Ryan McLaughlin

Ryan McLaughlin

Associate Professor 509-335-6448    

Dr. Ryan J. McLaughlin joined the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience at WSU as an Assistant Professor in 2014 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2021. The goal of Dr. McLaughlin’s research program is to determine how endogenous and exogenous cannabinoids affect the brain and behavior. His research has shown that the endocannabinoid system is a vital component of the neuroendocrine and behavioral stress response, and that pharmacologically targeting this system could be a promising strategy for treating stress-related disorders. More recently, Dr. McLaughlin’s research team has developed a novel, translationally valid approach for modeling cannabis use in rodents that uses response-contingent delivery of vaporized cannabis extracts to better understand the effects of cannabis use on the brain and behavior. Dr. McLaughlin’s team uses this approach to examine how cannabis use during sensitive developmental periods contributes to behavioral, cognitive, and neurobiological alterations, and whether they differ by sex.

Affiliate and Adjunct Appointments

  • Adjunct, Center for Reproductive Biology
  • Affiliate, Psychology Department, College of Arts and Sciences, WSU


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, 2014
  • PhD, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2012
  • MA, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2006
  • Hon BSc Department of Psychology, Mount Allison University, 2004

Research Interest

  • Cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System
  • Stress and Stress Coping
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Flexibility
  • Neurodevelopment


Professional Service

  • Member, The College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD)
  • Member, Society for Neuroscience (SFN)
  • Member, International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS)
  • Member, Translational Addiction Research Collaborative (TARC) at Washington State University
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Cannabis Research
  • Editorial Board, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience: Frontiers in Neuroscience
  • Editorial Board, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience: Emotion Regulation and Processing
  • Ad-hoc/early-career reviewer, National Institutes of Health
  • Ad-hoc reviewer, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Honors and Awards

  •  Washington State University RA + 10K Competition Winner, 2019
  • Washington State University ORAP Multidisciplinary Training Grant Co-Investigator (PI: Crespi, 2020)
  • Winter Conference on Brain Research, Travel Award, 2016
  • CIHR Healthy Minds Canada Prize in Children’s Mental Health, 2014
  • Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids, Trainee Travel Award, 2010-2013
  • Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, Travel Award, 2010