Pubdate: Thu, 18 Sep 2014
Source: Barrie Advance, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Janis Ramsay


At age six, Zen Mudhar is one of the youngest Canadians using pot
right now.

The first time he sampled it was the only day in his life that he
hasn't had a seizure.

It's thanks to Barrie-based Simcoe Holistic Health that his family can
administer medicinal marijuana to maintain Zen's epilepsy symptoms.

"It has made a huge difference in Zen's life," his mother

The Brampton mom is speaking out about the controversial treatment
she's offering her son to show other parents there is an option
instead of drugging her child with synthetic medication.

At birth, Zen suffered brain damage and had a grand mal seizure within
an hour.

He was put on medications his mom believes caused developmental
delays, permanent eye damage and temporary hypertension.

"I believe in emergency medication and synthetic drugs. You go to the
ER, you've had an accident. These drugs are good for emergency
intervention. They're not meant for prevention and

Even on medication, Zen continued to experience daily multiple
seizures and was diagnosed with intractable, or drug-resistant
epilepsy - which means regular medical treatment doesn't help.

His parents decided to take him off the drugs.

"The meds weren't doing what they were supposed to be doing in his
body," his mom said.

She started him on a ketogenic diet, which restricts carbohydrates and
promotes protein and healthy fats.

"It was the first natural remedy. He had no more grand mal seizures
and it was a huge deal."

However, when Zen turned five, the frequency and intensity of seizures
increased and he started to get seizures when he was sleeping, his mom

She turned to social media for help.

"A parent I'm quite close to via Facebook had been giving cannabis to
her kid and he is now almost 100-per-cent seizure-free."

The Mudhar family flew to Los Angeles to learn more about Charlotte's
Web - a strain of marijuana with a high cannabidiol (CBD) content.

Sitting in a therapy office, Zen's mom asked another mom to share
their child's Charlotte's Web strain with Zen and she did.

Zen eats with a feeding tube and he ingests his dose through the

"Zen has had one seizure-free day in his entire life - that day," his
mom said.

Returning to Canada, the Mudhars decided cannabis is a plant-based
medicine and was the solution to help Zen.

"I said to myself, this is where Zen needs to be. I refused to accept
anything else."

But getting doctors on board was more challenging.

Everyone she called turned them down for a prescription for medicinal

"At 3 a.m. one morning out of frustration, I Googled advocates for
cannabis and found Justin," she said.

Justin Whitehall is medical director at Simcoe Holistic Health on
Dunlop Street and said he's helped approximately 200 people in the
year he's been open.

Whitehall takes medicinal marijuana to treat ADHD and said, after
years of taking Ritalin, cannabis has helped keep him focused.

"I had to wait months for my prescription and had to travel to
Toronto," Whitehall said.

The 27-year-old decided there should be a way to make it easier for
people with valid medical conditions to access cannabis.

He studied plant propagation, methods of ingestion and patient care in
California and opened his Barrie office last September.

He connects patients with two Toronto doctors and one from Innisfil
who give medicinal marijuana prescriptions to those who show documents
proving they have valid health ailments.

Since opening, he has heard from hundreds of people across Canada like
the Mudhars who haven't been able to get a pot prescription.

"They were desperate when they found me. They were on the wait-list
for Charlotte's Web," he said.

He was able to educate the couple on the different forms of cannabis
and recommend strains in Canada with a high CBD content. "The high CBD
comes without the psychoactive side effects," he said.

"It was touching to be a part of the whole situation," he

According to his mom, Zen has had fewer seizures since starting
medicinal marijuana treatment.

After word got out last week about his assistance with this family,
three other epilepsy parents have called him, including one local
family, for more information.

He said the new licensed producer program is helping to erase the
stigma of using cannabis.

In fact in May, Health Canada approved its first legitimate trial to
test the use of cannabis in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.

What Whitehall still can't understand why some doctors simply refuse
to consider medicinal marijuana for some conditions.

"How can you argue with the mother of a child who has tried every
conventional treatment? Now she's convinced cannabis has saved her
child," Whitehall said.

For more information about Simcoe Holistic Health, visit
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