IT IS JANUARY 2018 and Simon Church is wide awake in the early hours of the morning, unable to sleep because of the excruciating pain in his hip.
The painkillers he pops three, four or five times a day are not working and worry over whether he will even be able to make training for Plymouth is sky-high.
This was a daily routine for the former Wales international for eight years from the age of 22, a problem that got worse following hip surgery in 2016.
Fast-forward to today and Church — who was forced to retire in 2018 — believes his career would have gone on longer had he tried cannabis oil a lot sooner.
He said: "When you're struggling as a player, you have niggles and it's not enough to stop you training or playing completely, then you're just told to take painkillers to get through it.
"You do it because you don't want to miss training, lose your place or show that you're weak.
"It got to the stage where I became reliant on painkillers. I took them to get through a game, a training session, or even to get through a day.
"I wouldn't even need them some days but I'd still be popping them, followed by sleeping tablets the night before a game.
"The lining of my stomach was being ruined and my body was in a bad way."
Church, 31, began using a cannabis plant oil remedy — known as Cannabidiol (CBD) — which was removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency list in January 2018 and recommended by a pal.
"Cannabis oil could have saved my career"
The former Reading forward, who won 38 Wales caps, said: "I was taking painkillers with CBD oil then, eventually, I started weaning off the painkillers.
"It was helping me recover, I didn't feel the pain in the morning as much. Would it have prolonged my career? Most definitely — I've gone natural and it's made a massive difference to my life and general wellbeing.
"When I retired I got told not to run, not to do anything.
"Yes, I'm not as active now but I'm able to sleep. I can relax and go to the gym — and I wouldn't have been able to do that without CBD."
The next step for Church is to make sure no player goes through the same torment.
WHAT IS CBD?
CANNABINOID (CBD) is a non-intoxicating element found in cannabis.
It is non-psychoactive, meaning it won't get you high, and is marketed to help relieve pain, reduce inflammation and lessen symptoms of anxiety.
Using CBD can also have neurological implications that may improve quality of life especially in those who may have experienced trauma, whether physiological or psychological.
The uniqueness of the product is the lack of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the illegal part - which means it can be used regularly by athletes without the risk of failing a random drugs test.
After setting up a successful property and financial advisory company for former players, the ex-striker is now tackling problems players face while still in the game.
He added: "We looked into different products for athletes and there was just oil — which isn't the nicest taste-wise.
"So we managed to come up with CBD Performance - infusing CBD into everyday products - protein shakes, bath salts, creams, hydration drinks. Anything and everything."
It is the first of its kind in the world, and crucially, it is made without THC - the psychoactive component of cannabis - to prevent random drugs test failures.
Church reeled off the benefits as a man who has felt them first-hand.
He explained: "I know a lot of players whose careers would be saved by CBD — and it doesn't just stop at athletes. My father-in-law has arthritis and it would benefit him hugely.
"In America they use them religiously for boxing and UFC and I know a lot of rugby guys use them. But we are looking to be the first fully regulated THC-free supplement infused providers.
"We aren't saying we can cure physical and mental health problems. But there are enough benefits to prove it can significantly change your life."
The launch came as two-times Masters champion Bubba Watson revealed he uses cannabis oil to enhance his game and extend his career.