Lance R. McMahon, Ph.D., M.S.

Lance R. McMahon

Chair and Professor


OFFICE: Building JHMHSC, Room P1-20B


PHONE: 352-294-8878

CV: Link to CV



  • Ph.D. Psychology Texas A&M University
  • M.S. Psychology Texas A&M University
  • B.A. Psychology University of Pennsylvania

Biographical Sketch

Research in my laboratory integrates principles of behavior and receptor theory to identify central nervous system mechanisms responsible for drug dependence. We also investigate novel pharmacological strategies that maximize therapeutic potential and minimize dependence and abuse liability. We combine behavioral and physiological approaches, receptor-selective ligands, and quantitative analyses of drug interactions. Cannabinoids include cannabis-derived tetrahydrocannabinols, numerous synthetic cannabinoids, and endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitters. We systematically compare the effects of these diverse cannabinoid drugs and evaluate underlying receptor mechanisms to better understand dependence and therapeutic potential. FDA-approved smoking cessation aids such as nicotine, varenicline, and bupropion can double abstinence rates; however, relapse within one year is unacceptably high. We compare the in vivo pharmacology of novel, investigational nicotinic acetylcholine receptor drugs to FDA-approved compounds to better understand relationships between nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtypes, intrinsic activity, and behavioral effects.

Research Interests

  • Addiction
  • Dependence
  • Cannabinoids
  • Cholinergics

Select Publications

Hruba L, McMahon LR. Apparent affinity estimates and reversal of the effects of synthetic cannabinoids AM-2201, CP-47,497, JWH-122, and JWH-250 by rimonabant in rhesus monkeys. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2017 Aug;362(2):278-286.

De Moura FB, McMahon LR. The contribution of α4β2 and non-α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors to the discriminative stimulus effects of nicotine and varenicline in mice. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2017 Mar;234(5):781-792.

Moerke MJ, Zhu AZ, Tyndale RF, Javors MA, McMahon LR. The discriminative stimulus effects of i.v. nicotine in rhesus monkeys: Pharmacokinetics and apparent pA2 analysis with dihydro-β-erythroidine. Neuropharmacology 2016 Dec;116:9-17.

Cunningham CS, Moerke MJ, Javors MA, Carroll FI, McMahon LR. Attenuated nicotine-like effects of varenicline but not other nicotinic ACh receptor agonists in monkeys receiving nicotine daily. Br J Pharmacol 2016 Dec;173:3454-3466.

McMahon LR. Enhanced discriminative stimulus effects of Δ9-THC in the presence of cannabidiol and 8-OH-DPAT in rhesus monkeys. Drug Alcohol Depend 2016 Aug;165:87-93.

Moerke MJ, de Moura FB, Koek W, McMahon LR. Effects of nicotine in combination with drugs described as positive allosteric nicotinic acetylcholine receptor modulators in vitro: discriminative stimulus and hypothermic effects in mice. Eur J Pharmacol 2016 May;786:169-178.