The drug also contains another chemical known as CBD that may have seizure-fighting properties. In October, the Food and Drug Administration approved testing a British pharmaceutical firm's marijuana-derived drug that is CBD-based and has all its THC removed.
Few dispensaries stock CBD-heavy weed that doesn't get you high. Then Paige Figi found Joel Stanley.
One of 11 siblings raised by a single mother and their grandmother in Oklahoma, Stanley and four of his brothers had found themselves in the medical marijuana business after moving to Colorado. Almost as an experiment, they bred a low-THC, high-CBD plant after hearing it could fight tumors.
Stanley went to the Figis' house with reservations about giving pot to a child.
"But she had done her homework," Stanley said of Paige Figi. "She wasn't a pot activist or a hippy, just a conservative mom."
Now, Stanley and his brothers provide the marijuana to nearly 300 patients and have a waitlist of 2,000.
The CBD is extracted by a chemist who once worked for drug giant Pfizer, mixed with olive oil so it can be ingested through the mouth or the feeding tube that many sufferers from childhood epilepsy use, then sent to a third-party lab to test its purity.
Charlotte takes the medication twice a day. "A year ago, she could only say one word," her father said. "Now she says complete sentences."
The recovery of Charlotte and other kids has inspired the Figis and others to travel the country, pushing for medical marijuana laws or statutes that would allow high-CBD, low-THC pot strains.
Donald Burger recently urged a New York state legislative panel to legalize medical marijuana while his wife, Aileen, was in the family's new rental house in Colorado Springs, giving Charlotte's Web to their daughter Elizabeth, 4. The family only relocated to Colorado after neurologists told them Elizabeth's best hope — brain surgery — could only stop some of her seizures.