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Behav Pharmacol. 1997 Dec;8(8):736-44.

Binge cocaine self-administration by humans: smoked cocaine.

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  • 1Division on Substance Abuse, New York State Psychiatric Institute, NY, USA.


Tolerance develops to the cardiovascular and subjective effects of intravenous cocaine during single self-administration sessions, but diminishes within 3 h after the session ends. To examine whether a similar pattern of tolerance occurs to smoked cocaine, seven adult 'crack' cocaine users completed a protocol investigating changes in behavior during the repeated self-administration of smoked cocaine. During sessions, participants could self-administer up to 6 doses of smoked cocaine (50 mg per dose), one every 14 min. Both two- and three-day binge conditions were tested. During the two-day binge, a 2.5 h cocaine self-administration session began at 1200 h and again at 1600 h on two consecutive days, while during the three-day binge, self-administration sessions occurred at 1200 h and 1600 h on three consecutive days. The first one or two cocaine doses in each session increased cardiovascular and subjective effects ratings; subsequent cocaine inhalations during the session did not increase these measures further, suggesting the development of acute tolerance to these effects. Ratings of 'I want cocaine' decreased slightly across three days of repeated smoked cocaine self-administration, while anxiety scores increased slightly across three days, suggesting that some effects of smoked cocaine may persist beyond a binge.

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