2020: Rebecca Caughron Chalmé

West Virginia University

Rebecca Caughron Chalmé is a doctoral student at West Virginia University (WVU), working in the behavioral pharmacology laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Karen G. Anderson. This SABA grant will support her master’s thesis research, which is designed to evaluate interoceptive discriminative-stimulus properties of cannabidiol (CBD) oil. CBD is touted as a cure-all for a variety of disorders, including anxiety. Some websites and retailers go as far as to suggest that CBD could function as an anxiolytic drug in place of more traditional medications like benzodiazepines; however, the suitability of CBD as a substitute for benzodiazepines is unknown.


In the study the grant will support, before each training session rats are given either saline or chlordiazepoxide (CDP), a benzodiazepine drug, and then placed in a two-lever operant-conditioning chamber with responding on one (injection-appropriate) lever reinforced and responding on the alternate lever extinguished. For example, on CDP days, responding on one lever produces food, whereas on saline days, responses on the opposing lever produce food. Once responding occurs consistently on the injection-appropriate lever across sessions, various doses of CBD are administered in place of saline or CDP, and generalization tests occur in extinction. The number of responses on the CDP-appropriate lever in a test session provides information about whether CBD and CDP share interoceptive discriminative-stimulus properties, and thus may clarify CBD’s role as a potential anxiolytic drug.


In addition to research, Rebecca is passionate about undergraduate instruction. She has taught Introduction to Psychology and the Behavior Principles laboratory course at WVU, and has advised incoming freshmen in the psychology major. Rebecca hopes to earn her Ph.D. and continue her academic career in research and teaching at a university.


Rebecca would like to thank SABA for supporting her master’s thesis research. Additionally, she would like to thank Dr. Anderson, her WVU labmates and colleagues, and her husband for their support during her doctoral training at WVU.


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