The cannabinoid CB2 receptor has recently emerged as a potential anti-inflammatory target to break the self-sustaining cycle of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration that is associated with neurodegenerative diseases. However, in order to facilitate the development of cannabinoid drugs for neurodegenerative disease, the changes that occur in the endocannabinoid system in response to different neurodegenerative triggers needs to be elucidated. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate and compare the changes that occur in the endocannabinoid system in neurotoxic and inflammation-driven models of Parkinson's disease. To do so, male Sprague Dawley rats were given unilateral, intra-striatal injections of the dopaminergic neurotoxin, 6-hydroxydopamine, or the bacterial inflammagen, lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Animals underwent behavioural testing for motor dysfunction on Days 7, 14 and 28 post-surgery, and were sacrificed on Days 1, 4, 14 and 28. Changes in the endocannabinoid system were investigated by qRT-PCR, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and immunohistochemistry. After injection of 6-hydroxydopamine or LPS into the rat striatum, we found that expression of the CB2 receptor was significantly elevated in both models, and that this increase correlated significantly with an increase in microglial activation. Interestingly, the increase in CB2 receptor expression in the inflammation-driven model was significantly more pronounced than that in the neurotoxic model. Moreover, endocannabinoid levels were also elevated in the LPS model but not the 6-hydroxydopamine model. Thus, this study has shown that the endocannabinoid system is dysregulated in animal models of Parkinson's disease, and has also revealed significant differences in the level of dysregulation between the models themselves. This study indicates that targeting the CB2 receptor may represent a viable target for anti-inflammatory disease modification in Parkinson's disease. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.