By Daniel Casciato
One Plant, a medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC), has a simple focus—to provide the best possible quality product to its customers.
That’s part of the reason why it has a Medical Director. Matt Ferenc, D.O., FACOEP, or Dr. Matt as people fondly call him, joined the One Plant team in September 2019.
Dr. Matt’s interest in cannabis was the result of dealing with different kinds of medical issues for the first 13 years of his medical career. Chronic diseases and dependence on medicines especially narcotics were dependent on the pharmaceutical industry. Medications such as opiates and benzodiazepines were tragically over prescribed leading to severe dependence issues and deadly medication overdoses. He noticed that states such as California and Colorado started using cannabis for many medical conditions. Pain control and anxiety issues were by far the most popular medical conditions where cannabis helped tremendously. Brady Cobb, is the CEO of the company, and Dr. Matt explains that they have been talking about the health benefits of cannabis for many years, even before it was legal in the state of Florida.
“Cannabis really interested me because we had many patients coming in with deadly overdoses from prescribed pain and anxiety medications.” says Dr. Matt, who is also one of the lead ER physicians at a level one trauma center in South Florida. “I started looking at cannabis as a potential treatment for pain and anxiety control here in Florida, even before it was legal.”
This led to him writing a book called Dr. Matt’s Plan: Living Longer and Healthier. In that book, he added a chapter about cannabis and how it could potentially help people with many symptoms, including preventing overdoses from opiates and benzo’s.
“That’s what we were dealing with at that point of time,” he says. “We witnessed tragic and deadly overdoses on a daily basis from medications that were prescribed by physicians. I thought maybe one day the State of Florida would make cannabis legal to try to get away from all these overdoses happening.”
Once One Plant launched, Cobb asked Dr. Matt to join as the Medical Director, because of his knowledge of the industry.
“I decided to stay away from the recommending side of it. I was more interested in the administrative duties and the back end of developing quality medicine for Florida patients,” adds Dr. Matt. “I enjoy the administrative duties that came along with this position which also allows me to interact with recommending physicians and their patients. It’s amazing interacting with like-minded physicians and helping patients with quality medications grown by One Plant.”
Dr. Matt stresses that every MMTC in the state of Florida is required to have a Medical Director.
“The Office of Medical Marijuana (OMMU) left medical marijuana treatment centers to designate the roles and duties of a Medical Director on their own,” he explains. “Our duties revolve around the thought that we must maintain growing quality medicine for patients. We oversee the whole grow process to make sure only high quality medicines make it into patients hands. All of One Plant’s medicines are third party tested and generate certificates of analysis (COA). This COA documents that there are no molds, no pesticides, heavy metals, and describe which cannabinoids and terpenes are in the medicine.”
Dr. Matt is currently conducting a questionnaire study with cannabis patients in Florida. This study further demonstrates the need for more natural therapies such as cannabis for many conditions.
“We’re trying to pinpoint what patients are looking for,” he says. “From my data so far, we’re learning that 85% of the patients who are taking cannabis are doing it instead of opiates for pain control. In addition, over 90% of patients are using cannabis instead of benzodiazepines or sleeping aids for sleep and anxiety. People are leaning away from these pharmaceuticals and toward cannabis, which is safer for patients.”
Finally, Dr. Matt says that he’s excited that the health industry is finally opening up to a natural medicine that exists in nature.
“It’s throughout the world,” he says. “Seven years after writing about it in my book, cannabis is becoming more publicly available. We now have other modalities for treating certain diseases, especially pain and anxiety. I think it’s exciting to be in the State of Florida right now when these doors are opening up.”