The electrically-evoked release of [3H]acetylcholine from hippocampal brain slices is inhibited by cannabinoid receptor agonists. The effect of palmitylsulphonyl fluoride (AM 374), a recently developed inhibitor of fatty acid amide hydrolase, in influencing the potency of exogenously added anandamide in this preparation was examined. Anandamide alone had relatively little effect on [3H]acetylcholine release. By contrast, in the presence of AM 374 (0.1 microM), anandamide produced a significant inhibition of [3H]acetylcholine release at all concentrations tested (0.1-10 microM). In addition to experiments with AM 374 the effects of N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)arachidonamide (AM 404), a putative anandamide uptake inhibitor, was also examined. However, AM 404 at concentrations up to 10 microM, was not found to significantly enhance the effect of anandamide on electrically-evoked [3H]acetylcholine release. These results indicate that AM 374 potently inhibits endogenous amidase activity and thus facilitates access of exogenous anandamide to cannabinoid receptors in the hippocampal tissue.