Unlike new pop up practices exchanging money for a “card”,

Florida Compassionate Care Centers emphasizes CARE.  We have an overriding interest in helping the vast majority of Florida residents who want to live better more comfortable and happier lives by ADDRESSING THE MANY HEALTH CONDITIONS they face.  For most Florida residents, better health is a LONG TERM issue and we take a long term view.  Florida law requires that medical marijuana card holders re-certify about twice per year – which gives us the perfect opportunity to monitor, discuss and adjust medical marijuana usage during these re-visits and over the phone in between.

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The best medical marijuana care provider is a PRIMARY CARE doctor.

Our long list of Qualifying Conditions tells us that we will see a WIDE array of medical conditions brought to us by many patients.  This is why it is critical to select a PRIMARY CARE physician as your medical marijuana certification and care-giving doctor.  This class of doctor is better qualified to address the many conditions that can be helped by medical marijuana than a specialist physician. This same primary care experience applies to our Marijuana Health Specialist: a nurse who is a seasoned veteran of primary care practice who is a key player in getting our medical marijuana patients started right and helping them fine tune their product choices and usage over time.


It is easy to qualify for the use of medical marijuana: the array of QualifyingConditions is wide AND we believe it is the right of every Florida resident with a diagnosed and life-limiting condition to TRY THIS POWERFUL AND NATURAL HEALTHCARE SOLUTION.

However, that vast array of conditions must be matched up with an amazingly complex variety of licensed dispensaries, each of which have different theories of product FORMULATIONS and PACKAGING and DELIVERY SYSTEMS. It is therefore imperative that anyone entering the world of medical marijuana for the first time identify – and place their healthcare in the hands of – a primary care experienced team that can MATCH UP varying conditions to the right starting type/dosing to get off to the best start.

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We guide Florida citizens through the process of becoming certified in the State of Florida Medical Marijuana Use Registry by:

  • Interview to determine qualifying condition and source of medical records

  • Securing medical records

  • Determining the correct starting medical marijuana level of usage

  • Entering the patient into the State Registry

  • Conducting the required in-person exam with a physician

  • Entering into the Registry for the patient the physician medical marijuana orders/recommendations for three 70 day periods to cover fully the State mandated period within which the patient must return to this office for Recertification. We schedule those recertification visits for every 6 months from original certification exam.

About Us

Start Low – Go Slow – Adjust to What Works for You

We know that every one of us is different – that our Endocannabinoid System may react differently to the same type and dosing of medical marijuana. We also know that 95% of everyone we see will not have any or any recent experience with marijuana use. That’s fine… it’s to be expected. This is why we start the majority of our patients with lower formulations and recommend initial purchases be for smallest medicine packaging. We have seen most of our patients adjust a) one way or the other on the CDB vs THC formulation ratio, including gaining familiarity to a subset chemistry called “terpenes”; b) between day and night formulations; and c) between methods of intake – “routes” as the State of Florida calls them – until they settle on what brings them maximum relief, improvement and happiness.

This is the main reason we recommend that our patients visit an ACTUAL RETAIL DISPENSARY versus ordering online for home delivery – at least at the beginning. The dispensaries have done a good job of hiring what one firm calls “Wellness Coordinators” who have been well trained in this new field to help us help you find the right first product(s) – and to be there for your subsequent visits to compare notes on how you felt, how something did or did not work and how to try a variation on this initial medicine.

Meet Our Team


Qualified Medical Marijuana Certifying Physician

Dr. Patricia Gail van Diepen, Internal Medicine, was aware of positive research in the efficacy and safety of medical marijuana when Florida issued the guidelines and rules for the certification of patients to be eligible to visit licensed dispensaries to purchase medical marijuana products.  It was thus with full heart that she opened Florida Compassionate Care Centers.

“My first MMJ patients have been those for whom I’ve cared for 20 years”, she reports. “From Day One we have seen marvelous improvement in so many: reduction of pain, increased physical flexibility, fewer seizures, lessened anxiety, improved sleep, reduction or elimination of potentially harmful narcotics…and a better quality of life.”

Dr. van Diepen is convinced that any Florida resident or snowbird with a diagnosed condition has the RIGHT to TRY to achieve better health and a better life by beginning the use of medical marijuana.  Her staff is expected to take the same point of view – and do.

She is equally convinced that anyone seeking to try that solution should visit a PRIMARY CARE physician given that so MANY conditions can qualify and where specialty physicians, who have gotten into the “medical marijuana card business”, have seen ONLY those conditions in which they have specialized in their prior careers.  The need to match up the complex array of medical marijuana formulations and products with the almost unlimited variety of qualifying medical conditions is crucial to getting patients off to the best start and to helping them modify dosing and intake routes to reach the best long-term result.

With a specialty in Internal Medicine, Dr. Gail van Diepen has provided thousands of teen and adult patients with their primary healthcare for over 30 years.  She has operated Ormond Internal Medicine, the premier independent primary care practice in eastern Volusia County, since 1999.

Nicole Jarbeau has the critically important position of working with our patients to help them get properly started on the path to a happier, more comfortable life via the natural healing power of medical marijuana. She is uniquely qualified for this role in both her vast experience in nursing care and her personal motivation.

Nicole has worked for close to 30 years in specialty practices such as cardiology, critical care and trauma and most recently was in a supervisory nursing capacity in a major primary care practice. This experience is very important: the range of conditions which qualify for medical marijuana use is extremely broad – good news for prospective patients but a factor that requires a medical GENERALIST, not a specialist.

What certain Western medications, especially opiodes and benzodiazepines, can do to a patient’s quality of life has been evident to Nicole during her career. She is passionate and well educated about the benefits of medical marijuana in helping patients deal naturally with pain, addiction, anxiety and many other chronic conditions.

She is proud to be working with a team of compassionate individuals who have the same ideals and to have the opportunity to educate and guide patients into a better life via medical marijuana.


Marijuana Health Specialist


Marijuana Health Specialist

Zorayda joined Ormond Internal Medicine in 2017, after an extensive healthcare career here in the United States, in Thailand and in her home country of the Philippines. She said of her first days with Dr. van Diepen’s primary care practice: “I found likeminded individuals that I truly feel share my passion for helping those in need.”

With the advent of legalization of the use of medical marijuana in the State of Florida, Florida Compassionate Care Centers was conceived and Zorayda, with her extensive work in primary care and her caring approach, was a natural selection as the first Marijuana Health Specialist.

Of the move, she says: “I’m able to combine my skills in diagnosis and care of a wide array of medical conditions with my passion for a more natural approach to medicine – with the result that I am now able to truly make a difference in our patients’ lives.”

Ms. Kim knew she wanted to be a Nurse at a very young age, when growing up in the Philippines. She got her nursing Bachelor’s degree, did hospital internship, and managed her family’s Wellness business. It was here where she first engaged in more natural remedies in healthcare. When she and her family moved to the US, she got her certification as Medical Assistant at Health Tech Georgia. Since then she has worked over 10 years in various practices ranging from podiatry or pediatrics to family medicine.

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