Lance McMahon, Ph.D.


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Contact Information

Dr. Lance McMahon
Department of Pharmacodynamics
University of Florida College of Pharmacy
1345 Center Drive
P.O. Box 100487
Gainesville, FL 32610
Office: Building JHMHSC, Room P1-20B
Phone: 352-294-8878
FAX: (352) 273-7705
Website: Department of Pharmacodynamics Profile


Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacodynamics, University of Florida College of Pharmacy


BA, Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
MS, Behavioral and Cellular Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
PhD, Behavioral and Cellular Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Postdoctoral training, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX (Mentor: Kathryn Cunningham, PhD)

Research Interests

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.

Recent 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.

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