The classical conditioning of the behavioural effects of cocaine has been shown to contribute to behavioural sensitization. In the present experiments, it was demonstrated that the effects of cocaine in rats can be conditioned to contextual stimuli. Furthermore, sensitization to cocaine's locomotor effects were demonstrated, and shown to be context specific. Nimodipine (10 mg/kg, SC), an L-type dihydropyridine Ca2+ channel antagonist, appeared to completely block the establishment of conditioning of cocaine's effects, but only partially blocked sensitization to cocaine. Haloperidol (0.05 mg/kg, IP), a relatively specific D2 dopamine receptor antagonist, attenuated behavioral sensitization but had no influence on the establishment of the conditioned component of cocaine. These results indicate that the sensitization to, and the development of classical conditioning of, cocaine's behavioural effects can be pharmacologically dissociated, but that a non-associative process involved in sensitization is normally overridden by conditioning factors.