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The cannabinoid system is immunomodulatory and has been targeted as a treatment for the central nervous system (CNS) autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis. Using an animal model of multiple sclerosis, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), we investigated the role of the CB(1) and CB(2) cannabinoid receptors in regulating CNS autoimmunity. We found that CB(1) receptor expression by neurons, but not T cells, was required for cannabinoid-mediated EAE suppression. In contrast, CB(2) receptor expression by encephalitogenic T cells was critical for controlling inflammation associated with EAE. CB(2)-deficient T cells in the CNS during EAE exhibited reduced levels of apoptosis, a higher rate of proliferation and increased production of inflammatory cytokines, resulting in severe clinical disease. Together, our results demonstrate that the cannabinoid system within the CNS plays a critical role in regulating autoimmune inflammation, with the CNS directly suppressing T-cell effector function via the CB(2) receptor.