PORT CHARLOTTE - "Cannabis is the ultimate herb because it affects so many different parts of the body," says Dr. Heather Auld.

A steady stream of people of all ages showed up Thursday for Curaleaf’s grand opening of its first medical cannabis center in Port Charlotte.

Qualified patrons perused the center’s wide variety of products with plenty of staff and experts on hand.

Dr. Heather Auld with Compassionate Cannabis Clinic says the stigma some still associate with marijuana is a matter of education.

“We are already hardwired for cannabis, in fact our body produces anandamide which is what they call an endogenous cannabis. There are many disorders that can be treated with cannabis because our body has so many receptors," says Dr. Auld.

Curaleaf regional operations manager Vinit Patel says the established patient population is what drove the budding company to decide on Port Charlotte as its newest location. Patel says Curaleaf offers more than just dispensary needs.

"Everyone focuses on quality and compassion but we really strive to be the forefront leader when it comes to education and accessibility," says Patel.

He says the company has been trailblazing convenient ways to keep up with their patient’s medical needs in the Sunshine State. ”We were the first ones to have drive- thru in the state of Florida, we have free state wide delivery. A lot of patients come in here relatively naïve. Lot of opportunity to really engage with people and to really educate them on what it is that we do and what the industry is all about," says Patel.

He demonstrates the vast assortment of medical cannabis available to suit the diverse needs of patients who come for help.

Patel says the industry is here to shed light on misconceptions surrounding medical marijuana and predicts dispensaries like Curaleaf will become as common as corner stores.