Charlotte's web: how cannabis could help epileptic children

The Realm Oil, or Alepsia was developed by the Stanley Brothers, one of Colorado's largest marijuana growers and dispensary owners, through a process of breeding which created a variety with less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and more cannabidiol (CBD) than typical varieties of marijuana. Because it is so low in THC it does not induce the psychoactive “high” typically associated with recreational marijuana use. For this reason originally they called this oil “Hippie's Disappointment” but the risk to developing brains is much lower and now it's famous as Charlotte's web.

Charlotte Figi was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome when she was two years old and she was having 300 grand mal seizures, where she lost consciousness and suffered violent spasms, a day. Her parents had tried everything, until they turned to the web for research and found the marijuana they now use to treat their child as a last hope. Charlotte uses an olive oil solution containing the high CBD marijuana extract that she receives under her tongue or in her food. In 2013 she had about four seizures per month, and now she is able to engage in normal childhood activities.

Her story was featured in 2013 in a CNN documentary “Weed”, hosted by Sanjay Gupta. The documentary received widespread publicity, and it popularized Charlotte's Web and Realm Oil as a possible treatment for epilepsy and other conditions.

Many parents have flocked in Colorado with their suffering children in search of Charlotte's Web and other forms of medical marijuana. In November 2013, CBS Denver reported that: “there is now a growing community of 93 families with epileptic children using marijuana daily. Hundreds are on a waiting list and thousands are calling. "They have been termed "marijuana refugees", "part of a migration of families uprooting their lives and moving to Colorado, where the medicinal use of marijuana is permitted, forced to flee states where cannabis is off limits."

There is a significant body of published research over the last 50 years, suggesting any potential benefits include: anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective, neuro-genic, pain relieving, anti-psychotic and anti-microbial. Some people claim that it even has anti-tumoral properties. It is for these possible properties that the Stanley’s were breeding for CBD. Since 2012 more than 180 pediatric epilepsy patients have begun treatment and many U.S. states are having debates about this oil which should be accessible for everyone who needs it. In fact while the use of medical marijuana products is allowed in 20 U.S. states, the nationwide legal status of Realm Oil is less clear.