Behavioral Pharmacology of Cocaine

  • Sharon L. Walsh


The behavioral pharmacological characteristics of cocaine have been investigated in nonhumans and humans for several decades. Various experimental approaches have been utilized to explore the physiological, subjective, behavioral, and psychological effects of cocaine. This chapter reviews findings regarding the behavioral pharmacology of cocaine use encompassing data from both animal and human laboratory studies. The first two sections provide an overview of the pharmacological actions of cocaine and the patterns of cocaine abuse. The next three sections review select studies characterizing (1) the subjective effects of cocaine in humans, (2) the discriminative stimulus properties of cocaine, and (3) the reinforcing properties of cocaine assessed using the drug self-administration paradigm. Preclinical drug-discrimination and self-administration studies of cocaine are abundant and a complete review of these studies is beyond the scope of this chapter. Thus, preclinical data will be synthesized to illustrate principal findings and more detailed analysis of the results from studies with humans, when available, will be provided.


Discriminative Stimulus Subjective Effect Discriminative Stimulus Effect Drug Discrimination Abuse Liability 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon L. Walsh
    • 1
  1. 1.Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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