Cocaine is a drug of abuse that causes severe addiction. It can be smoked (this form is commonly called "crack"), snorted as well as injected directly into the blood. It stimulates the nervous system and produces euphoria.
The reinforcing effects of cocaine increase the desire for the drug and compel the addict to take the drug repeatedly to experience the highs that the drug causes. Addicts crave to use the drug and suffer from withdrawal symptoms if it is not available. Besides addiction, use of the injectable drug could also spread diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B. Studies indicate that women may develop a stronger dependence to cocaine than men.
They start using cocaine earlier and go through the stages of addiction faster. They also enter rehabilitation facilities earlier than men and experience shorter periods of abstinence from the drug. Females may also be more affected by the reinforcing effects of cocaine, i.e., they may desire to take it more often. The female hormone estrogen may be responsible for some of these effects.
In a recent publication, researchers conducted studies on rats to determine whether sex or personality traits could influence cocaine addiction. The personality trait tested here is the reaction to novelty. They found that at low doses, the female rats acquired cocaine faster than males and were more motivated to work harder in order to obtain more drug. They also found that reaction to novelty affects the motivation to take cocaine. Thus females may be more vulnerable to drug addiction with cocaine than males.