Has this interesting concept of perception been thought of before?
Yes. When you heat up THC it vaporizes but it cools so quickly the vapor turns into tiny droplets of THC and some other chemicals. That is what you see as smoke. Those droplets are tiny spheres of liquid THC and other chemicals. They will stick to cool objects like the inside of a pipe. The resin in a pipe should have much more THC than most buds. It is probably more oxidized and has more CBN so it would get less potent as time goes on.
Smoke detectors don't prevent fires, They warn you to get out when there is a fire. Fire sprinklers can stop fires from spreading or can stop them.