The “First Family of Cannabis” sounds like a particularly hare-brained Cheech and Chong movie, but it’s actually the moniker given to the Stanley Brothers, medical marijuana growers and founders of CBD company Charlotte’s Web, the pioneer and market leader of hemp-based extract CBD products. In a crowded marketplace, their products stand out as coming from hand-tended, non-GMO plants grown on American farms in soil that’s tested for heavy metals and other contaminants before planting and water that’s tested several times a year.
But it’s the origin story of their company and the reason it shares its name with the E.B. White classic that’s truly memorable.
Charlotte Figi was born with Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. She had her first seizure when she was just three months old, and the frequency of severity of those episodes only increased as she grew older.
By the time she was three, Charlotte was wheelchair-bound, silent, and unable to eat. By five, she was having up to 300 grand mal seizures a week (these involve a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions). She was put into a medically induced coma simply to give her body a chance to recover. It was a heartbreaking situation for her parents, who were desperate for something to help.
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Every traditional medical option had been tried. Every traditional medical option had failed. Charlotte’s grandfather caught wind of CBD helping a boy with a similar malady, so the parents got their hands on some. This was the turning point in Charlotte’s health struggles.
In her first week taking CBD oil, Charlotte had no seizures.
The Figis’ sense of relief that something had finally worked quickly gave way to a frantic quest to secure more oil. They found the seven Stanley brothers, all medical marijuana growers and dispensers, and told them about Charlotte’s situation.
The brothers collaborated on a special strain of medical marijuana jokingly called “Hippie’s Disappointment.”
A hybrid of industrial hemp and low-THC cannabis, the new strain had a 30:1 CBD to THC ratio: all of the medicinal properties with none of the psychoactive effects. It was exactly what Charlotte and her family were looking for, and the brothers ended up renaming the strain — and naming their new CBD company — in her honor.
Since the Stanley brothers got into the CBD business in 2011, CBD has grown in popularity as a salve for so much beyond situations as serious as Charlotte’s. Studies have suggested that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep and reducing different kinds of chronic pain. An NIH survey found that over 57 percent of CBD users reported that it moderately or very well treated their medical condition(s) by itself, with even greater numbers saying it did so in combination with conventional medicine.
And Charlotte’s Web has plenty of options for everyone interested in trying out CBD. There are oils of different strengths, from 7 mg/mL for the CBD-curious to 60 mg/mL for those ready to step it up. For those who prefer the convenience of capsules, there are liquid options — essentially the oil in pre-measured servings — and full- and extra-strength powder capsules.
Charlotte’s Web also makes CBD gummies with specific formulations for calm, sleep, and recovery. They’ve even got your canine friends covered with a balm and drops for dogs along with chews they claim help with anxiety, hip & joint issues, and cognition.
Every product Charlotte’s Web makes is a descendant of the original seed that helped Charlotte Figi. That’s emblematic of the fact that, despite the growth that allows it to supply CBD products to more people, not much has changed about how the “First Family of Cannabis” operates. Charlotte’s Web is still based in Colorado, and it still grows its hand-tended hemp on American farms without the aid of any chemical regulated by the EPA under the guidance of a team of agronomists and chemists that personally monitor plants in the field throughout the growing season.
While many reports like that coming out of the World Health Organization have CBD determined is was safe when taken on its own, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about potential side effects.
This story is part of an affiliate partnership between Fatherly and Charlotte’s Web. If you click a link on this page and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.