Endocannabinoid-based therapies constitute an emerging tool for the potential treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, requiring characterization at the experimental level. The effects of URB597, an inhibitor of the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), were tested against the quinolinic acid (QUIN)-induced early toxic effects in rat cortical slices, and compared with those effects exerted by the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA). URB597 prevented the QUIN-induced loss of mitochondrial function/cell viability and lipid peroxidation, while reduced necrosis, and to a lesser extent, apoptosis. The protective effects of URB597 were mediated by activation of cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1r), as evidenced by their inhibition by the selective CB1r antagonist AM281. Similar effects were observed when testing AEA against QUIN toxicity. Our findings demonstrate the neuroprotective properties of URB597 during the early stages of excitotoxic damage to cortical tissue, suggesting that these properties are mediated by FAAH inhibition, and might be linked to the protective effects of AEA, or the combination of endocannabinoids.