Ryan J. McLaughlin

Ryan J. McLaughlin

Associate Professor

Dr. McLaughlin's Publications

Room: (VBR) 235
Phone: (509) 335-6448


Current Positions

2014-Present Assistant Professor, IPN, Washington State University, Pullman, WA


2004 B.Sc. Psychology; Mt. Allison University, Sackville, NB, Canada
2006 M.A. Psychology; University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
2012 Ph.D. Psychology; University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada


The increasingly pervasive impact of stress in our day-to-day lives has served as a catalyst for the growing prevalence of affective disorders in today’s society. Consequently, understanding the neurobiological underpinnings of stress and the mechanisms by which these factors influence the brain and behavior is of the utmost importance. My research to date has focused on elucidating the neuroanatomical framework that mediates stress coping, emotionality, and goal-directed behavior, and how exposure to environmental factors (i.e., chronic stress, drugs of abuse) can produce long-lasting neurobiological adaptations that contribute to disruptions in homeostasis and the emergence of negative affective states. This is the foundation of my research program as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience at Washington State University (WSU).

Honors and Awards

2014 Healthy Minds Canada Prize, Children's Mental Health

Current Funding

Establishing behavioral and biological predictors of problematic cannabis use
Role: PI, 10% effort
Type: ADARP DMAC Pilot Grant (137452)                                                   Funding period: 10/2019-12/2020
Goals: The purpose of this grant is to conduct comprehensive behavioral phenotyping of male and female rats to gain insight into factors associated with high vs. low rates of cannabis vapor self-administration.
Chronic cannabis-induced alterations in stress reactivity
Role: PI, 10% effort                                                                                        
Type: ADARP Pilot Grant (136020)                                                               Funding period: 07/2019-12/2020
Goals: This project follows up our previous DMAC-funded research by exploring whether blunted stress reactivity is a cause or a consequence of chronic cannabis exposure.
Drug context-induced instrumental cocaine seeking: Influence of memory reconsolidation
Role: Co-I (PI, R. Fuchs), 5% effort                                                   
Type: NIDA 2 R01 DA025646-07                                                                   Funding period: 01/2010-06/2022
Goals: This project aims to identify relay brain regions that permit interaction between the basolateral amygdala and dorsal hippocampus in early-phase cocaine memory reconsolidation.

Effects of developmental cannabis exposure on prefrontocortical structure and function
Role: PI, 40% effort                                                                                        
Type: NIDA 1 R21 DA043722-01A1                                                              Funding period: 09/2017-08/2019 (Currently in No-Cost Extension)
Goals: This project examines the effects of adolescent- vs. adult-onset cannabis vapor self-administration on prefrontocortical structure (cell morphology and white matter development) and function (attentional set-shifting and effort-based decision making) in male and female rats.

Select Publications
  • Freels, T.G., Baxter-Potter, L.N., Lugo, J.M., Glodosky, N.C., Wright, H.R., Baglot, S.L., Petrie, G.N., Yu, Z., Clowers, B.H., Cuttler, C., Fuchs, R.A., Hill, M.N., McLaughlin, R.J. (2019) Vaporized cannabis extracts have reinforcing properties and support conditioned drug-seeking behavior in rats bioRxiv 40(9):1897-1908. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2416-19.2020. Epub 2020 Jan 17. PMID: 31953372 PMCID: PMC7046447
  • De Gregorio, D., McLaughlin, R.J., Posa, L., Ochoa-Sanchez, R., Enns, J., Lopez-Canul, M., Abooud, M., Maione, S., Comai, S., Gobbi, G. (2019) Cannabidiol modulates serotonergic transmission and reverses allodynia and anxiety in a model of neuropathic pain Pain 160(1), 136-150 DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001386 PMID: 30157131 PMCID: PMC6319597
  • Berger, A.L., Henricks, A.M., Lugo, J.M., Wright, H.R., Warrick, C.R., Sticht, M.A., Morena, M., Laredo, S.A., Grandes, P.R., Parsons, L.H., Hillard, C.J., Hill, M.N., McLaughlin, R.J. (2018) The lateral habenula directs coping styles under conditions of stress via recruitment of the endocannabinoid system Biological Psychiatry 84(8), 611-623 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2018.04.018 PMID: 29887035 PMCID: PMC6162143
  • McLaughlin, R.J. (2018) Toward a Translationally Relevant Preclinical Model of Cannabis Use Neuropsychopharmacology 43(1):213. doi: 10.1038/npp.2017.191. PMID: 29192672 PMCID: PMC5719100
  • Cuttler, C., Spradlin, A., Nusbaum A.T., Whitney, P., Hinson, J.M., McLaughlin, R.J. (2019) Joint effects of stress and chronic cannabis use on prospective memory Psychopharmacology 236(6), 1973-1983 doi: 10.1007/s00213-019-5184-9 PMID: 30762090 PMCID:
  • Cuttler, C., Spradlin, A., McLaughlin, R.J. (2018) A naturalistic examination of the perceived effects of cannabis on negative affect Journal of Affective Disorders 235: 198-205 DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.04.054 PMID: 29656267 PMCID:
  • Nusbaum, A.T., Whitney, P., Cuttler, C., Spradlin, A., Hinson, J., McLaughlin, R.J. (2017) Altered attentional control strategies but spared executive functioning in chronic cannabis users Drug and Alcohol Dependence 18: 116-123 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.09.019 PMID: 29045919 PMCID:
  • Henricks, A.M., Berger, A.L., Lugo, J.M., Baxter-Potter, L.N., Bieniasz, K.V., Petrie, G., Sticht, M.A., Hill, M.N., McLaughlin, R.J. (2017) Sex- and hormone-dependent alterations in alcohol withdrawal-induced anxiety and corticolimbic endocannabinoid signaling Neuropharmacology 124: 121-133 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2017.05.023 PMID: 28554848 PMCID:
  • Cuttler, C., Spradlin, A., Nusbaum, A.T., Whitney, P., Hinson, J.M., McLaughlin, R.J. (2017) Blunted stress reactivity in chronic cannabis users Psychopharmacology (Berl) 234: 2299-2309 DOI: 10.1007/s00213-017-4648-z PMID: 28567696 PMCID:
  • Baxter-Potter, L.N., Henricks, A.M., Berger, A.L., Bieniasz, K.V., Lugo, J.M., McLaughlin, R.J. (2017) Alcohol vapor exposure differentially impacts mesocorticolimbic cytokine expression in a sex-, region-, and duration-specific manner Neuroscience 346: 238-246 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.01.015 PMID: 28131626 PMCID:
  • Henricks, A.M., Berger, A.L., Lugo, J.M., Baxter-Potter, L.N., Bieniasz, K.V., Craft, R.M., McLaughlin, R.J. (2016) Sex differences in alcohol consumption and alterations in nucleus accumbens endocannabinoid mRNA in alcohol-dependent rats Neuroscience 335: 195-206 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.08.032 PMID: 27578612 PMCID:

List of Publications