Madison Margolin is the co-founder and managing editor of DoubleBlind, the biannual print magazine and digital media outfit that's taking the psychedelics movement by storm. Before starting the magazine, she and co-founder Shelby Hartman were both prolific cannabis journalists. Though many will be most familiar with Margolin's cannabis coverage in a wide range of publications over the last five years, she's been covering the political, cultural, and spiritual impact of psychedelics since her college days.
While still in journalism school at Columbia University, Margolin was reporting on the Orthodox Jewish community in New York and met a bunch of kids from orthodox backgrounds who were experimenting with psychedelics, “exploring their relationship to religion and spirituality through these alternative drug experiences,” Margolin told Weedmaps, “I got really curious about that and started writing almost immediately about the relationship between Judaism and psychedelics. That was like five years ago before I even had my job at the Village Voice.”
Margolin started covering New York's cannabis policy rollout for the Voice in 2015. At the same time, she had spent several months working on a story about the Empire State's burgeoning psychedelic scene, where she was, “looking at the research that was coming out of NYU.” She also became familiar with the newly opened Alchemist Kitchen, a community space offering talks on psychedelics and with room to sell goods and tinctures.
The Voice was sold in October 2015, just as Margolin's psychedelics coverage was about to be a cover story. “They got a new editor who basically was like, 'Your drug coverage is cliché. The Village Voice is over drugs,' and he killed my psychedelics story.” That same editor also killed her weed column, so Margolin would go on to cover the cannabis beat for Rolling Stone, Playboy, High Times, Nylon, Bon Appetit, Broccoli, LA Weekly, VICE, and a host of other major magazines and digital outlets.
For Margolin, the modern cannabis and psychedelics movements are connected by the psychoactive experience and how it can affect all other aspects of life — science, policy, culture, history, medicine, mental health, spirituality, etc. “When writing about any drug, whether it's cannabis or psychedelics or even heroin and opiates and whatever, it's a way to talk about other things in society,” Margolin said while reflecting on all the places and communities her cannabis coverage has taken her for the past five years. One particular day in Jerusalem stood out to her as a poignant example where all these ideas intersected in a special way.
The day started with an interview with Raphael Mechoulam, the legendary Israeli scientist who pioneered the isolation of THC and the discovery of endocannabinoids. “I did this whole story on the cannabis scene in Israel-Palestine for Tablet, a Jewish magazine, so I spoke to Mechoulam, which was really special. Then I went to East Jerusalem, which is more the Palastinian side of the city, with a translator. It was kind of interesting man-on-the-street reporting. I think it was interesting to be in this place where trauma is so ubiquitous on all sides of the equation. Cannabis is such an obvious choice to treat trauma, and to experience that first hand with Israelis and Palestinians — and to talk to the guy who was so instrumental [in cannabis science and medicine] — was really powerful.”
The transition from full-time cannabis reporting to running her own psychedelics magazine began in 2018, when fellow-reporter Shelby Hartman reached out to her about the project. “Shelby and I had both gone to Columbia for journalism school, and then we were sort of doing similar things in the field afterward. And Shelby had this idea when she was meditating to do a psychedelics magazine, sort of inspired by Broccoli, a really beautiful magazine that covered psychedelics but also merged high-end design with investigative-heavy reporting.”
Margolin signed onto the idea right away. “We both had full-time jobs at the time. I was at Civilized and [Shelby] was at Herb, and we didn't really know where it would go. We were just like, 'this seems like a cool side project to do,' and then it kind of snowballed into what it is right now.”
Margolin and Hartman now lead a publication that, in their own words, speaks to “everyone who is curious about psychedelics. And we are speaking to anyone craving fresh perspectives on some of the most important issues of our time [...] and the aching that people around the globe feel for spirituality or some other collective sense of meaning.”
For Margolin and for DoubleBlind, shedding light on the grassroots nature of the psychedelics and cannabis movements is paramount.
“People are like, 'oh yeah, cannabis is like a big industry these days.' And it's kind of obnoxious because it's built on the backs of people who have been going to jail for decades, and risking their freedoms and putting their families at risk. That's something I hope that, as people read about this [industry] stuff in Forbes, they recognize that it's built on people who are not being featured in Forbes.”
Margolin continued, “I just don't think people recognize the tension between the industry and the movement, the movement being something that's really grassroots and we're dealing with organic matter, and there's indigenous wisdom behind it and decades of folk wisdom and street wisdom, and that is the culture.”
Here are four weed products Madison Margolin can't live without.
Prismatic Plants Good Day and Good Night CBD Tinctures
Prismatic Plants offers daytime and nighttime CBD tincture formulas, both designed to have an appropriate calming effect. Margolin uses both.
“I have scoliosis and my back can get kinky, and sometimes it can hurt. But it actually hasn't been like that in a long time, and I don't know if it's cause I take CBD, but I think that might have to do with inflammation. I also use it for anxiety. Sometimes if I'm tripping, I like to have CBD on hand, basically if I'm feeling anxious.”
Papa & Barkley 1:3 THC Releaf Balm
Papa & Barkley's THC-rich Releaf Balm is a whole-plant-infused salve that Margolin has used for pain relief. “I've also had tendonitis,” a condition most writers are at least somewhat familiar with, “so I've used that and rubbed it in my wrist.”
Dad Grass CBD Pre-rolls
As CBD pre-rolls become a major staple of the cannabis market, it's important to know where the quality is. Margolin doesn't smoke weed as much as she used to, and tends to prefer CBD-heavy joints when she does. Dad Grass hemp pre-rolls “serve up a clean buzz without the fuss,” and are tailored to “revive the casual smoke.”
Moon Made Farms Flower
Moon Made Farms is owned and operated by former producer, musician, event promoter, and documentary filmmaker, Tina Gordon, who relocated to Southern Humboldt County in 2007 to grow and advocate for cannabis.
“I try to opt for outdoor, sungrown, small-batch farms.” Margolin told Weedmaps, “Moon Made Farms is a good one. Tina actually tracks the moon cycle to see how the moon affects the plants.”
Interview by Nic Juarez. Written by Andy Andersen. Photo courtesy of Zoe Wilder. Graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps