Self-report and physiological data from 27 male and 8 female cocaine-abusing volunteers exposed to cocaine (80 mg/70 kg p.o.) and placebo were examined for sex differences in their responses. Females reported significantly greater baseline ratings on the Pentobarbital-Chlorpromazine-Alcohol Group (PCAG) (sedation) and Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) (dysphoria) subscales of the Addiction Research Center Inventory-Short Form (ARCI) relative to males. In addition, females reported significantly greater ratings on the Visual Analogs Scales (VAS) Bad Drug Effects and Anxious/Nervous scales relative to males, regardless of drug. Cocaine produced greater increase in systolic blood pressure in males following cocaine, whereas females showed greater increases following placebo. These results suggest that a placebo control is necessary to determine sex differences in response to an active drug.