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Medicinal marijuana halts child's life-threatening seizures

Sunday, August 18, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: medicinal marijuana, childhood seizures, alternative medicine

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(NaturalNews) Charlotte Figi's parents thought they had tried everything to save their daughter from a life marked by constant seizures and the gradual decline of all her motor skills and cognitive abilities. That is, until they stumbled upon the amazing healing power of medicinal marijuana, which effectively reduced the young girl's roughly 300 grand mal seizures a week to just a few minor ones a month, and also dramatically restored her ability to walk, talk, and function like a normal, healthy little girl.

When she was first born, now-six-year-old Charlotte seemed to be in good health. But at just three months of age, the child, whose parents lovingly refer to as Charlie, experienced her first seizure, which lasted about 30 minutes. Charlotte's parents rushed her to the hospital where doctors put her through a battery of tests and scans to see what was wrong, but came to no conclusions. And yet Charlotte's seizures continued, increasing in both frequency and intensity.

With the help of one of Charlotte's doctors, the Figi's eventually came to the conclusion that their daughter has a rare brain disorder known as Dravet Syndrome, also known as myoclonic epilepsy of infancy or SMEI, that causes her to have frequent seizures that cannot be mitigated using common medications. Thus, in the eyes of the conventional medical system, Charlotte was bound to suffer a life of ever-worsening seizures accompanied by the progressive decline of her overall personhood.

The Figi's tried all sorts of drugs, diets, and even experimental treatments to help their daughter, but none of them worked and Charlotte continued to get worse. After digging through all sorts of data he found online, however, Charlotte's father Matt, a military contractor, came across the case of a young boy with Dravet Syndrome from California who had experienced great success with medicinal marijuana. Eager for a solution, as Charlotte had at this point lost her ability to walk, talk, and eat, Matt and his wife, Paige, decided to give the unconventional treatment a try.

Colorado's acceptance of marijuana as legitimate medicine made it possible to save Charlotte's life

Since the couple lives in Colorado, where medicinal marijuana is legal, they were able to eventually obtain the plant after finding the required two doctors to sign off on a medical marijuana card for young Charlotte. This was a difficult process, they recall, as Charlotte was very young at the time and little was known about how marijuana would affect a child in such an early developmental stage. But finding the right doctors and going through with the process anyway would prove to be the best decision the Figi's made with regard to their daughter's health.

"(Charlotte had) been close to death so many times, she's had so much brain damage from seizure activity and likely the pharmaceutical medication ... when you put the potential risks of the cannabis (marijuana) in context like that, it's a very easy decision," says Dr. Margaret Gedde, one of the two doctors to sign off on Charlotte's medical marijuana card, as quoted by CNN.com.

The other doctor, Harvard University-trained physician Dr. Alan Shackelford, agrees, having told reporters that all other conventional options had been tried, except for marijuana. After finding a dispensary in Denver with a special strain of marijuana known as R4, which has since been renamed "Charlotte's Web" in honor of Charlotte -- R4 is high in medicinal cannabinoids and low in psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) -- the Figi's quickly put their daughter on a regular treatment with the plant's oil, and since that time, the young girl has made a dramatic recovery.

"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," says Josh Stanley, owner and operator of one of Colorado's largest marijuana growers and dispensaries. Stanley and his brother also operate the Realm of Caring Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides low-cost or free cannabis to adults and children who suffer from a host of debilitating illnesses.

Be sure to read Charlotte's entire story at CNN.com:

You can also learn more about the Realm of Caring Foundation by visiting:

Sources for this article include:





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