It was an ordinary night in 2016 when Darren McLean became a "medical mystery".
The Wagga father, now aged 52, said he woke up that morning in agony and an ultrasound revealed he had severely injured his upper body in his sleep.
After years of chronic pain and anxiety, living with "the sheer fear of going to sleep", Mr McLean has finally found some relief from his condition with a medicinal cannabis prescription.
"It has made a difference in my life and I think [for] people with conditions that aren't widely publicised it can make a massive difference," he said.
"It's like any other drug: you've got to find the right product and the right dosage for every individual."
A decision made this week by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) means some over-the-counter medicinal cannabis products could become available in Australian pharmacies as early as next year.
Cannabidiol (CBD) medicines could become available without a prescription, meaning patients would only need to consult with a pharmacist to purchase low doses of the substance.
A TGA spokesperson said the interim decision was made to move some CBD products from a Schedule 4 prescription-only medicine to a Schedule 3 pharmacist-only medicine on the federal government's Poisons Standard.
The public are invited to comment on this interim decision until October 13, with a final decision anticipated in late November.
Mr McLean hopes the use of medicinal cannabis will become more accepted if products are sold over the counter.
"Especially when people can see the positive results that come out of it. Someone who won't even leave the house, it makes them a whole new person again," he said. "People still have the stigma of anything to do with cannabis, [even if] it's legal."
Kooringal Pharmacy co-owner Justin Smith said if the TGA's changes were finalised it would "open the door" for one level of cannabis products to become readily available by mid-next year.
"There's a bit of conjecture over whether the allowed dose will be enough to be effective ... But it's just paving the way for other things to happen," he said.
Mr Smith imagines over-the-counter products will become available from mid-2021 if the TGA's decision is finalised.
"At the moment there's no registered products, because we don't have anything to sell ... [but] obviously there is a market there so I think companies will try and enter that," he said.
He said his pharmacy sees discreet interest from the Wagga community in trying medicinal cannabis products, usually from those who are struggling to manage a chronic condition who have already tried opiates and surgery.
"There's a lot of people who are interested, but costs and ticking off all the right legislative boxes is where it gets held up," he said.
Mr McLean, who was referred to CA Clinics by his general practitioner, said he found the regulatory process around medicinal cannabis "pretty daunting" but would encourage others to explore it as an alternative treatment.
"Hand on heart, I can recommend it," he said.
The man who once loved driving American muscle cars and training in martial arts now finds some joy in tending to his bonsai garden.
"It's very simple, what I've suffered and what I've gone through, and what I still suffer and everything else," he said.
"But, you know, if I can help somebody else ease their problems by doing this, then that's what I'm all about."