Updated: Apr 22
Plant Medicine: Inspiring Change With Medical CBD
It’s no secret that millions of people around the globe are already using CBD to help treat a variety of illnesses, disorders and diseases – and for the United States, it all started with parents in search of alternative treatments after all medically available treatment options had failed.
One of the most well-known stories surrounding CBD’s powerful therapeutic benefits involves a girl named Charlotte and her parents’ determination to save her life, despite the little hope they were given from the medical community. Unfortunately, this story is all too common due to the negative views surrounding cannabis caused by several decades of federal prohibition, despite its documented use as a safe and effective treatment for centuries.
In fact, between 1840 and 1900, both American and European medical journals had published more than 100 articles on the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, and it actually remained part of America’s pharmacopoeia until the late 1930s. According to drugpolicy.org, the negative views surrounding marijuana started with claims that its use caused men of color to commit acts of violence and solicit sex from white women; thus, the effort to prohibit marijuana began.
By the 1970s, the government had successfully banned the sale and use of marijuana at the federal level with the passing of the Controlled Substance Act. This in turn hindered clinical research into its potential therapeutic benefits for much too long. However, this didn’t stop people from continuing the use of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes, and it still didn’t stop researchers from continuing to look into its therapeutic uses, giving the government’s “War on Drugs” an impossible ending.
While marijuana is now an accepted form of medicine in several states, it’s been a painfully slow-moving process with parents leading the way.
A Parents’ Quest to Save Their Daughter’s Life
Charlotte Figi had her first seizure when she was just a few months old, and yet another a week later. Despite conducting several tests, from blood tests and EEGs to MRIs and spinal taps, doctors couldn’t figure out what was causing the infant’s seizures and simply sent her home with no answers for her parents.
As Charlotte continued to grow, so did her seizures, and by age 2, she was suffering from a series of daily, uncontrollable and unexplainable seizures with no effective treatment options in sight. About 6 months later, her parents, Paige and Matt Figi, finally had some answers when the toddler tested positive for a genetically mutated gene found in about 80% of cases of Dravet syndrome, an incurable form of severe epilepsy that begins in infancy. Still, they were given no hope in finding an effective medical treatment.
Determined to change their daughter’s short-lived future and apparent demise, they began researching and experimenting with other options, from diet changes to experimental drugs. While the ketogenic diet seemed to help reduce Charlotte’s seizures for a couple of years, it didn’t come without detrimental side effects, including loss of bone mass, difficulty developing immunity and the development of behavioral issues. Additionally, Charlotte’s seizures returned and intensified despite the dietary changes, leading her parents in search of yet another alternative treatment.
By age 6, Charlotte was suffering from as many as 300 grand mal seizures per week and was confined to a wheelchair, unable to move, speak or even eat. Her parents were at a point of making the difficult decision to follow doctor recommendations to put their daughter in a medically-induced coma to allow her brain and body rest – until the discovery of a video that changed their minds (and lives).
How Charlotte’s Story Paved the Way for Medical CBD
In 2012, the Figis stumbled across a video of a California boy and his dad’s quest in finding an effective treatment for the same disorder plaguing Charlotte. While the family was at odds in pursuing cannabis as a possible treatment, they knew they had exhausted all options available and had no choice but to turn to the controversial alternative treatment.
Of course, the Figis had to jump over hurdle after hurdle just to begin Charlotte’s treatment. The first was obtaining her medical marijuana card, which required the recommendations of two independent doctors, Since Charlotte was the youngest to register for a medical marijuana card in the state of Colorado, the Figis were rejected by several medical professionals before finally finding supporters.
When they finally got the green light, Charlotte’s mother made her first visit to a dispensary and asked for a marijuana strain with the highest CBD and lowest THC. She then went home and turned it into an oil that she could add to Charlotte’s food – and just one dose immediately gave Charlotte days-worth of relief from her debilitating seizures. However, the scarcity of the marijuana strain used to create her homemade CBD oil became Paige’s next hurdle – until she met the Stanley family who owned a greenhouse full of high-CBD marijuana that they had been growing for research purposes. Together, the two families created the very first CBD oil and named it “Charlotte’s Web”.
Cannabinoid Medicine Education for Everyone
Charlotte’s story, like way too many others, shows the real need for cannabinoid and endocannabinoid education for both the medical community and the general population as a whole. Unfortunately, such education is still difficult to find as the controversy and legality issues over the use of cannabis and its derivatives continues.
Regardless, CBD is now readily available just about everywhere, from the Internet to the gas station down the street, which is another reason why educational resources are essential – especially for healthcare professionals. The healthcare community should be well-educated and prepared to assist their patients in finding the CBD products they’re already seeking and ensure such products are medical grade and suited for their intended purposes.
According to a survey of 556 physicians conducted in January 2020, the vast majority reported self-educating in cannabinoid therapy, while 20% reported having no training at all. When it comes to the endocannabinoid system, which is shortened from endogenous cannabinoid system and refers to a physiological system in the body comprised of endocannabinoids, receptors and enzymes that are believed to help regulate mood, sleep, memory, appetite, reproduction, pain and a variety of other functions, 40% of the physicians surveyed reported self-educating and another 40% reported having no training at all.
This is why the Global Cannabinoid Research Center is offering cannabinoid medicine education in collaboration with the American Journal of Endocannabinoid Medicine University (AJEMU), These courses were not only designed to help medical professionals get back to the roots of plant medicine and inspire change in healthcare, but to also offer certification opportunities to anyone who would like to learn more about cannabinoids and how they react with their endocannabinoid system.
For medical professionals, enroll in the Endocannabinoid Learning System which consists of four levels:
Level 100: Understanding Cannabinoids, the ECS, and Their Therapeutic Impact
Level 200: All About Cannabinoids
Level 201: The ECS and Therapeutic Targets
Level 202: Cannabinoids in Clinical Practice
Successful completion of all four levels awards healthcare professionals receive a
total of twelve (12) AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, as well as a Certificate in Endocannabinoid Medicine. The course is currently available at a discounted price of $521.55 (normally $549) and can be completed at any time.
For anyone else who would like to learn more about cannabinoid science and the potential therapeutic impact of the endocannabinoid system, enrollment in an interactive course is available at a discounted price of $94.05 (normally $99). The course can be completed at any time, with an Endocannabinoid Science Certificate awarded upon completion.
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Plant Medicine 4Lyfe
As a supplier of CBD products for the medical, veterinary, and health and wellness industries, 4Lyfe is dedicated to the mission of inspiring change in healthcare by offering medical grade, full-spectrum CBD oil, creams, salves and softgels. 4Lyfe is also dedicated to providing a wealth of educational resources, including links to scientific studies that are proving the power of CBD and its therapeutic benefits that can no longer be ignored.