Madison Margolin and the Psychedelic Evolution

Madison Margolin | In episode 98 of Light Culture Podcast, Paper Magazine founder David Hershkovits talks with Madison Margolin, founder of Double Blind Mag, about religion and the future of psychedelic culture

Along with cannabis, psychedelics like Ayahuasca, ‘Shrooms, MDMA, LSD, Ketamine and other mind altering substances are resurgent, finding their place as part of the plant-based health and wellness movement. Spurred on by medical studies and the support of the psychiatric community in search of answers to PTSD, depression and a growing list of mental problems, the movement to legalize these previously outlawed psychedelics is rapidly advancing what many have suspected all along: that far from being the killer portrayed in the war on drugs, what we today call plant based medicine, is actually good for you. As a journalist and cofounder of Double Blind Magazine, Madison Margolin is a leading figure in the 21st century movement to benefit from these plants and their off-shoots. We talk about psychedelics, spirituality and religion, Ayahuasca’s potential for world peace, microdosing and the legacy of 60s LSD evangelist Timothy Leary.

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David (00:00):

Advocating for cannabis and psychedelics runs in the family for Madison Margolin. Her father is a prominent lawyer who once defended Timothy Leary, her sister is also an attorney, specializing in cannabis law, but Madison decided to go in a different direction. As a journalist and cofounder of Double Blind Magazine, she’s become a leading figure in the 21st century movement around plant based medicine. When not writing for her own magazine, she spreads the word at Rolling Stone, Playboy, Tablet Vice, Mary Jane, among others. Each day brings a new study that seems to confirm what many have known all along, that far from being the killer portrayed in the war on drugs, what we today call plant based medicine, is actually good for you.

David (00:55):

Ayahuasca, MDMA, shrooms, CBD, THC are credited with being helpful in treating everything from depression to PTSD to cancer and even COVID-19. So, Madison, welcome.

Madison Margolin (01:12):

Thanks for having me.

David (01:14):

So what do you think? Is it over hyped or undersold? Where are we in, in the evolution of this amazing story that’s thousands of years old?

Madison Margolin (01:25):

I think we’re about, I think it’s around the happy medium between over hyped and undersold. I think we’re just right.

David (01:31):

You think we’re just right, right now? So what, so what does that mean to you? What is that, uh, you know, how does that sit in the culture?

Madison Margolin (01:38):

Yeah, I mean I think that there is a lot of hype around psychedelic right now and cannabis too, but in regard to the FDA approved studies that are happening, all of the pharmaceutical type companies that are popping up to offer psychedelic based medicine, there’s also the decriminalization movement, so there’s a lot of excitement about it, so I would say that’s the hype.

Madison Margolin (02:06):

What I worry about with the hype is, people think that psychedelics are a panacea for everything. on the flip side, you know, and the fact that it’s under sold I think still as much hype as there is in the very niche corners of the world that I’m familiar with and that maybe you occupy as well, the mainstream at large still is, does not know that much about psychedelics, doesn’t recognize that, they’re available as treatments for whatever variety of conditions and so that’s where I would say it’s undersold.

Madison Margolin (02:39):

and again, also looking to more indigenous traditions, the wisdom of people who have been using these plant medicines for however long, you know, thousands of years, I think there’s a lot to look into there that people haven’t even begun to scratch the surface yet.

David (02:59):

there’s an underground aspect to it, right? people going out to have a Ayahuasca sessions and, and try shrooms and having experiences of that nature, is that a global thing 

Madison Margolin (03:21):

I think it’s a global thing. The sensation that we’re seeing is westerners quote, unquote discovering Ayahuasca and these types of medicines, but it’s happening everywhere, you know, I would say it’s happening all over the United States at the very least. Europeans also. I have friends in, in Israel, uh, who are also doing Ayahuasca ce- ceremonies so it’s, it’s pretty prolific.

David (03:47):

What about everything else as well? That includes mushrooms and MDMA because we know recently, with MDMA, there have been some studies that it does, definitely has an effect on people that are suffering from trauma, sounds magical in a way because it can heal people in a way, you know, heal quote, in very few sessions as opposed to years of therapy, which just never seems to end.

Madison Margolin (04:19):

Sorry, so what’s, what’s the question then exactly?

David (04:21):

I’m not sure, was there a question there? I think it was just more like a comment that as more and more people discover and there’s more, official recognition of something like MDMA, does that become spread globally? Does that become something that people want to try in Africa or in Asia these other places, everyone pretty much suffers from trauma. They say the first trauma we receive is at birth, when we come out of this comfortable (laughs) amniotic situation and into this crazy world and just start screaming right away.

Madison Margolin (05:05):

These are substances that have been used, cross culturally, around the world. You can go anywhere in the world probably and try to find MDMA, you know, in an underground way, or, or mushrooms or whatever. But I think what is happening is that people are sort of catching onto the more above ground uses of it for trauma or, you know, whatever type of healing from anxiety or depression or what not, whether it’s MDMA or psilocybin or, whatever psychedelic we’re talking about.

Madison Margolin (05:41):

I think a lot of that has to do with the global nature of the research. It’s happening in the states and in Imperial College London and there was research going on in Israel with Maps. The way that global communication works at this point is that, the culture of people who are interested in psychedelics, that culture translates and transfers, all over the place. And so I, again, I, I haven’t been everywhere, but I can just kind of speak to like my own experience in different countries and talking to people from different places and also seeing the audience of Double Blind.

Madison Margolin (06:20):

You know, we have people who come into our webinars from literally all over the world. It shows the reach of it and interest.

David (06:30):

Tell me about these webinars. What are they about and how does it work?

Madison Margolin (06:35):

Yeah, we, um, we host webinars twice a month, um, through Double Blind, uh, and they’re on different topics, so we have something on lucid dreaming a couple weeks ago, we’ve had something on trauma, we had something on ketamine therapy, we had the future of psychedelics with RickcDoblin this past weekend, um, we had Alex and Alison Gray at one point. Just different figures in the psychedelic world.

Madison Margolin (06:59):

people can join from anywhere essentially and, and they are. It’s really cool to see people coming in from Australia and Germany and Brazil and you know, all of these different countries. Showing the sort of breadth of the interest.

David (07:24):

So what is the future of psychedelics. Did you come to any conclusion at that webinar?

Madison Margolin (07:25):

Yeah, I would say that the future of psychedelics is two fold, again in FDA approved research MDMA and psilocybin are both on the FDA fast track to become prescription medications in assisted psychotherapy, early this decade. And then again there are these other sort of start up companies that are creating psychedelic based medications, to treat, whatever other conditions. There’s… Mind Med is looking for a medication that’s based off of Ibogaine for instance. That’s the medical branch of things.

Madison Margolin (08:04):

And then the grassroots branch, I’ll say, is the decriminalization movement where people are trying to remove criminal penalties for possession or, um, growing or sale or whatever of psychedelics that are either naturally occurring through the decriminalize nature movement, or just psychedelics in general, which is what we’ve seen, through Oregon’s all drug decriminalization bill and as well as in California with Scott Weiner’s bill to decriminalize all psychedelics, that includes the synthetics as well.

Madison Margolin (08:44):

And I just wanna add one thing is I might, I might have misspoke. I, the decriminalization decriminalizes like the possession, sharing and growing of psychedelics, but not necessarily the sale.

David (08:57):

Right, so there is a movement as well in the growing of mushrooms. There’s many ways people can get kits and, and learn how to do it themselves. Is that unregulated or is that just sort of underground at this point?

Madison Margolin (09:11):

It’s pretty underground. So psilocybin spores are actually legal in most states. Um, that doesn’t mean that once they spawn and become psilocybin mushrooms that they’re legal, but the spores themselves are okay to possess. And so yeah, there is a movement where people are growing their own mushrooms, taking that into their own hands and it doesn’t have to only be psilocybin. It could be any type of mushroom that people are interested in growing.

Madison Margolin (09:39):

I’ve heard people say things like cannabis is a gateway crop, where you want to smoke weed and you wanna grow it yourself and so you start growing your own weed and then you start growing tomatoes, kale and other things, because you get that green thumb. And I think similarly, with mushrooms, too, people have this idea that they wanna grow their own medicine or their own food and so whether it’s psilocybin or rachis or whatever, um, I’m seeing a movement that people are taking that back.

David (10:15):

Well cannabis is a lot harder to grow and it takes a lot longer than mushrooms.

Madison Margolin (10:21):


David (10:21):

So that’s a lot faster and easier.

Madison Margolin (10:24):


David (10:25):

Cannabis is actually hard work if you have a plant at home, you know, what about the recreational side of this? Is that something that you advocate as well or feel positive about as a movement?

Madison Margolin (10:42):

The recreational side quote, unquote is wrapped into the decriminalization side, but I’d say that decrim really encompasses not just people who wanna use it recreationally but also people who may not qualify, to use it in a medical setting or, people who wanna use it spiritually as well, like as a sacrament.

David (11:07):

When I introduced you I mentioned your family history, as part of your work today, but I imagine it wasn’t a straight line necessarily to where you are today from there. Were there some digressions and how do you get around to finally accepting that this was (laughs) this was something that you were gonna continue?

Madison Margolin (11:32):

I definitely thought I wanted to rebel. Initially I was like, okay, I guess I’ll just become a lawyer like my dad and my sister and do weed law, but then I knew early on that by the time I would become a lawyer, cannabis was already gonna be legal, at least in California. You know, now we’re already seeing New York as well, which are the two places where I have lived and bounced back and forth between.

Madison Margolin (12:00):

So I just decided I didn’t wanna be a lawyer and I went to journalism school not really knowing what I wanted to do, with that degree but that I really liked writing, so I was like, all right, I wanna live in New York. And, when I was in J school, every student in our intro reporting class had to report on an ethnic community and so I was one of two Jews in the class and so they gave me Hasidic Brooklyn.

David (12:31):


Madison Margolin (12:32):

Um, (laughs)-

David (12:33):

Type cast.

Madison Margolin (12:35):

Yeah, I was definitely… I really wanted to originally do the Russians in Brighton Beach, you know, I thought that was gonna be more interested. I was like what do I need to-

David (12:42):

That’s my hometown, Brighton Beach, that’s where I grew up.

Madison Margolin (12:44):

Oh yeah?

David (12:45):


Madison Margolin (12:45):

Brighton Beach is great. I, um, I have had a lot of good times there.

David (12:49):


Madison Margolin (12:50):

Um, but anyway, I was given the Hasidim and I started out in Williamsburg, literally going up and down Lee Avenue looking for people who would talk to me. I would go in and out of bakeries like buying rugalah and trying to talk to the guy behind the counter and eventually I got to a kosher pizza place and this kid, for people listening to this podcast, it’s extremely hard to break into this community, even if you’re Jewish. It’s like the most insular community I would say in the, in the world, (laughs) or at least in America.

David (13:22):


Madison Margolin (13:23):

And so I met this kid who told me that he and his friends on the weekends would go to these [inaudible 00:13:32] parties. And they were sort of-

David (13:33):

What kind of parties?

Madison Margolin (13:37):

Like raves. They were going to raves.

David (13:38):

Oh okay, okay.

Madison Margolin (13:39):

Yeah, and taking a lot of psychedelics. Um-

David (13:42):

Raves, like regular raves, like with normal people?

Madison Margolin (13:45):

Yeah, like they were going like-

David (13:47):


Madison Margolin (13:47):

Upstate New York during the summer time or whatever.

David (13:50):


Madison Margolin (13:50):

And it was this, it’s this community of kids who are coming from these ultra orthodox backgrounds, basically doing psychedelics and probably negotiating their relationship to spirituality and religion. They’re not all as observant necessarily as the way they grew up, but so it’s this community and I got really fascinated by it. And I wanted to know like when you’re coming from such a religious background, like how can religion or Judaism like not play into your psychedelic experience? Like is that coming up for you when you’re, when you’re having all these-

David (14:24):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Madison Margolin (14:25):

Um, trips. And so that really kind of led me on this path of reporting on kind of the intersection between Judaism and psychedelia or religion and altered states, expanding into Hinduism or, or other religions as well and like the way that they use. Um, and so that has kind of been my niche within my niche and I wrote about that when I was in journalism school and kept following the story and ended up writing for, The Forward, which was like my first job out of J school, at a, a Jewish publication and then I got a job, at the Village Voice covering the rollout of New York’s medical marijuana program based on the story that I had written also in journalism school about that program.

Madison Margolin (15:14):

I was very curious about what does cannabis policy in New York look like as compared to California because I had no familiarity with the east coast cannabis politics.

Madison Margolin (15:22):

The Jewish thing and the drug thing has always been, how I grew up and (laughs) how I built my career, so, where we are now and I’ve been following it.

David (15:40):

So when you met these people, these kids and the pizza place, I assume they were young.

Madison Margolin (15:45):


David (15:45):

Because that’s who hangs out in the pizza places usually.

Madison Margolin (15:49):

He was working at the pizza place.

David (15:49):

Oh, he was working.

Madison Margolin (15:50):

He was behind the counter, he was like 20 years old.


David (15:53):

And so then you asked him specifically about anything related to that or just somehow-

Madison Margolin (15:58):

No, I just was like, “Hey, I’m a student at Columbia Journalism School, like, what’s going on in the community? Can I talk to you?”

David (16:06):

And he just blurted it out?

Madison Margolin (16:08):

No, and so he was like, “Okay, sure, I’ll talk to you.” For him to talk to a girl especially it’s a whole other thing. It looked like he was kind of like negotiating his relationship to religion, like he was sort of, as they say, off the path of-

David (16:26):


Madison Margolin (16:26):

What’s expected and so I thought I was gonna write a profile on him, how he’s navigating that and he, he flaked on our interview and I was like-

David (16:35):


Madison Margolin (16:35):

Oh crap, like what am I gonna do now? Then we rescheduled, and when he re- rescheduled, he’s like, “Sorry about that, I had, I was at a festival.” (laughs) And I was like, “Wait, what’s with the festival? That’s what I’ve been wanting to talk about.

David (16:52):

I’d heard about groups like this as well where they would have a bus, you know, it’s like the Mitzvah tank, but it wasn’t really that. It was kind of like a hijacked version of that where their kids, all this Hasidic kids and their friends would go in there and, and get high and just like drive around town and have these parties. Actually saw some videos of, of those as well.

Madison Margolin (17:16):

It’s been very popular.

David (17:16):

So yeah, there’s always rebels.

Madison Margolin (17:18):

That bus, I think if I know what you’re talking about, is a very popular thing among a certain sect of Hassidim in Israel, they take these buses that look like Merry Prankster buses and they, they paint them crazy and blast trance music out of the bus and they go driving around and at stop lights, they’ll get out of the bus and dance in the streets and then go back in and, and continue on on this joy ride.

David (17:47):

So this is, so it’s some kind of, uh, ecstatic, the Hasidic thing is very ecstatic, right? They get-

Madison Margolin (17:53):


David (17:53):

High through their praying and dancing and music, so they have that element as well anyway, right?

Madison Margolin (18:00):


David (18:01):

So this becomes kind of an extension of that or a way to explore those experiences?

Madison Margolin (18:08):

Yeah, yeah, from the outside, people think of black hat Jews as very austere and oppressive people don’t fully understand it and granted, like within the community too, there is a lot of that but I think the actual, genesis of the Hasidic movement is really based in like ecstatic experience of religion and a direct relationship to the divine, that doesn’t need to be mediated by a rabbi or by studying text for your whole life, but you can have just kind of this direct ecstatic experience.

Madison Margolin (18:44):

And the group that I mentioned with the Merry Prankster bus and everything, for them specifically, the ultimate mix based on the teaching of their Rabbi or the person who-

David (18:57):

The charismatic leader.

Madison Margolin (18:58):

The ultimate mitzvahs is to be happy and so they wanna spread that and dancing is, is part and parcel to that so again, there’s a lot of fun-

David (19:11):

Who, which one, which sect is that?

Madison Margolin (19:13):

Um, it’s called Breslov, B-R-E-S-L-O-V.

David (19:17):

Yeah, right.

Madison Margolin (19:17):

Rabi Nachman is their leader. He, he’s no longer alive, but, that group specifically is a sect within a sect called the Nanachs the… so that, that’s who goes around in the bus.

David (19:34):

So do you feel that this is true for other religions as well? So you know, do you, do you find that, uh, people turning towards this kind of psychedelic experience exists in other, whether catholic, protestant, Hindu, Muslim?

Madison Margolin (19:49):

Yeah, I think so, for instance, in Hinduism the, like devotees of the deity Shiva, was the lord of destruction and also said to be like the father of yoga and mind altering substances. For them, hashish or other forms of cannabis like charas is a big part of their practice and that the idea is that through consuming cannabis, they’re able to reach Shiva consciousness. when you think of what is the concept of destruction, you know, it could be physical destruction but it could also be kind of this like annihilation of the ego in a way.

Madison Margolin (20:30):

Kind of transcending the ego, which is again, what psychedelics and cannabis can help people do is kind of dampen that part of the brain that’s where the ego resides.

David (20:41):

I’ve been thinking, speaking of ego, okay, difference between now and the 60s, in a way, the first psychedelic revolution, this is more like psychedelic evolution I feel like because it doesn’t seem to, you know, shake things up in the same way it did in those days, but, uh, Timothy Leary who we mentioned earlier, his thing was turn on, tune in and drop out. That was what we were doing, why we were taking LSD. Now it’s health and wellness. It’s a very different kind of marketing approach. Do you see them as related or just total opposites or how?

Madison Margolin (21:22):

Right, I think you’re right to say that it’s an evolution. People give Leary a lot of slack, because like he, you know, he did propagate this turn on, tune in and drop out thing but I think it was scary to most of society and turned people off to psychedelics ultimately. He was this wild man and you know, there was this idea that if you took acid, you were gonna lose your mind and I don’t think Leary did much to soften the way people felt about psychedelics.

Madison Margolin (21:52):

But that said, I’m happy and excited to see psychedelics now being quote, unquote marketed as these wellness tools and medicines, which they are, um, but I think there’s a fuzzy line between wellness and recreation. I think if you have a fun time, it can be incredibly healing and good for your wellness, helping you reset your nervous system and relax and whatever and likewise, if you’re doing therapy with a psychedelic or in general, it doesn’t always have to be so serious all the time, people talk about doing the work, in psychedelics or what not and in our capitalistic society, when you use the word work, you equate that with a hard process or drudgery or whatever and I just wanna help people recognize that doing the work quote, unquote or doing the healing doesn’t necessarily have to be grueling all the time, it can also have elements of fun and lightness and lightheartedness as well.

David (23:06):

Speaking of Timothy Leary, how do you relate to him as a, as an individual and, and a person responsible for launching all of this? You already said that you feel like he had sort of misled the people, but there were other factors involved. His story is ridiculously complicated and people still don’t really even know what happened in many parts along the way. Have you studied his history or you’ve heard stories from, in your family and acquaintances, uh, about anything that could shed light on that? There was the CIA, there was that movie, My Psychedelic Love Story that Errol Morris made with his wife suggesting CIA and other possibilities.

David (24:00):

And also we know that there was a lot of government involvement in making, scaring people from, away from psychedelics at the same time, so it wasn’t just Leary, there was a lot more going on.

Madison Margolin (24:15):

First of all, I don’t think Leary quote, unquote misled people, but I don’t think he took the most responsible approach. There’s a family friend who apparently was at a lecture at UC Berkeley and Leary was there and everyone was given acid just like in general and this guy had a terrible trip and went off and somehow ended up getting physically injured. This whole thing about set and setting, which with Leary and Richard Albert, you know, Ram Dass first wrote about that. You have to live what you preach, right?

Madison Margolin (24:59):

And so indiscriminately giving people acid and just being like, “Go off and figure it out.” That could be really dangerous for a lot of people. But yeah, I mean my perception of Leary, I think I’m more grateful to him than not. I am not one of these people who’s trying to like sterilize psychedelic culture and I think I’m seeing a lot of that today where people are trying to make it palatable to the people who wouldn’t be interested in psychedelics otherwise, and I understand why they’re doing that and I understand why that’s good marketing and why it will push forward policy or get people to like wanna buy a psychedelic medicine or something like that.

Madison Margolin (25:47):

But I also think like in mainstreaming psychedelics, like why not try to get the mainstream to be more psychedelic in and of itself? Right? And like extract the values and ethos of a psychedelic and apply that into more mainstream consciousness? We saw what happened already with cannabis where, you know, people tried to basically do the same thing, turn cannabis into a wellness product and you know, cannabis culture today is by and large a shell of itself or a shadow of what it used to be, in the 90s and before that just in terms of the cast of characters and the fun in it and the people who are like really devoted to the cause. And now it just kind of feels like another consumer product.

Madison Margolin (26:42):

Um, and it’s, again, the culture is, to me at least, is a little bit less enticing than what I grew up with, in LA in the 90s. Um, so there’s that and I, and I kind of feel like psychedelics are on a similar path and so I think that really honoring the legacy of people like Timothy Leary or others, will help preserve the culture and make it so that psychedelics don’t have to be this neat thing that fits into a pitch deck or a PowerPoint or whatever because those suits on Wall Street are gonna like it better that way.

Madison Margolin (27:20):

Why should we try to accommodate the culture to people who weren’t hip to it before? If you’re gonna come to psychedelics, come to the whole package.

David (27:35):

Is there a package there that fits everyone? I’m thinking at one time I knew of some Republicans who experimented with psychedelics and smoking weed wearing suits and ties, this was some years ago, before, everybody went casual, it was sort of incongruous, in a way to look at them and, and think, “Oh gee, they’re doing this but they’re not part of the culture” which was, very much anti all of that stuff.

David (28:11):

What I really wanna ask is do you feel that it’s for everybody, whatever side of the political spectrum they happen to be on, that this is something they could use as well without buying into all of the politics or the cultural stuff that traditionally is associated with it?

Madison Margolin (28:42):

Yeah, I don’t, I don’t think that… I think that’s the thing is like there’s a lot of, um, cultural priming that takes place with psychedelics and, and cannabis for that matter, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the best thing. You don’t have to be a hippie, you don’t have to be left wing, you don’t have to be any sort of way to take a psychedelic. Granted they’re not for everybody and you have to be willing to let go a little bit in order to fully experience it and like allow whatever the psychedelic wants to show you to, to happen without kind of freaking out. Um, and so maybe people who are more liberal or whatever are more predisposed to being open in that way, but I can’t say that’s for certain and I think, you know, there was an article a few years ago about people on the alt right taking psychedelics and really what I’ve seen, and like what I believe is that psychedelics just make you more you.

Madison Margolin (29:39):

You know, they’re not automatically gonna make you a better person. It’s not automatically going to make you start caring about the environment or becoming liberal or whatever. Maybe if you integrate the values of psychedelics that might happen. You know, you have a psychedelic trip in the forest and all of the sudden you feel connected to nature and you become more environmentally aware and your actions reflect that, but it doesn’t happen automatically and it’s not like taking a psychedelic will change your views so much as it will change the chemistry in your brain in a way that enables you to be more open.

Madison Margolin (30:16):

There’s actually been studies that show that people’s openness, quote, unquote, has increased based on psilocybin trips. So, again, like whether you are left wing or right wing or old or young or whatever, I think anyone can have like a psychedelic experience and benefit from it, and again like get in touch with part of themselves that they maybe we’re not privy to or maybe just wanted to express, um, more strongly.

Madison Margolin (30:46):

Uh, but I’ll say just one thing is that if you, you know, have a predisposition to something like schizophrenia or other mental condition, to be more careful.

David (30:55):

The tech scene is known to be like a real active zone for this kind of experimentation right now. Not, you know, from micro dosing, for just the programmers who are just, you know, sitting there working all day to the CEOs, of that world who are out really tripping and then just exploring that side of themselves as well today. First with micro dosing, do you feel that’s a valid thing to, uh, for using exploration or is it just like a work drug?

Madison Margolin (31:32):

Yeah, no, mi- micro dosing is a great way to get your toes wet, you know, so to speak, dip your toes into the psychedelic space. Especially for people who are afraid to get high, or who do wanna increase their productivity or work with depression or something like that. Sometimes I say that micro dosing is like the CBD of psychedelics.

David (31:57):

(laughs) Okay.

Madison Margolin (31:57):

Like, you know, again people kind of do that for the same reasons, for similar reasons I’ll say. Not, you know, CBD has very specific implications, micro dosing doesn’t. 


David (32:09):

Now talking about these different kinds of people and the benefits they can get from exploring these sides of themselves. I know you’ve spent some time in Israel which was very influential on, on your development, intellectually, I guess spiritually and you, you mentioned one time talking about the role of psychedelics in religion and conflict resolution among Israelis and Palestinians. Is that something that’s really going on or is it just like an idea?

Madison Margolin (32:43):

It’s going on to like a small extent. I don’t know small extent doesn’t really make sense. It’s going on, um, in certain corners of the psychedelic world. There’s an anecdotal study that’s, um, my friend Natalie Ginsberg at Maps is doing along with a Palestinian peace activist Anton and an Israeli researcher Leor Roseman who is at Imperial College London, and basically people are sitting in ayahuasca circles together, Israelis and Palestinians, and then the researchers are interviewing them about their experience and often times like there will be this experience of the quote, unquote other, that someone has to reckon with while they’re in ceremony.

Madison Margolin (33:30):

So, you know, one anecdote was a woman who felt triggered by Arabic I think in general and then there was a Palestinian woman sitting next to her who started praying in Arabic, um, and how this Jewish woman had to like sort of just reconcile that within herself and see that this woman next to her was praying and that like she was also hurting and having that type of empathy available within that context.

Madison Margolin (33:59):

You know, of course the type of people who are electing to sit in the mixed Israeli Palestinian group are already probably more open minded, Maps does have also MDMA research happening in Israel for the use of PTSD I would love to see a world where MDMA for PTSD therapy is available for Israelis and Palestinians, but I think, the promise of psychedelics in the region is like I said, taking the psychedelic ethos and the principles of, of psychedelic healing therapy and trying to make that more central to the conversation.

Madison Margolin (34:42):

I don’t think there is a fair way to have a conversation that is around Palestine without talking about PTSD as front and center 

David (34:51):

For both parties, right?

Madison Margolin (34:52):

For everybody. I’ve, I said before, this wasn’t about being pro Israel or anti, uh, anti Israel or pro Palestine or anti whatever. I’m just anti anything that causes continued trauma. And so how can the political paradigm reorient around that, rather than this kind of ridiculous binary that they keep going back and forth against? Um, ’cause that’s not working.

David (35:23):

Yeah, they just gotta get all the world leaders over there and into a session of ayahuasca. They have to do it.

Madison Margolin (35:31):

Yeah. (laughs)

David (35:32):

(laughs) Force them into a room, uh, you know? Figure it out, folks. We’re gonna help you do it. I find something interesting, I don’t know if, if it means anything, but that the women are getting involved in this, especially magazines around these subjects, so we have Double Blind, we have Gossamer with Verena and Anja Charbonneau at Broccoli, it’s unusual from my experience to find women start ups in publishing anyway, but now, now that it’s happening, it’s happening in this particular zone. Can you draw any conclusions around that? Are women leading in this category now?

Madison Margolin (36:31):

When I think of all the psychedelic pioneers of the 60s, and again I don’t want to paint a picture as if psychedelics became a thing only in the 60s. Like these have been held by traditions in indigenous cultures for long before that. But when I think of that initial Renaissance, the psychedelic culture, you know, you think of Ram Dass and Timothy Leary and Alan Ginsberg and Albert Hoffman and Sasha Shulgin and you don’t really think of a lot of women.

Madison Margolin (37:03):

When I think of indigenous culture and psychedelics, I think of Marina Sabina, she’s probably the most obvious person. She’s a curandeira or like a mushroom shaman in Mexico who introduced westerners to psychedelics and that kind of spawned the whole psychedelic revolution that I just referred to. And that was through mycologist R. Gordon Wasson, he did mushrooms in Mexico and then Leary did mushrooms in Mexico and then we know how the, how that, uh, transpired.

Madison Margolin (37:38):

Um, but today I think it’s interesting to take the reins away from like this cast of upper middle class white dudes and disperse it among other people. So it’s not just women who are kind of taking psychedelic culture and owning it and, um, helping to reimagine it or recreate it in a way, but also people of color. There’s a, there’s an interesting account online called, on Instagram Black People Trip, which I think is just such a good, uh, cute way of putting it and that like again, psychedelics, people think of like white hippies, um, they don’t necessary think all the time of all the other people who are using psychedelics or could benefit from psychedelics.

Madison Margolin (38:30):

And I think, expanding the way that we think of the psychedelic community is also good for the research in that, you know, therapists who are studying trauma and wanna use psychedelics for trauma also need to have some level of cultural competency and ideally there would be more therapists of color being trained and more non binary people being trained kind of just to deal with and address all the ways that people are traumatized based on their identities or experiences and not just what people think of with PTSD which is a veteran who goes to war, which again is like totally valid and that is a huge sector of society that needs psychedelic help.

Madison Margolin (39:20):

But it’s so much broader than that as well.

David (39:23):

Oh yeah, for sure, stories of abuse or just, I mean, the, it’s so common to be finding out today that people, you know, never mentioned it or even know themselves that what they’ve experienced was what we call abuse today, but that was child rearing (laughs) once upon a time. That’s how they did it, and nobody really thought about it and it’s still going on in many places of the world, you know, every day and that’s something that we pass onto the next generation ourselves, so if we’ve been through it.

David (39:55):

That’s something we really need to, to figure out a way to stop or stop passing it on at least, even if we can’t, quite figure out how to cure ourselves along the way or maybe that’s the only way to do it.

David (40:14):

Madison, thank you so much. I’ve wanted to have you on my show for so long, as you know, I’ve been chasing after you all around the world. So (laughs) I’m happy we finally got a chance to talk. I’m not disappointed.

Madison Margolin (40:28):

Yeah, this was great. It definitely (laughs) was worth the wait. [inaudible 00:40:34].

David (40:30):

Thank you.

Madison Margolin (40:30):


David (40:34):

All right, thanks, thanks for being on my show Madison Margolin.

Madison Margolin (40:37):

Thank you.



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