legalization, the health benefits of Charlotte’s Web cannot be ignored. And any step towards getting patients an all-natural treatment is a positive one.
Amy is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. You can follow her on Twitter @AEddings31.
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