Lance McMahon, Jr

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

Chair And Professor

Department: Pharmacodynamics
Business Phone: (352) 294-8878
Business Email:

About Lance McMahon, Jr

Dr. McMahon is Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacodynamics at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. He previously held the position of Tenured Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He obtained a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience from Texas A&M University, and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He has been continuously funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse since 2002 as PI of 6 R01 grants, an R21, and a U grant for a total of $22M in funding. He is a regular member of the Center for Scientific Review NIH study section Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning and Ethology. He served on the Executive Board of the Behavioral Pharmacology Division of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Dr. McMahon’s laboratory integrates principles of behavior and receptor theory to identify CNS mechanisms responsible for drug dependence, and novel pharmacological strategies that maximize therapeutics and minimize abuse liability.

Research Profile

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 abuse and dependence liability. We combine behavioral and physiological approaches, receptor-selective ligands, and quantitative analyses of drug interactions. We are interested in several pharmacological classes of abused drugs.

Cannabinoids, for example, include cannabis-derived tetrahydrocannabinols, numerous synthetic cannabinoids, and endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitters. We systematically compare the effects of cannabinoids and evaluate underlying receptor mechanisms to better understand dependence and therapeutic potential.

Cholinergic drugs of interest include FDA-approved smoking cessation aids such as nicotine, varenicline, and bupropion. We compare the effects of smoking cessation aids and investigational nicotinic acetylcholine receptor drugs to better understand relationships between nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtypes, intrinsic activity (i.e., efficacy), and behavioral effects. Most recently, we are joining investigators in the Departments of Medicinal Chemistry (McCurdy), Pharmaceutics (Avery), and Pharmacodynamics (McLaughlin, Peris) to evaluate the in vitro and in vivo pharmacology of kratom and its derivatives which have proven therapeutic utility in the reduction of opioid dependence.


June 2019ACTIVE
Opioid and cannabinoid interactions in pain and reward
April 2019ACTIVE
Kratom alkaloids: in vitro and in vivo pharmacological mechanisms
NATL INST OF HLTH NIDA · Principal Investigator
December 2018ACTIVE
Opioid use disorders: UF Pharmacy medications discovery and development
NATL INST OF HLTH NIDA · Principal Investigator
October 2017 – June 2019
Nicotine dependence: neuropharmacology in monkeys
NATL INST OF HLTH NIDA · Principal Investigator


Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University
University of Pennsylvania

Recent News

10/10: All pharmacodynamics tenure-track faculty are federally funded

The awards come from various federal institutions, but all 10 have at least one grant from the National Institutes of Health, or NIH.

Cannabidiol: Rising star or popular fad?

Drs. Lance McMahon and Jenny Wilkerson author a story for The Conversation about the rising popularity and the scientific interest in cannabidiol.

UF College of Pharmacy receives $3.5 million NIDA grant to bolster kratom research

The grant will bolster research on Mitragyna speciosia, or kratom, and its potential to treat opioid misuse and physical dependence.

Dr. Lance McMahon shares expertise on panel discussing psychedelic use to treat psychiatric conditions

The event was hosted by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Education at University of Florida Health and featured five panelists.

Read more