Adult male Long-Evans rats were administered the potent cannabinoid 1 receptor agonist HU-210 (100 microg/kg, i.p.) for 15 days continuously and their performance on a matching-to-place version of the Morris water maze was subsequently evaluated. Overall, experimental animals performed significantly worse initially on the reference memory component of this task, but their performance improved over 5 days until it was indistinguishable from that of control animals. Animals given HU-210 did not exhibit working memory impairments at short intertrial delays (30 s); however, significant impairments were observed in learning performance with longer intertrial delays (300 s). In vivo electrophysiological analyses revealed that long-term potentiation in the CA1 region of the hippocampus was significantly impaired following the administration of HU-210 for 15 days. These results indicate that long-term cannabinoid exposure can produce marked deficits in reference and working memory performance, and also impair hippocampal synaptic plasticity in vivo.