market for cannabis in Germany

brainteaser estimation market estimation Market sizing
New answer on Apr 16, 2023
3 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Apr 15, 2023

How could one estimate the cannabis market (in tons) in germany per year?
My approach would be: 
1. number of tons of cannabis as stimulant per year + 2. number of tons of cannabis as medicine.

1.1. number of consuming people x number of grams on average per year
Number of people consuming => 
12-17 years: 5 million (assuming an evenly distributed population and an average age of 80 years), of which every 10th = 500,000
18-25 years: 5 million, of which every 2-3 = 2 million
26-35 years: 10 million, of which every 10th =>1 million
36 +: 45 million, of which every 100 => 450,000

= approx. 4 million

1.2. number of grams on average
high consumption (10%): 1 gram joint every day on average => 30 grams/month => 360 grams/year
medium consumption (60%): 1 gram per week => 52 grams per year
low consumption (30%): 1 gram per year 
=> 360x0.1 + 52 x 0.6 + 1 x 0.3 = approx. 68 grams / year

= 272 tonnes per year

2.1 Number of patients who need cannabis medicinally x average grams per year

Number of patients: Patients with severe medical conditions who need it x Use of cannabis as medicine of choice = 80mil x 0.1% x 10% = 80,000

average grams per year: assumption mostly chronic conditions, so use over several years:
1 gram daily = 30grams / month = 360 grams / year

80,000 x 540 grams = 28 tonnes

total: 272 tonnes + 28 tonnes = 300 tonnes

Looking forward for feedback!

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Content Creator
replied on Apr 16, 2023
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

About a 6 out of 10 here.

#1 Thing Missing: HOW you got to these numbers.

You need to make sure you are never guessing for numbers. Rather, you are making estimates based on your knowledge of the world.


  • How did you get # of people consuming across age groups?
    • I need you to FIRST split the German population into age groups and THEN say what % of each age group likely smokes (based on people you know AND reading you've done)
  • You're missing rate of smoking per age group
    • Younger people smoke more than older. You have to account for this.
    • So, you need to say how many joints/grams per week for each age group. Again, defending why
  • How did you get # of grams on average?
  • 1 gram joint per day for people 35+ older is crazy!
  • Medically, you can do it this way, or you can take a %. I would much rather say medical cannabis market would be about x% (20%?) of the recreational cannabis market (based on reading and knowledge and people I know)

It's important when you market size that you are deliberate in WHAT you split/breakdown. Sometimes you need to split more because it will get you closer to the answer, help you estimate, and it makes a difference. Sometimes you need to split less, because you're going overboard for no use.

Make sense?

Try practicing this here:


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Anonymous A on Apr 16, 2023

Thank you for your answer. Concerning this aspect: „You're missing rate of smoking per age group Younger people smoke more than older. You have to account for this.“ would it be okay if I took this aspect into account when setting the base rates for high, medium and low consumption. OR To get to the number of grams, would you segment by age group instead of high medium and low consumption? Thank you in advance!

Ian on Apr 16, 2023

So, remember, there’s no such thing as segmenting by “high, medium, and low”. Because that’s made up! A lot of beginners do this, but true consultants don’t! You HAVE to segment by age…because that’s an actual thing. Segment by age and within those segments do pop * rate of smoking. Make sense?

Anonymous A on Apr 16, 2023

Okay, understood. So I did „pop x %smoke“ under 1.1. can I then use these numbers? So for example for the age group 12-17 years: 5mio x 1/10 (due to the obseveration in my personal environment) = 500,000 Assumption: in this age group 10% smoke 1 Gramm daily, 40% every two weeks 1 Gramm and 50% only one Gramm a year = 50,000 x 360 Gramm + 200,000 x 100 Gramm + 250,000 x 1 Gramm = 38,25 Tonnen And I would have to use this procedure for the other age groups as well. Is this correct?

Ian on Apr 16, 2023

Too much. You’ve overcomplicating now. Because now you’re making up numbers. Remember, you’re not ASSUMING, you are ESTIMATING. So, in this case, it’s more reasonable to just say 15% of age group x smokes. The ones that do (as a whole) on average, smoke x times per week/month. There’s no one right answer with market sizing but there are a LOT of wrong ones (going to wrong level of detail, guessing/assuming numbers, etc). This is hard to get across and hard to learn by text…please message for coaching!

Content Creator
updated an answer on Apr 16, 2023
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

I would be happy to share my thoughts on it:

  • I like the calculation approach you took, especially because you also took into account medical marijuana.
  • The only aspect you should, of course, also communicate are the assumptions you made, at least when orally presenting your calculation approach.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare for your upcoming interviews, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.




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Content Creator
replied on Apr 15, 2023
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 300 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

Looks like a sensible answer to me - the only thing I’d do is give explanations for your assumptions. So why do you assume that 10% of 0.1% of the population need cannabis for medical reasons? Otherwise this looks like a sensible way to break it down - well done! 

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Anonymous A on Apr 15, 2023

Thank you! I thought that there are maybe 5 option of pain medications ( probability for each 20%) and that cannabis is not the first choice, since it is relatively newly admitted (the other options may dominate this option, so 10%). Do you have other assumptions I could make? Best regards

Ian gave the best answer


Content Creator
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