The effects of the synthetic cannabinoid WIN 55,212-2 on forskolin-stimulated and basal adenosine 3':5'-cyclic monophosphate (cyclic AMP) accumulation in globus pallidus slices were investigated. WIN 55,212-2 caused a concentration-dependent decrease in forskolin-stimulated cyclic AMP accumulation in globus pallidus slices (maximum inhibition 36% for 30 microM). This effect was blocked by the cannabinoid receptor antagonist SR 141716A (100 microM). WIN 55,212-2 alone caused a concentration-dependent increase in cyclic AMP levels in unstimulated slices (maximum increase 52.6% for 100 microM). This effect was also blocked by SR 141716A (100 microM). In either forskolin-stimulated or unstimulated conditions SR 1417161A (100 microM) did not affect cyclic AMP levels.