Marijuana

Charlotte's Web: Untangling One of Colorado's Biggest Cannabis Success Stories

Eric Prine's uncontrollable seizures began in late 1992, not long after the six-month-old's parents, Ronnie and Jennifer, took him to the doctor for routine vaccinations. The near-constant seizures soon left Eric a shell of his former self. "We lost every bit that was him," says Ronnie. "We never saw any more smiles or crying or anything like that, just seizures." Ultimately, mounting medical bills forced Ronnie and Jennifer to declare bankruptcy. They sold the home they'd built in Lucedale, Mississippi, and in 2004 moved to the Denver area so that Jennifer could take a nursing job; Ronnie became their son's full-time caregiver.

Eric had stopped developing; at 21, he was the size of a five-year-old. That's when the family was hit by more bad news: Chloral hydrate, the one drug that seemed to decrease Eric's seizures, was being taken off the market. Scouring the Internet for alternatives, Ronnie came across a YouTube video of two children, Charlotte Figi and Zaki Jackson, whose epileptic seizures had been drastically reduced thanks to a strain of medical marijuana named Charlotte's Web, one that was high in a non-psychoactive component called cannabidiol, or CBD. The strain was being grown outside of Colorado Springs by six brothers -- Joel, Jesse, Jon, Jordan, Jared and Josh Stanley -- and a nonprofit called Realm of Caring had been established by Paige Figi and Heather Jackson, the mothers of Charlotte and Zaki, along with Amanda Stanley, Joel Stanley's wife, to connect potential patients with the medicine.

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Joel Warner is a former staff writer for Westword and International Business Times. He's also written for WIRED, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Slate, Grantland and many other publications. He's co-author of the 2014 book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, published by Simon & Schuster.
Contact: Joel Warner